Monday, November 25, 2013

Winner of the Catie's Secret Giveaway Announced!

Congratulations, Ellen Bratzel! You are the winner of the Catie's Secret Giveaway! To claim your prize, please email your mailing address to  

Catie's Secret - A Perfect Fit for a New Reader


This book is a perfect fit for a new reader. Catie’s Secret by Laura Nonemaker is full of colorful illustrations, and characters who quickly win your heart. Children will learn to both embrace and celebrate diversity in God’s creation. Showing kindness to others is the moral of the story, in addition to a small token lesson on forgiveness. There are also helpful story challenge questions at the end of the book to initiate conversation about these lessons with children.
                                      Written by Sweatpants & High Heels on November 15, 2013 

Purchase a copy at Amazon or Tate Publishers (in ebook or paperback formats).

Friday, November 22, 2013

Splashes of Joy Reviews Catie's Secret


T    This is a really cute little book. The story talks about differences in the way people look, and that the beauty of a person comes from inside them, not what they appear to be on the outside. Using the caterpillar and butterfly is awesome to help kids understand this valuable lesson. The characters are adorable and kids will love them. The colors are vivid and bright, and the book cover is so very adorable that it will sure capture the attention of any child. This is a book you will want for your child’s library, so run out and pick up a copy today!
Written by splashesofjoy on November 18, 2013 


Saturday, November 9, 2013

Catie's Secret and an Exciting Prize Giveaway

Join the official launch of Catie's Secret, the second book in my God's Secret Garden Adventures. Join my blog tour and enter to win an exciting Kids Giveaway Package, including a Kindle Fire.

Enter to win at

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Comfort for Loss

“This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.” I begin each morning with this biblical affirmation from Psalm 118, along with some other proven favorites, and then move into my devotion time. Before Paul went to heaven, these words would slide off my tongue with confidence. Lately, they sometimes want to stick in my throat like a too-large chunk of bread that just won’t go down.

The emotions resulting from loss of any kind, but especially of a loved one, are unpredictable and deceiving. When we think they are receding into the background of our consciousness, they creep up on us and suddenly plunge a dagger into our stomach, leaving us reeling. They sap our strength and assault our thoughts as we desperately search for perspective and order in a life that is forever changed.

This morning, as I read from one of my devotionals, I was reminded that “it is through our trials and afflictions that God gives us fresh revelations of Himself.”1 But the pain of the loss is unwelcome and my mind and body want to run for cover. Yet Paul says in Philippians 3:10 that he so wanted to know Jesus and the power of His resurrection, that he was willing participate in His sufferings and be conformed to His death. I need this resurrection power, now more than ever, in order to walk through this period of my life.

So I speak the words that open the door of my day, words that hold a promise of hope and peace. Jesus assures us in Hebrews 4:16 that we can come boldly to the throne of grace and obtain mercy and grace to help us in our time of need. As we experience our brand of suffering and yet are willing to give Him our sacrifice of praise, He scoops us up, holds us close, and soothes our pain.

1 Nathaniel William Taylor in Streams in the Desert

                                                   ©2013 Laura Allen Nonemaker  All Rights Reserved

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Moving Forward

As I woke this morning, thoughts flooded my mind with the force of a tsunami. My brain seemed to be going through an exercise in free association with phrases and sentences coming at me from everywhere. I wondered if some kind of dam had broken inside me and this was my mind’s way of releasing the grief. Was it part of the healing process? I had prayed that the grief cycle would not take five years with Paul as it did with the loss of my first husband, Bob, thirteen years ago. Could the Lord be answering my prayer and speeding things up? I hope so.

Yesterday, I was pretty stern with myself when the denial came rushing in again. Accept it, Laura. He’s not coming back. And even if he could, why would he? He has seen the face of Jesus and experienced heaven. Would I? Of course not! And so I resolved once again to take one day at a time and move in the right direction - forward.

My sweet little cat, Callie Marie, is finally beginning to return to normal. How it pained me the first night after I returned home following  the service in Louisville when I watched her searching for him. She walked from one side of the bed to the other, trying to find him.  She sniffed between the mattress and headboard. She made the journey repeatedly across the area rug on his side of the bed,  trying to detect his scent. My heart wanted to break for both of us.

On the last few mornings, Callie has returned to being excited about her Fancy Feast ® and once more she is putting her tail in the air when she walks, demonstrating that she is adjusting and feels better. Callie is processing her loss – and so must I - particularly with the official release of my newest children's book, Catie’s Secret, on November 5.

I am convinced I must do what is necessary for the successful launch of my book, in spite of this sad and unwelcome event in my life. Paul was my most enthusiastic cheerleader and often would tell me how proud he was to be “married to an author".  I know he would encourage me to move on with my books and I can almost hear him cheering me on from the halls of heaven.
So I will move forward with God's help and continue to pray that this time I will pass through grief faster than before. After all, there are children waiting for more God’s Secret Garden Adventures.  

            ©2013 Laura Allen Nonemaker    All rights reserved

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Watercolor Memories

Yesterday, Joey, our lawn guy, dug a hole and planted the gardenia bush the family sent to honor Paul’s memory. There are some blooms on it already and, combined with the jasmine growing nearby, it distributes a heavenly scent along one end of the lanai.  

Later on, I puttered in the garden, attempting with all my mind and all my senses to pull memories of Paul close to me. Somehow, although I knew there was beauty and color all around me, everything seemed pale and incomplete without Paul to share it. It reminded me of an unfinished watercolor painting that the artist has set on a shelf and never returned to finish. One has to strain to visualize how the finished painting would have looked.

Paul used to love to watch me deadheading, pruning, and weeding among the flowers and shrubs. “You belong in a garden,” he would say. I would agree.  I began gardening, after a fashion, when I was two years old. That is when my daddy marked off a small plot just for me in the flower garden that bordered our front lawn. Daddy used to love to tell the story of how I would discover snails on the undersides of the leaves and quickly pop them in my mouth before he could stop me. Fortunately, I eventually learned not to eat the snails and developed a love of gardening that has endured to this day.

I imagine one day I will see my garden in full color again, as it was when Paul was around to share the experience. For now, I reach out and pull the memories close, sensing his presence with me.

                              ©2013 Laura Allen Nonemaker All Rights Reserved

Thursday, October 3, 2013

High Flight

     My dear Paul went home to be with the Lord on Monday, September 16, 2013 during a flight from Johannesburg, South Africa to the U.S. We were returning from a 12-day mission trip with a group of 19 other short-term missionaries.
     During the past two weeks, I have begun the painful process of learning to live without my devoted husband, lover, best friend, companion, and fellow-adventurer. In addition, Paul has been a most enthusiastic cheerleader of my writing efforts.
     Someone mentioned that I should share this sad event on Facebook, particularly for those who may want to know about Paul’s passing. I know we are living in a digital world and “everything” gets out on the internet, but how could I share in such a public way this personally painful event that has changed my life forever.
     Last night, during a particularly fitful, sleepless night, it came to me that God ordained me to be a writer. That is what I do. That is what I need to do, not just for my own need for expression, but also to pass on my thoughts, ideas, and experiences in order possibly to make a difference in someone else’s life.
     That is why I have decided to use my blog, “Digging in God’s Garden,” to initiate some of my memories and musings and funnel them through my Facebook page. It will be a sort of catharsis for me and, goodness knows, I need to get back to blogging with the official launch of Catie’s Secret coming up in November.
     The following poem will, I hope, set the tone for what I share here in the days to come. It is symbolic of the enthusiastic and adventurous way Paul, who was a pilot for most of his life, lived his earthly life and embraced eternal life.

                                                                        High Flight

                                       “Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
                                    And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; 
                     Sunward I’ve climbed and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds -
                                  and done a thousand things you have not dreamed of -
                                  wheeled and soared and swung high in the sunlit silence.
                                     Hovering there, I’ve chased the shouting wind along
                                     and flung my eager craft through footless halls of air.
                                             Up, up the long delirious burning blue
                                     I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace,
                                              where never lark, or even eagle, flew;
                                         And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
                                           The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
                                       put out my hand and touched the face of God.”

                                                                             John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Callie Marie's Stepmom

We are blessed beyond measure to have the best house-sitter/pet-sitter in town! She has become a "stepmom" to our calico cat, Callie Marie.

We met Karen several years ago when we first moved south. At that time we were active "snowbirds" and would leave for several weeks at a time, particularly during the summer. We seldom wanted to travel north in the cold months and expose ourselves to bone-chilling ice and snow. One year we went for Christmas and got iced in. We were both sick when we finally arrived home.

These days we spend most of our time here where it is warm and sunny. When we do travel, we know that our house is in good hands and so is Callie Marie. Callie loves Karen and we can tell how much Karen loves Callie in return. Callie gets anxious when she sees us pull out the luggage and start piling things on the spare room bed. She knows the drill. Karen is great at soothing her with comforting words and touch.

Our somewhat temperamental feline even lets her stepmom massage a daily dose of thyroid cream onto the inside of her ear. Karen especially makes points with Callie when she follows this up by feeding her a favorite salmon-flavored treat. She even lets Karen groom her and only bristles when the brush gets too close to her tail.

When Karen house- and Callie-sits, she takes care of all the routine details for us, like getting the mail, putting out the trash and keeping my plants watered. She even cleans up Callie's hairballs! We understand from Karen that a dip in the pool sometimes refreshes her (Karen - not Callie)when the day ends. Callie won't even go near the pool when someone is swimming, ever since Paul splashed her with a noodle.

When we travel, it's reassuring to know our house is well cared for. It's also a real comfort to know our precious calico is, too. Thanks, Karen!

©2013 Laura Allen Nonemaker All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Recently, we heard the shocking news of two more young Hollywood stars who succumbed to suicide. Gia Allemand, an actress and model, who was finalist in Season 14 of "The Bachelor," hung herself on August 12. She died two days later. Lee Thompson Young, who at age 14 was the star of the Disney series "The Famous Jett Jackson," and went on later to star in many other TV shows, was found dead on August 19. How sad when individuals who appear to have everything to live for lose all hope.

It is so vital that our society give young people the kind of values that will sustain them through both the mountain tops and the valleys of life. First of all, every person needs the redeeming power of Jesus Christ and the strength and hope He offers. After that, important character attributes to encourage in our children are commitment, consistency, perseverance, and persistence, which is easily remembered with the acronym CCPP.

As we pass on these timeworn values to our families and in our schools, as well as communicate them through our media outlets and social institutions, we can help our young people find a brighter hope and a sure future.

                               ©2013 Laura Allen Nonemaker  All Rights Reserved

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Sweet Land of Liberty

“Our country ‘tis of thee, sweet land of liberty...” These words at the beginning of one of our beloved patriotic anthems speak about glorious attributes that define the United States of America. Some of us belt out the lyrics with gusto or reverence. Others mindlessly mouth the words and are ignorant of their significance.

Our constitution, brought into being by the hope, dedication, and sacrifice of our founding fathers, is in danger. The best system of government up to now is in danger. Our society is on a downhill slide, following the course of every nation that has dared to defy timeless principles and biblical values.

What can we do to stem the tide? There are a number of options, including:

1. Work with other concerned individuals to put fine political candidates in office.

2. Call or write our current representatives and express our concerns.

3. Share our views in letters to the editor and encourage others to do the same. 

4. Get involved in the school board and/or city council.

5. Start a discussion group to share information.

6. Pray

We can make a difference. With God's help, it is not too late get America back on the right path.

  ©2013 Laura Allen Nonemaker 
  All Rights Reserved

Monday, March 18, 2013

Southwest Florida Reading Festival Draws Passionate Readers

Saturday was an outstanding Florida day for the annual Southwest Florida Reading Festival at Harborside Event Center in Old Fort Myers! With about 18,000 in attendance, the grounds teamed with passionate readers anxious to check out the newest books and authors on the scene.

The canvas-covered kiosks dotting the grounds displayed a wide range of products. Some focused on children's books and educational aids, while others represented schools, daycare centers, home school organizations, and parenting magazines. Basically, one could find any and everything designed to educate, involve, and stimulate the reader's mind. Plenty of food concessions were on hand, including one of my favorites, Jason's Deli, which had box lunches for only $5. 

One large tented area was dedicated to book readings and activities for young children. Another catered to middle school and high school age youth. As I strolled past the children's area, I heard sounds of laughter and squeals of delight. When I peeked inside, I saw a radio show host doing an animated book reading that seemed to captivate both adults and children.  

Meanwhile, inside the event center, more authors lectured and performed book readings. One large hall was dedicated to area booksellers and local authors. Writers displayed their books and were happy to sign and personalize them for willing buyers. Members of local writers organizations grouped together,  including Pine Island Writers, Peace River Writers, and Gulf Coast Writers Association, of which I am a member. I set up my book table between 1 pm and 4 pm, and showcased Benny's Angel, the first book in God's Secret Garden Adventures, my picture book series for young children. That book soon will be joined by two more  in the series - Fred D's Amazing Escape and Catie's Secret. You can get a preview of these two books in earlier posts.

When I do a book signing, one of the most enjoyable things for me is watching the children's faces as they look through the book. They seem to respond to the bright colors and animated appearance of the characters. The 3-D version of the book always grabs their attention, especially the boys. Saturday was enjoyable and productive for this author, as I sold and signed my book, networked, and shared writing experiences with fellow authors. For me, exchanging stories is a favorite part of author events.

If you have never attended the Southwest Florida Readers Festival, put it on your calendar for March 2014. If you go, allow plenty of time to park and figure on at least a couple of hours to wander about and visit the various areas of interest. There is so much for both adults and children to enjoy at this information-packed, fun-filled event. 

                                                                                  ~Laura Allen Nonemaker

Thursday, March 14, 2013


Today I have the great pleasure of being the host on Day 2 of the Virtual Blog Tour for FaithLeaps: The Christian Mom's Guide to Passion, Purpose and Profits by author Alyssa Avant. On the last stop of the tour, Alyssa visited Lyn Parker's blog at  Following is the great interview I did with Alyssa about FaithLeaps.

Could you sum up for my readers what FaithLeaps: The Christian Mom's Guide to Passion, Purpose and Profits is all about? FaithLeaps is about helping moms to find or identify their God-given passion and purpose in life and ultimately to profit from it. By profiting I don't necessarily mean monetarily, but it could be.

Would you say FaithLeaps is a "business" book? Yes and no.  FaithLeaps is very much a book about faith. I just happen to share my journey, which included a great deal about life, ministry and business. 

What is a faith leap? A faith leap is stepping out of our own comfort zone into the hands of God.

I hope you enjoyed this interview with Alyssa Avant and that you'll check out FaithLeaps: The Christian Mom's Guide to Passion, Purpose, and Profits by Alyssa Avant at and on Amazon. Be sure to follow Alyssa on Monday, March 18 at her next stop on the Virtual Blog Tour over at Gina Weeks' blog at

Friday, March 1, 2013


I shared in a previous post how Fred D's Amazing Escape, the second children's book in my God's Secret Garden Adventures series, came to be. At that time, I promised to be back to tell you about the third book, Catie's Secret. Unfortunately, health issues with my husband and me kept me from staying current with my blog. I thank God that we are both doing well and resuming normal life (if our busy lives can be called normal for two retirees).

I love all the characters in my books, but especially Catie Caterpillar. She entered my imagination following a bug (pun intended) that my daughter, Lisa, put in my ear one day. "Mom, why don't you do a story about a butterfly?" were her words, as we talked about possible future topics for God's Secret Garden Adventures. She remembered my first encounter with raising butterflies not long before.  I had chronicled my experiences, some of them challenging, in a series of blog posts. Accompanied by photos, these earlier posts can be found in my blog archives.

When the nephew and niece of Mayor Benny (remember him from Benny's Angel?) come to Peaceful Meadow to eat clover and play, they find Catie crawling on a milkweed plant. She is eating voraciously and getting fatter and fatter. Then Catie is faced with a challenge and she must make a decision on how to react. She is a soft-spoken little thing, a bug of few words you might say. She decides to focus on the thing she knows best - eating.

I won't spoil the rest of the story by revealing it here, but suffice it to say that by the end of the book, the bunnies have experienced some valuable teaching moments. Both Fred D's Amazing Escape and Catie's Secret will be available by Summer 2013, when it can be purchased a number of ways, including Tate Publishing's online bookstore, my author website, Amazon.Com, and Barnes & Noble.Com.  

                                                                                              ©2013 Laura Allen Nonemaker