What a Privilege!



The lyrics of an old, treasured hymn remind me “what a privilege it is to carry everything to God in prayer.” And it’s an even greater privilege for me to join in prayer every month with a trusted group of friends and fellow authors. The six of us have been praying together through the magic of Skype for some time, now. We live thousands of miles apart—Elizabeth Musser is in France, Susan Meissner in California, and the rest of us (Robin Johns Grant, Deborah Raney, Sharon Garlough Brown, and I) are scattered around in the middle in two different time zones. Yet we “meet” regularly to pray for each other and for our calling as writers.

Being an author can be a lonely and isolated profession at times, but we don’t need to feel alone. My prayer partners understand the challenges that come with editors and deadlines and book contracts. We can pool our collective wisdom to help each other resolve problems, while offering sympathy and understanding. All six of us know how difficult it is to balance our writing, our faith, and our family lives, and how a concern in one area effects all of the others. Their prayers have helped me maintain that delicate balance and have enriched my books.

During our on-line prayer times and in the weeks between meetings, I’ve felt reassured, knowing my friends are praying for me, just as I’m praying for them. Along with their prayers, my partners have offered me wisdom, understanding and friendship. And when we’ve seen answers to our prayers, all six of us celebrate and rejoice together.

“Oh, what peace we often forfeit!” the hymn says. “Oh, what needless pain we bear! All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.” Praying together is life-giving. Shared burdens are lighter, shared joys more joyous. Might you be able to find a group of friends to pray with on a regular basis? Distance is no longer an obstacle thanks to modern technology. And the benefits of communal prayer are life-changing.

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More giveaways can be found on each blog post of the Transformational Fiction Giveaway Tour.

 Visit my sister in faith and fiction Elizabeth Musser to learn How It All Began and a chance to win her novel The Sweetest Thing! Click the picture below to visit the next blog post from my friend, Elizabeth.  


Busy Days!

The past few days have been busy ones for me. On Saturday, April 28, the alumni board at Hope College, my Alma Mater, presented me with the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award at their annual banquet. What a huge honor!

Years ago, I chose to attend Hope, a Christian college, because I wanted to build my life and my education on a spiritual foundation. I found what I was looking for there. (And also met my husband—an added bonus!) The education I received at Hope has formed the basis of my writing, and it was thrilling when they chose to honor me this way.

The following Monday I had a great time with the 150 people who joined me for the Dutch Heritage Bus Tour, visiting some of the sites they read about in my novel, “Waves of Mercy.” The novel is based on the true story of the Dutch immigrants who founded the city of Holland, Michigan in 1846. They came to America seeking religious freedom after being persecuted for their faith in their homeland. They tamed the wilderness, endured a malaria plague, and dealt with numerous other hardships including a fire that destroyed ¾ of the city in 1871. The community they built is thriving today and is rated second in the nation for charitable giving. The tour was a testimony to the founders’ faith, courage and perseverance.

I wore my period Dutch costume to serve as tour guide

On Thursday, May 3, I was invited to speak at a fund-raising luncheon for The Bible League, an amazing international organization that provides Bibles and study materials to people around the world. I had a great time meeting new friends and eating delicious food. My speaking topic was “Living Fearlessly”—daring to step out and do the “impossible” with the Holy Spirit’s help.
It’s interesting that the Bible League’s founder, William Chapman, did just that. In 1936, he became seriously ill and ended up in a Chicago hospital. An elder from his church visited him and prayed that God would spare his life and lead him to serve Christ. When he recovered, Chapman vowed to give all of his strength to God. He and his wife Betty purchased 1,000 Bibles and went door-to-door, offering to give one to any home that needed it if the recipients promised to read it. Today, The Bible League distributes millions of Bibles and study materials all around the world.

I have one more fun event coming up this week. On May 10, 11 and 12 I’ll be joining a wonderful group of authors and readers for the first-ever “Fiction Readers Summit” in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This event is sponsored by Baker Book House and registration is open to anyone who loves to read and wants to connect with authors. If you live in the area, I would love to see you there! Go to https://fictionreaderssummit.com/ for more information.

The Bus Tour

I’ve done some unusual things during the course of my writing life, but my upcoming bus tour next month will be a first. The idea came from my friend Paul, who thought readers would enjoy touring some of the interesting sites from my novel, “Waves of Mercy.” The novel is set in the town of Holland, Michigan where Paul has lived most of his life, and it tells the story of the Dutch immigrants who founded the town in 1847. Paul happened to mention his idea to a friend from church who leads the 55+ Seniors’ Group—and the “Waves of Mercy” bus tour was born.

I imagined maybe a dozen of us climbing onboard the church van for a spin around town. Ha! I had no idea how popular this tour would be! The group has had to hire two chartered buses carrying 56 passengers each—plus the church van. The “Waves of Mercy” tour will begin at the church with a lunch of Dutch pigs-in-the-blankets and pea soup, then we’re off to see the sites. Here are just a few of them:

A typical settlers’ cabin from 1847

The first church built in 1856

The original light house on Lake Michigan

The Hotel Ottawa Resort on Black Lake

The town’s founding father, Rev. Albertus Van Raalte

I’ve been trying to figure out what makes this tour so appealing to so many people. The sites we’re visiting aren’t unusual ones, but places that can easily be seen in Holland every day. I’ve concluded that it’s the settlers’ courage and faith that makes their story so compelling. They left their homeland of civilized cities to carve out a town in the wilderness because they longed for religious freedom. Their boat caught on fire and was delayed for repairs. The delay kept them from their goal and forced them to spend most of the winter in Detroit. They walked through knee-deep snow to reach the town site because there were no roads. They ran out of food and starved. Their first summer here, so many people died from malaria that they had to build an orphanage to house all the children. But they worked hard, cleared the land, and built farms and businesses. Then, only twenty-four years after the first settlers arrived, fire destroyed the town.
I’m guessing that many of us would have given up—or at least questioned where God was in all these disasters. Had He really called us to settle here or not? It’s so easy to feel like our work is in vain when our carefully made plans start to fall apart. But the settlers’ faith remained strong. Today, there are more than 70 churches in this town of 33,000 people. What an example of perseverance and faith! If they had a life-verse, I think it would be this one:

“Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you.
Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord,
Because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
1 Corinthians 15:58

That verse will give us something to pause and think about on our “Waves of Mercy” bus tour.

Greetings From Germany!

By the time you read this blog, I’ll be in Germany on a book and speaking tour. I know, right? I’m so blessed to have this incredible opportunity! I would love to bring you along with me on my journey, but since that isn’t possible, I’m going to let the two sisters from my newest novel, “Where We Belong,” stand in for you.
If you’ve read the book, you know how much Rebecca and Flora Hawes love to travel, even though they lived in the 1890s when travel was much more challenging. Their trans-Atlantic Ocean voyage would have taken weeks, compared to my 9-hour flight. And they probably would have packed their clothes in something like this steamer trunk—which weighs at least 40 pounds empty. (There goes my weight limit!)
Granted, the trunk is a lot roomier than my suitcase, but ladies’ dresses and petticoats and bloomers took up a lot more room back then than my clothing does. Even so, I’m having a rough time cramming enough clothes and shoes and toiletries for two whole weeks into my suitcase.

You can stay connected with the sisters and me on Facebook and Instagram while we’re on our journey. I’ll be posting pictures of some of the fun things I’m doing and seeing. You can expect to see the sisters photo-bombing my pictures. I especially love to note the differences between our two cultures, and some of the ingenious ways people do things in Germany. Here’s one of those differences—these crazy electrical plugs!
If you have any questions you’d like to ask me along the way, I’d love for you to send them to me in the “comments” section and I’ll try to answer you. It will be fun!

What I’m looking forward to most of all is meeting some of my wonderful German readers. Even with our cultural and language differences, the bonds of fellowship are so strong. I love talking with them about their faith journeys and the spiritual lessons they’ve learned along the way. I always come home so blessed and encouraged.
If you think of it, please pray for my husband and me. For safe travels, to begin with. It’s a l-o-n-g flight across that ocean! And the cars really do drive 100 mph on the autobahn! Then there are the challenges of jet lag, and the cumbersome process of speaking through translators. But most of all, please pray for all of the people I’ll be meeting—that their hearts and lives will be touched by God’s love. I’ll be speaking at women’s conferences in the cities of Gunzenhausen and Kassel, as well as in more than a dozen smaller venues. I can’t do it without God’s power and strength.

Jesus told His followers to “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation” (Mark 16:15). My way of obeying that call happens to be through writing and speaking. But each one of us is called and gifted to be His hands and feet and voice in our own unique way. May you be filled with His power and strength as you serve Him today.

From Small Beginnings

I had the privilege last week of speaking to a wonderful group of women who volunteer for the International Bible League, an organization I love to support. I told them my story—how I sat down and started writing my first novel 31 years ago, even though I had no formal training, no clue how to get published, and three small children at home. I wanted my audience to know that they shouldn’t be afraid to trust God when He nudges them to step out in a new direction. He is able to do “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20). I told them my story, but I also shared two other stories with them.

The first is about a Canadian mom named Fern Nichols. In 1984 her two oldest children were starting junior high school and she feared that their faith would be tested as they faced immoral values and peer pressure. She prayed for God to protect her children, and asked Him to send another mom to pray with her. He did! More moms joined them, and the group began meeting regularly to pray for their children and schools. The idea spread all across their province of British Columbia.

The following year, Fern’s family moved to California. Once again she prayed that God would raise up mothers willing to pray for their children. Again, these prayer groups multiplied, spreading around the state and across the nation.

That is how “Moms In Touch” began, now renamed “Moms in Prayer International.” Today, groups of mothers are praying in every state in the USA and in more than 140 countries. My neighbor, Marlae Gritter, joined a small prayer group years ago when her children were school-aged. She never imagined that today she would be the Director of Global Advancement for the international group. Below is a picture of Marlae and me with our new friend Kathrin Larsen from Switzerland. Kathrin also started out as a praying mom, and is now the European Director of the organization.

The second story I told my audience is about a man named William Chapman. In 1936, he became seriously ill and landed in a Chicago hospital. An elder from his church visited and prayed not only for William’s life to be spared, but that he would be led into the service of Christ.

“At the time, it seemed a strange prayer,” Bill said. “Why should God be asked to give me health and strength for this purpose? What could I possibly do for Christ? I came to the conclusion that this was a ridiculous prayer. But as the night wore on toward morning, it became increasingly apparent that my elder’s prayer could not be easily forgotten. That’s when I made my commitment to God. If God would restore my health, I would give all my strength in any avenue of service God would lead.”

William and his wife Betty purchased 1,000 Bibles and went door-to-door in Walkerton, Indiana asking, “Do you have a Bible?” If the home didn’t, they offered one for free if the owners promised to read it. From this simple beginning, William Chapman went on to form the “Bible League International,” the organization I was speaking to. Today, the “Bible League” shares Bibles and Bible study training tools in countries all around the world.

Thirty-one years ago, I laid aside my fears and excuses and started writing. Today I have 24 published books in a dozen different languages. I urged my audience not to ignore God’s little nudges. I invited them to step out in faith and to trust God, and then wait to see the amazing things He is able to do through them. I think William Chapman, Fern Nichols, my neighbor Marlae, and our Swiss friend Kathrin would all agree that “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9).

Have you felt God’s gentle nudging in your life lately?

New Friends

WP_000818Writing can be a lonely job, sitting at my computer all day with only my imaginary characters to talk to. That’s why I love getting out every once in a while and meeting some of my readers face-to-face. And I had a chance to do that last week.

The first event was with a group of wonderful ladies at the Grandville United Methodist Church in Grandville, Michigan. I spoke about all the changes that have taken place in women’s lives since our grandmothers’ and great-grandmothers’ generations, and the new freedoms we now have—including freedom from these!IMG_7279

How about it, ladies? Are any of you sorry we don’t have to wear these crazy contraptions any more to keep our nylons in place and slim our waistlines? “What are nylons?” some of you younger ladies are asking. Go ask your grandmother—or I suppose your generation will just Google it! Afterward, you can enjoy your freedom to walk around with bare legs and flip flops.

WP_000821I met a second group of wonderful ladies last night when I visited with their book club, also in Grandville, Michigan, in one of their members’ home. They had all read my book, “Eve’s Daughters,” and we had a wonderful time discussing it. In writing this family saga about four generations of women, I used some of the real-life historical events from my own family tree. For instance, Louise immigrated to America from Germany at the same time that my great-grandmother did; Emma went through WWI like my grandmother; Grace studied to be a nurse during WWII like my mother; and Suzanne experienced the turbulent Vietnam War years during her college studies, like I did. The Book Club discussion was especially fun for me because my mother is visiting from New York and had a chance to join in our lively conversation.WP_000820

So thank you to both groups of new friends for your warm hospitality and encouragement. Now, as I sit down at my computer once again I am reminded to “Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Cor. 15:58).

Pages to Canvas 2 day Workshop

Join me in Mokena, Il for a fun new event, Pages to Canvas, where a Book Club meets Paint Night!

I will be there April 17th – can’t wait to meet you all!



Day 1- April 17th (2 pm – 4 pm)

Day 2 -May 15th (1 pm – 4:30 pm)

Day 1 – join us for an author’s talk, book signing and refreshments as Lynn Austin makes a special appearance at Little Pastiche Studio!

Day 2 – Return to the art studio for an afternoon of art making and book discussion

A fun and exciting twist

This is the first in a new series of mixed media art workshops that marry the love of reading with art making. Wonderland Creek is the book chosen for our first workshop. Lynn will be here on Sunday, April 17th to present it and inspire as well as sign books.

There will be a month between sessions so you will have plenty of time to read the book and find a scene that inspires you. Return back on Sunday, May 15th for a relaxing afternoon of art making with like minded folks. Our instructors will be there to help you every step of the way. We will provide you with a 14″ X 18″ canvas and all the paint and collage materials you will need to bring your scene to life. When everyone is finished creating we will discuss the book, using our artworks as visuals.

Pages to Canvas workshops are designed for all skill levels and includes all the art supplies you’ll need. Book is not included. Lynn will have books on hand for purchase, or feel free to bring along your own copy for signing. (Lynn will not be present in May for the art making portion of our workshop.)

If you would like to only participate in Day 1- Meet the Author, the fee is $5.
Meet the Author only
April 17th

Register now ›

Pages to Canvas Workshop
Meet the Author &
Mixed Media Art
April 17th & May 15th

Register now ›

You MUST register in advance for this event.



Little Pastiche Art Studio
19820-b Wolf Rd
Mokena, IL 60448


Speaking and Book Signing Event!

I had so much fun meeting new friends at the Kregel Parable Bookstore in Grandville Michigan yesterday!

I will be speaking and signing books at Providence Christian College in Pasadena, California

Saturday, October 10 9:30am-11:30am
Providence Christian College
China Lounge
1539 E. Howard Street
Pasadena, CA
Can’t wait to meet you!

Here are some more upcoming events:

October 23, 2015 — Speaking at The Paulding County Carnegie Library in Paulding, OH
Evening event – About my book Wonderland Creek
Books, including newest release, On This Foundation will be available for purchase

October 24 — Women’s Retreat, Paulding, OH — Saturday, 9am -2pm
Book signing and books available for purchase

December 1, 2015 — Christmas Tea — Moraine Valley Church — 5:15-9:00 pm
At the Gaelic Park, Oak Forest, IL
Book signing and books available for purchase

“An Evening with Lynn Austin” – May 14 in Holland, MI

fb picChrist Memorial Church is hosting “An Evening with Lynn Austin” on Thursday, May 14.  The program will start at 7:00 PM in the Gathering Area (Door D).  A “Meet-and-Greet”  will begin at 6:30 to 7:00 PM.  I will be selling and signing books after the program with the evening ending at 9:00 PM.

They’ve asked me to speak about my love of the research process, where the ideas for my books come from, how I develop characters, and where my love of writing began.

There is no cost for this event, and no need to RSVP.  Christ Memorial Church is located at 595 Graafschap Road in Holland, MI

Fun at the Fair(s)

FullSizeRender(7)You know summer is over and fall has arrived when it’s time for the county fair. I used to go to the Orange County Fair in NY State back in my youth, and I remember the livestock displays (and the aroma!); the games of chance where you could win a giant Teddy bear; the junk-food booths that sold corn dogs and funnel cakes and cotton candy. My favorite attractions were the carnival rides that tossed you back and forth and upside down until you regretted eating all that junk food.

FullSizeRender(10)I haven’t been to a county fair in years, so when my sister-in-law, Molly, and niece, Carrie, invited me to the Allegan County Fair here in Michigan last week, I just had to go. Everything was exactly as I remembered it. The (aromatic) livestock and produce displays, bristling with prize ribbons. The tempting games of chance with stuffed animals dangling as bait. Are they still “rigged”, I wonder? And the junk food booths! The county fair isn’t the best place to count calories or eat healthy food, but how could I resist? I’m way past the age where going on the carnival rides is fun—or wise. So why not indulge in a funnel cake?

Ohio River Festival of BooksA week later, I went to another fair in Huntington, West Virginia. There were no pigs or horses or carnival rides this time—just BOOKS! This was The Ohio River Festival of Books, sponsored by the Cabell County Public Library, and I was honored to be one of their special guests. I spoke about “My Roller Coaster Ride into Publishing” at one of their breakout sessions. Here are three of my new friends and fellow book-lovers, Ted, Maria and Deborah. Afterward, I signed books.FullSizeRender(3)

Here, I’m talking to Vicky Woods, the librarian who arranges to send digital recorded books to the library’s sight-impaired patrons, as part of the Library of Congress’ services. Vicky made my day when she told me about a 90 year-old patron who loves reading my books.FullSizeRender(2)

FullSizeRender(8)The fair was filled with books—new books, used books, children’s books, non-fiction books, novels—and the people who love to read them. I talked with many book-lovers who have an appreciation for e-books, but we all agreed that it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun to have an e-book fair as it was to have a real-book fair. There’s something very special about holding a book in your hands and turning the pages . . . don’t you agree? I mean, would the County Fair be the same if we were watching the pigs on video screens instead of seeing (and smelling) them in person?