When Sisters Attack…

Here’s a snippet from the upcoming Rona Shively story, Thy Will Be Done…

“Jane, do you think I’m generally a good judge of character?” I said.

She took a bite of her salad and chewed rather thoughtfully for a moment before answering.

“Well,” she said. “Sometimes.”

I raised my eyebrows at this. “Sometimes?” I said.

She shrugged her shoulders. “Yeah, well,” she said, “I guess most of the time you can judge people pretty fairly. Sometimes it seems like you’re avoiding the truth.”

I was, for lack of a better word, flabbergasted. Jane was telling me that I avoided the truth? Um, talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

“Really?” I said.

“Uh-huh, really.” She picked through her salad with her fork and brought another bite up to her mouth.

“You’re serious?” I said.

She started to take a bite, but stopped to say, “Yeah.”

I sat there for a moment, thinking about Jane’s assessment. If someone like Jane thought this, what sort of image was I portraying for the rest of the world? I had always considered myself to be a pretty fair judge of character. Of course, I’d never been particularly good with men, but that was different. We all have our El Guapos.

Thy Will Be Done…available this February!

2013: The Resolutions

Being over forty, I wasn’t going to spend time making a list of things I planned to do this year.  The idea of forming “resolutions” seemed so childish and outdated that it didn’t seem to be worth doing.  After all, I’m not sure I’ve ever really stuck to any of the ones I’ve made in the past so why bother?  Funny thing, I woke up in the middle of the night with several things on my mind.  Not an unusual occurrence, but one that brought about new deliberation on the whole concept of making resolutions.  It isn’t that the process of making resolutions is childish and outdated, the problem has been that the resolutions I was making were childish and outdated.  So, instead of creating this self-limiting, self-defeating set of rules for myself, I’ve come up with some realistic and useful goals for this new year.  Here they are:

First, I resolve to have more resolve.  This has been somewhat elusive over the years and in order to make any significant change in my life, I need to be able to stick to my guns, to stand “resolute” in my convictions and to push forward through opposition.  So,  while slightly redundant, this seemed an appropriate goal to have.

Second, I resolve to not recycle old boyfriends.  A slightly immature goal but an area that has been a huge stronghold for me and has created problems which have held me back from being able to make good progress on other goals.  I have had a tendency to be very forgiving in situations where that level of forgiveness isn’t necessarily warranted.  This year and every year forward, I resolve to leave the past in the past and to not waste energy attempting to draw water from a dry well.  If he’d been worth the effort at all, he would have been worth it back then.  Not that I discount anyone’s ability to change, but since I’ve changed pretty significantly over the years, it is more likely that the type of guy I once sought out is no longer the right type for me.  And in truth, probably never was.

Third, I resolve to follow the news more closely this year…no matter how intensely painful it may be.  In the past, I’ve tried to avoid watching news broadcasts because they seem to be so focused on drawing out the absolute worst in people and sensationalizing it.  However, I found it necessary this past year, with all that transpired in politics and government, to pay closer attention to what was going on and to spend some time in debate with others about the issues.  For a time, when I was in a season of deep personal crisis, I simply couldn’t handle adding any more negativity to my consciousness.  But I believe that I am now better able to manage the information and I kind of enjoy a healthy debate every once in a while.  So, we’ll see what happens.

Fourth, I resolve to study God’s word in more depth.  Instead of just reading the Bible each day, I am going to study a bit more intensely so that I can get to the heart of what Scripture has been trying to say to me.  Through working on my degree last year, I developed a real interest in how the Bible was put together and the history behind the Scriptures.  I want to know more about these things so that the message becomes even more deeply rooted in my heart.  Possibly, the best thing I can do for myself this year and going forward.

Fifth, although I try to do this anyway, I resolve to meet all of my challenges head on.  I try not to back down when confronted, but there have been some times when I let myself believe that I just didn’t have enough energy to deal with things.  Enough of that.  I will not be overcome by the challenges I face.  I won’t be afraid to admit when I can’t fight the fight alone.  This is the first step in getting to victory.

And finally, I resolve to focus on the three “G’s” in my life; my God, my gifts, and my girls.  As you may have guessed, God is at the center of everything I do.  I will continue to honor Him and the blessings He has given me (family, friends, health, etc.).  Though it pretty much falls under the same umbrella, I will also focus on the gifts He has given me.  I believe that God has given me the ability to write and communicate with others and hopefully to encourage others.  I will do my best to use these gifts to do what He has put me on earth to do.  Finally, my girls.  They are the people in my life who have meant the most to me.  My daughter, my mother, and my sisters as well as the many women that I have been fortunate enough to meet and call friend whether through work, school or church.  Yes, there are a number of guys out there who mean a lot to me as well, but my heart is for the empowerment of women and it will be a major focus this year.

So there it is.  The blueprint for the next twelve months.  Hopefully, God will allow me to work on these things and to grow and prosper this year.  I’m looking forward to being more effective and making a difference this year.  Hope you have a wonderful year as well!

Until next time…

Out with the old…

Well, thank God that’s over! 2012 was one of the most difficult years I’ve had in my life and in truth, I’m surprised I was able to accomplish anything with all of the chaos that surrounded me for most of the year.  But, with God’s help, I finished a degree in Religion and my sixth book in the Rona Shively Stories series.  So, there was some productivity tucked in there, though it was often difficult to discern from the outside.  In any case, I’m looking forward to 2013 and I’ve already got several ideas for projects I’d like to finish by this time next year.  With the release of Thy Will Be Done just around the corner, I’m already working on the next Rona book and I’m loving this storyline already.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Rona has some exciting things happening in Thy Will Be Done and the fun won’t stop there.  I’m also working on a couple of other writing projects that I’m not yet ready to talk about, but will share soon.

One thing I’m going to concentrate more on next year is having more speaking events.  I’ve got a great new workshop planned that I’m hoping to launch after the first of the year.  I’ll be approaching libraries to see who would like to host a workshop, so keep watching for upcoming events!  Aside from that, I still want to find more ways to help women overcome barriers to personal growth.  I’ll be looking for opportunities to work with women to help them achieve success and all proceeds from the Rona Shively books go toward Higher Ground Ministries efforts to promote women’s empowerment.  More information about the activities planned for Higher Ground will be posted on the Higher Ground website later this week.

I sincerely appreciate those of you who support me in these efforts and those who actually enjoy reading the Rona Shively series.  She’s still got a few adventures to experience and I’m hoping you enjoy every one of them.  If you’re out tonight, please be safe and have a Happy New Year.  May 2013 bring you many blessings and a spirit of peace and abundance.  God bless!

Until next time…

Don’t forget to check out the changes to Benston Writes!


The latest Rona Shively Story is on its way….

Take a moment to watch the new trailer:


Let me know what you think about the latest video for the Rona Shively Stories.  Check the box below if you wish to order the special Christmas offer!

Looking for gift ideas?

As you’re shopping for gifts for your loved ones this year, take advantage of this special offer:

All five (5) Rona Shively Stories for just $40 plus shipping!!!

In the Wash

Under Lock and Key

Keeping the Faith

This Side Up

Now You See Me


a free copy of Don’t Follow Me, I’m Lost: Tales From a Crazy Christian Woman for every order placed before December 15th!

To take advantage of this special offer or to purchase any of the Rona Shively Stories, please e-mail me.


All proceeds from the sale of any of the books in the Rona Shively Stories series go toward helping Higher Ground Ministries work with women to help them overcome challenges and understand the work of Christ in their lives. 

To donate to Higher Ground Ministries:


Here we go!

Hey everyone! It’s been a while since I’ve posted regularly, but I’m back. Big news, the next Rona Shively novel will be out in February of 2013! I’ll be posting details about how you can pre-order your copy of Thy Will Be Done along with my gift to you, a free copy of my book, Don’t Follow Me, I’m Lost: Tales from a Crazy Christian Woman. Also, keep watching the blog and cheer me on as I attempt my first NaNoWriMo in years! I’ll be posting updates on my progress, so keep tabs on me so I can finish this thing. 🙂

Stay tuned for more info and opportunities to win free stuff! Until next time!

I Think I Can…I Think…I Can?

It has been a long couple of months. I usually try to post something at least every couple of weeks on my blogs, but due to many things that have been going on in my family, I’ve just not had the time or energy. After this long break, I’ve decided on one thing. I must refrain from taking such long breaks. It becomes way too easy to just not do the thing. As much as I enjoy writing and communicating, the more time I take away from it, the harder it gets to come back to it. So, here I am. Ready to enlighten you with my rapier wit.

First, I’d like to say that I’m finishing up writing my sixth Rona Shively book. Today, my goal is to get the first draft completely written and submitted to my publisher. I’ve decided to call the book, Thy Will Be Done. After the year I’ve had, I’m thinking no other title would be a better fit.

In this book, Rona is recovering from a few setbacks. She is dealing with some new realities in her life and trying desperately not to sink back into some habits that she wants to leave behind her. It’s a story about adjustment and figuring out who we are. It’s so easy for me to write this because I’ve spent the last twenty years trying to figure out who I am and haven’t really come to a solid conclusion yet, except maybe on a couple of points.

I’m excited about this book and am hoping that you will be, too! Rona is a wonderful character and watching her “grow up” over the past six years has been a trip. As a special bonus for people who pre-order Thy Will Be Done, I’m going to include a copy of some inspirational writing that I’ve been doing. When I say inspirational, I really mean empowering. The whole point of my writing is to empower my readers as they go through life’s day-to-day struggles and so, I’m going to include my self-published book, Don’t Follow Me, I’m Lost: Tales from a Crazy Christian Woman absolutely free with the purchase of any Rona Shively book! I hope you will take advantage of this offer by pre-ordering your copy. I”ll have a link to it set up by the end of November.

As always, I hope that wherever life finds you today you will remember that with God all things are possible. Sometimes, it feels like nothing is ever going to change, but it’s all just a season that you need to go through to get to the next level. Never give up, don’t turn back, and most importantly, always know that you are special because God made you.

Until next time, friends!

Another One Bites the Dust…

It’s entirely possible that there are no good men left out there.  Rona Shively is finding that out in the latest Rona Shively Story.  She couldn’t depend on Trey, Norm disappointed her and now she’s starting to question whether or not she can really trust Garrett.  She’s on her third strike when it comes to relationships, but what’s really scaring her more than anything else is that shopping for baby blankets is a bit more treacherous than she had ever imagined.

If you haven’t read the last few stories, you need to get caught up before February of 2013.  Coming soon, from Stonegarden.net, the next Rona Shively Story!!!!

To order The Rona Shively Stories, e-mail me here.  The first fifty orders get $10 off the purchase of the complete set.  That’s all five Rona Shively Stories for just $40 plus shipping!  Take advantage of this great offer by putting “50” in the subject line of your e-mail!  This offer ends August 31, 2012.

Another Trip Around the…Sun?

Take a moment and watch this video, good song!

Trip Around the Sun

Well, let’s hope so.  I swear, looking back over the last twelve months of my life I would have thought there might be a few more victories there.  Sadly, I was doing pretty much the same thing this time last year as I am today.  On my 39th birthday, I was traveling to Cincinnati for a job interview which didn’t pan out and I was in relational negotiations with a loser.  That’s a nice way of saying that I was in mid-breakup with a guy I was trying to date.  It’s not like I didn’t accomplish anything, though.  At least this year, it was a different guy and I really did make some changes that I feel will turn out to be the right thing.  I just haven’t seen the fruits of those efforts yet.  It makes it difficult sometimes to keep planning ahead and to keep pushing toward new goals.  But in truth, I’ve been anticipating this day.  My fortieth birthday.  I’ve wanted so badly to be out of my thirties and now, I’m here.

Turning forty is a major milestone for me because it represents a fresh start after all of the upheavals and defeats suffered during my last decade.  My thirties represented the birth of my child whom I love more than life itself, the rise and subsequent fall of my marriage, the loss of some very important family members, the difference between admiration, infatuation, and true love, the realization that maybe I’m not cut out to do what counts as “real work” in this society, and an even bigger realization that I’m really not the one whose steering this ship.  I’m hopeful, that with God’s grace, I can move on to do something meaningful with the rest of my days on this earth.  And even though it often seems like nothing is happening, I know He is working in my life.  He’s certainly had me in a season on reflection and learning for the last ten years or so.   And I think I’m finally starting to form a clear picture of what He’s been trying to show me.

Looking back on the last twenty years, I can see where these times have helped me grow and where what I thought were the toughest trials I’d ever faced made me stronger.  God has a way of showing us who we are when we aren’t really paying attention.  All this time, I thought some of the things I were doing were just being done out of my inability to follow Him correctly.  As it turns out, it was part of His plan to help me overcome the most daunting strongholds that I still had in my life.  So, for my fortieth birthday, I’m giving myself the gift of giving up.  I’m giving up on things and people that are bad for me.  I’m giving up on relationships that hold no promise other than to hurt me and stall my progress.  I’m giving up what I believed to be control of my life to Someone who is better equipped than myself to guide me through this mess.  I’m giving up on trying to be what everyone else wants me to be.  And in doing so, I’ll be giving up on being frustrated and finally allowing myself to enjoy being the person God made me to be.  Yes, after forty years, I think it’s time I started being myself.  Maybe this trip around the sun will be more than just another trip around the same mountain.  I’ll get back to you on that…but in the meantime, have a wonderfully, blessed day!