Category Archives: Fun

Celebration Month

Celebration cake with candle.The earliest notes for my foray into the mad adventure known as fiction writing carry a March date. I’ve chosen March as the “birthday” month of my fictional characters imaginary friends, even those who have told me their “real” birth dates. My family thinks I’m crazy, but they never turn down free cake.

This blog began in March, too, and in 2013 I’m celebrating 5 years. Names have changed (the blog used to be God With Us: Finding Joy, and I used to write under the pen name of Joanna Mallory) but the focus is much the same.

God has given me a devotional every week. For five years. I love the chance to share what He’s showing me, and to see how sometimes He uses it in readers’ lives.

I’ve enjoyed spreading the word about books I’ve read and authors I’ve appreciated. Especially Canadian authors who are Christian…

And the blogging friends I’ve made, a few of whom could be my sisters separated at birth… some of you I won’t meet before Heaven, others I’ve met at Write! Canada, but it’s our online conversations that have rooted the relationships.

In celebration of it all, I’m giving away a free copy of A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider. To find out more, visit the Blog Birthday Party page. [Comments left on today’s post won’t be included in the draw… you need to go over to the giveaway page. Edit: The party’s over, and the page is gone now.]

So… join the celebration, and help yourself to a slice of virtual cake!

Interview: Tadeo Turtle

I’ve posted author interviews before, but today’s my first fictional-character interview. (Not, of course, that our guest thinks he’s fictional.)

Allow me to introduce TADEO Turtle. He pronounces his name TAD-ay-OH, and I believe we can also call him TAD.

Tadeo Turtle

Tadeo Turtle

Janet: Tadeo, welcome. I’m quite fond of turtles and pleased to meet you. What kind of turtle are you?

Tadeo: Hi Janet. Thanks for the opportunity to talk to you and your readers. I am a painted turtle – well not quite – as my creator used her imagination to create me. Janis started with a picture of a painted turtle and then let the colours flow and out I came.

Janet: Well, you’re a new kind of painted turtle then… a watercolour turtle! Do painted turtles live in most parts of North America? I’m in Nova Scotia, Canada, and I’m pretty sure we have some of your relatives here. We also have the endangered Blandings Turtle.

Tadeo: Yes we are native to most of North America and my cousins live in your neck of the woods.  Thank you for bringing up the subject of endangered species. There are many turtles that are threatened by more than predators. Humans have made some of my relatives very scarce and that makes me sad.

Besides the Blandings Turtle we are also losing the Spotted Turtle and the Snapping Turtle as well as many, many others. These used to be common to you humans but we die on roads – did you know that? Have you seen the signs – Turtle Crossing – well watch out, we move very slowly and can’t get across your busy intersections very well. SLOW down when you see that sign – you might hit ME.

Janet: I’ve seen those signs, Tadeo. The only time I saw a turtle crossing the road was at night, and he was a big guy, a snapper I think. I didn’t think it was safe to stop on the side of the road and try to move him (snappers snap!) but I asked God to protect him and get him safely across. I assume the bigger turtles are the older ones. You’re still fairly young, yourself, aren’t you? I understand you like to laugh and play. What sorts of things do turtles do for fun?

Tadeo: I like to eat, fish, insects, plants – actually I am omnivorous, I love any food – it keeps me healthy. I look around at the lady turtles but haven’t found one I fancy yet. I have some friends – SAMMY SQUIRREL is my friend, you know. I am not sure about CAT as he was in my dream but maybe I could make friends with him some day.

Janet: It sounds like a good life. But for a while you were kind of sad about it. Care to tell us a bit about that?

Tadeo: Oh I started to feel sorry for myself when I looked at what my friend SAMMY SQUIRREL could do and I couldn’t because of my shell – it is cumbersome you know.

Janet: So you started to think your lovely shell wasn’t such a good thing?

Tadeo: My eyes looked at others instead of at God and I did envy what I saw. Now I think of people who have casts on their limbs, or are in wheel chairs. Maybe they feel like that too.

Janet: Perhaps they do. And perhaps if some of them read about your story, they’ll feel better about themselves. I wonder if SAMMY SQUIRREL or CAT wished they could have a cool shell like yours.

Tadeo: I guess so – maybe when they are being chased and can’t get away they would like a place to hide and be protected. Mmm I never thought about that. Thanks Janet for opening my eyes to that fact.

Janet: I think other than protection, the best thing about having a shell would be that your house is always with you. When you want to nap, you can tuck in and sleep wherever you are. Do you still wish you were different?

Tadeo: Well –  I think know now a little bit more about God, the Creator. I know Janis made me in the book but in her heart my little life is real. And Janis knows God and knows that He created turtles to be as they are. So I know now that I have to accept that and try to be the way God created me. I feel more at peace now that I know that.

Janet: I’m glad. We’re all a little different, on the inside if not the outside. That’s part of the variety of God’s creation. He certainly has a big imagination! But we all fit together in His world.

Tadeo: Oh Janet – you get it too. That is awesome to know that we all have a special place in God’s heart. He cares for all of us – you know. Have you read 1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxieties on Him because He cares for you.” I hear Janis saying that a lot.

Janet: Yes, I love that Bible verse. Janis is my friend too, Tadeo, and I  have a lot of respect for her faith and wisdom. She’s encouraged me many times. Would you like to tell our readers a bit about her?

Author Janis Cox

Author Janis Cox

Tadeo: Well I am happy that she created me. She told me that God gave her the words to come out of my mouth and that God inspired her to paint. Did you know that she didn’t think she could paint? I find that interesting because she knows that God can do anything. So why didn’t she believe Him right away?

Do you believe that? I think Janis knows now that He can do anything and when we don’t think we can do something we make excuses (just like Moses). But God CAN and DOES. I love that, don’t you?

Also I think Janis is learning to move more slowly – like me. She used to rush and rush – now she takes time to sit and talk to God. She also looks around herself more. Maybe I helped her do that.

Janet: Maybe you did! Isn’t that cool? If you could scurry like SAMMY SQUIRREL that wouldn’t have happened. I love the way her watercolour paintings let me see you and your world. What do you think, does she accurately capture what you look like?

Tadeo: Well sometimes I think that she might have made me a little more handsome so I would find that lady of my life. I want one – you know. But I am not in a hurry – as I know God does have a plan.

Janet: Well, thank you, Tadeo, for taking time for this conversation. I’m a little curious how you typed your answers! I wish you many happy adventures, and I hope to read more about them in another story. Keep your eye out for that special lady turtle!


cover art for the book Tadeo TurtleFor more about Tadeo Turtle, visit Janis Cox’s website. Janis also runs the Under the Cover of Prayer blog

You can also find her at:

The Janis Cox Facebook page

Tadeo’s Facebook page

Twitter: Janis Cox

Twitter: Under the Cover of Prayer

Catchy song, clever lyrics, and some smiles

Veggie Tales make me chuckle. A lot. Here’s In the Belly of the Whale, with footage from the “Jonah” movie and music from the Newsboys. Gotta love a song that legitimately includes the word “expectorated”.

The Opener — Jonny Diaz

I saw Jonny Diaz perform “The Opener” at Maple Noise 2011. I really like his serious songs, especially “More Beautiful You” and “Scars” but it’s great to laugh once in a while. You can see the video for his new song, “Scars,” on the Jonny Diaz website. The site also has a link to follow him on Twitter–definitely worth doing if you like to smile. Here’s “The Opener” for another smile:

Friday Findings 4

The “Practicing True Worship” webinar with Canadian singer/songwriter/writer Carolyn Arends is now available online on the Kyria blog. Some of the content applies more to worship leaders, but most of it is useful for any of us who want to make worship a more authentic part of our lives. I need to listen to it again, because I know I missed some things.

FlyLady’s website has lots of tips and information, including a detailed cleaning plan for each “zone” of your house. I’m not ready for that yet but I’ve found the daily action plans really helpful in reclaiming my home from the clutter. It’s a bit of a pain to sign up for the emails, but only because it’s one more username/password etc. to create and remember. It’s not hard, and I wish I hadn’t waited so long to do it. Still, progress is being made! [My tip: choose “digest” mode or you’ll get a bunch of individual emails.]

You don’t have to be a country music fan to like The Keats’ catchy “Give Me a Ring“. They’re a vibrant, Nova Scotia-based band on the rise. If you like what you hear, these links will take you to The Keats’ Facebook page or The Keats’ MySpace page.

Friday Findings 2

The Pursuing Purity Project is a three-book Bible study and resource for women. What captures me about the project is that it goes beyond the usual defining of purity in sexual terms. Author Keiki Hendrix draws her premise from Matthew 5:8–“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”–and she asks, “If this is the formula for seeing God, to be pure in heart, then shouldn’t we pursue that? Shouldn’t we set our hearts on path to have this purity of heart?

The site offers a 6-part downloadable Bible study (free!) as well as devotionals on the subject of purity. I haven’t investigated the studies yet, but they’re definitely on my list.

Reflections is a new-to-me blog by Shannon Leibold, on seeing and reflecting the glory of God in our daily lives.

Every Saturday there’s a roundup of book review links at Semicolon. It’s a great way to discover new reading material, and to share a link to any books you’ve posted about in the previous week. Sherry, the blog owner, posts reviews through the week too.

I like to support my local Christian bookstores, but I was happy to learn about BooksforChrist, which bills itself as “Canada’s Discount Christian Bookstore” and offers free shipping within Canada on orders over $50. ( and Chapters-Indigo give free shipping on anything over $40.) My local stores are happy enough to order in books for me, but it’s always good to have options. In the US there’s, and some of my Canadian friends use them, but I’ve always wondered what the shipping and customs fees would be. They have super-low discount prices on some of their books, though.

Tea lovers will appreciate the lyrics in this song from Canadian jazz singer/songwriter Teresa Doyle: “You’re My Cup of Tea“. You can grab a free download of “You’re My Cup of Tea” from

Friday Funnies

One of the blogs that often sets me chuckling is The Lucas Adventures. It’s hard to write funny, but Chad Lucas does it well. A couple of my favourite posts: “Word to the Absurd,” saluting those crazy things parents find themselves saying to their kids, and “A Father’s Guide to Routine Child Maintenance, Vol. 1 – Diaper Duty“.

Duane Scott hosts “Pleasantly Disturbed Thursdays“. The link takes you to volume 7, my favourite. Things to do with orange traffic cones. Need I say more?

Stephan Pastis’ blog is sometimes rude but often funny. The man is brilliant. I get his Pearls Before Swine strip in my in-box each morning, and this one cracked me up: [Click to view the Pearls Before Swine strip.]