Serene September Writer’s Get-away

Black woman writer at cafe
Woman writer at cafe

Do you love writing? Do you want to write a book? Joseph Epstein, essayist short story writer, and editor, said at the beginning of the new millennium that 81% of people want to write a book and that statistic likely still holds true! It’s time to write YOUR book!

I started a new, part-time job outside the home this year, so I’ve been extra busy and blogging hasn’t made the top of the to-do list.

But I decided this weekend to just sit down and blog, and wanted to share about my Serene September Writers’ Get-away I hosted and spoke at in fall 2018. Four Christian women writers attended, and it was so fun that we want to do it again this year!

Bethany House
Bethany House

The venue for this writers’ retreat was at the Bethany House in Butler, Missouri. It’s about an hour south of Kansas City, MO. This is a beautiful, fully-furnished house with three bedrooms and 2 1/2 bathrooms in a quiet neighborhood, that has been completely remodeled inside and out.

It is a relaxing, quiet place to pray, refill, and be refreshed. The women and I love it!

Outside porch with rockers
Outside porch with rockers

You can sit outside in a big rocker on the wrap-around porch, make some popcorn and  enjoy a chick flick on TV in the living room, watch the birds with your coffee in the morning in the sunroom, or sleep in late in the master bedroom, queen bedroom, or upstairs bedroom decorated in a children’s theme, which is where I prefer to stay because it’s so cute and comfortable!

Living room to watch a good chick flick!
Living room to watch a good chick flick!

Master bedroom

Queen bedroom


The sunroom is my favorite room. I love sitting in there in the morning, drinking my coffee, journaling, and watching the birds. The sun comes streaming in through the windows.

coffee in Bethany House cup
coffee in Bethany House cup


Windchime in sunroom
Windchime in sunroom


Stenciling in sunroom
Stenciling in sunroom

It is so peaceful. I’ve stayed at the Bethany House several times overnight just to be alone, think about my life, and pray. The owner of Bethany House has pretty decor like this candle and angel below to set a tone of serenity and prayer for the house’s atmosphere.

candle and angel
candle and angel

I love buying gifts for people and bought the ladies attending a gift bag, each in different colors. I included goodies like a journal (to jumpstart their writing!), Sharpie ultra-fine, black pens, sticky notes, hand lotion, a little bag of tissues with sayings on them like “Seize this moment” and “Find your fearless,” chewing gum, and a Dove chocolate bar. They loved them.

Goodies for ladies’ gift bags
Facial mask, chapstick, and chocolates

My books in gift bags, How To Write Your Book Fast: Making Your Writing Dreams Come True, and 
Walking With God (a book on prayer)
Journal & Kleenex with encouraging captions

I used my book, How To Write Your Book Fast: Making Your Writing Dreams Come True, as the primary resource for this writers’ retreat.

How To Write Your Book Fast: Making Your Writing Dreams Come True
Cover art: Copyright 2016 Beth Jones

I used my daughter Leah’s violin music stand to set my teaching notes on and we used used the formal dining room as our classroom and to eat. Both worked perfectly!

Me teaching at writers’ retreat
Writers who attended the retreat at the dining room table, where I taught the retreat.
Here we are eating the salad lunch on Saturday.
Four women attended the retreat: Krista, Liz, Missy, and Simmie. Liz and Simmie are local author friends. I am friends with Krista and Missy on Facebook, and really enjoyed meeting them.
 I’m so glad they all came!

On Friday evening, I taught the first session of the retreat. Then we went out to eat supper at the local Mexican restaurant, El Charro–fun! When we came out of the restaurant, we saw a beautiful night sky!

Afterward, the ladies made popcorn and enjoyed the chocolates I’d brought them for the weekend, and stayed up watching chick flicks in the living room and talking. I think this set the right tone!

We enjoyed chips and salsa (my addiction!) and Mexican for supper the first night of the writers’ retreat at the local El Charro restaurant.

Beautiful night sky

The next morning, I fixed the ladies breakfast (scrambled eggs, fresh fruit, yogurt, coffee). They were free to sleep in as long as they wanted! 

Two of the ladies have a house full of kids, so they really needed this time of R & R!

The house has all the amenities of a nice hotel–including little shampoos and other toiletries and soft, white robes!

Breakfast on Saturday morning
Fresh fruit: Strawberries and blueberries
Simmie and I enjoyed fresh peaches!
The ladies at breakfast Saturday morning

One of the attendees, my friend Liz, generously brought bagels from Einstein Brothers in Overland Park, Kansas, as she and her friend Simmie drove together to the retreat. She bought a variety, but one unique kind is their bagel with red onion, tomatoes, capers, and cold-smoked Nova Lox salmon. Delicious!

Yummy bagels that Liz brought from Einstein Brothers

One of the attendees, Missy, and I talked prior to the retreat and I asked her to share a devotional on Saturday morning in the sunroom after breakfast. It was so good and she did a great job! 

Missy, one of the attendees, sharing the Saturday morning devotional

I had never met Missy in person or heard her speak before, but I am led by the Holy Spirit and my gut. Neither have ever led me wrong! 

I’m so glad that Missy shared! It was anointed by God!

Missy sharing the devotional in the sunroom and Simmie

I taught several hour-long sessions during the weekend retreat, but I also gave the ladies some needed free time to be alone to pray, think, write, or to talk with each other. On Friday and Saturday night I went home to sleep, since I live right here in town and that gave the ladies more privacy.

The beautiful ladies at the Serene September Writers’ Get-away:
Krista, Liz, Missy, and Simmie

The sessions included these topics: Why do you write, Getting Started, Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing, Writing Tips, and Resources that I use each time I write a book (I’ve written 17 and am about to write my next one. You can find out more about my books at my Amazon Author Page at

This retreat was intense with a lot of information for beginner writers, but we also took time out for FUN! That weekend was near my birthday (September 20) and Liz’s was that weekend (September 23) , so we decided to celebrate both of ours that weekend.

I brought cupcakes and Liz and I gave each other a gift. I loved the Paparazzi earrings and necklace that Liz got me! They have such cute jewelry for just $5! The ladies sang happy birthday, too!

My pretty floral gift bag from Liz
The pretty flower Paparazzi earrings that Liz got me

I felt led by God to also offer Holy Communion at the writers’ retreat. This may sound unusual, but I desire to put God first with everything I do. He is the one who has given us this gift of writing, and I feel it is important to dedicate the writing of our books, blogs, and everything we pen to Him, for Jesus’ glory.

Communion at writers’ retreat

I ended the retreat by answering any questions they had about writing. I encouraged them that I’d be first in line to buy their books!

One of the ladies, Missy, emailed me this after the retreat: “We leave for vacation in Angel Fire, NM for the next six days and I have plans to write and take photos for my book project (an inspirational “coffee table” type book about all that I have learned “In the Valley” of this year) while I am there!  I can’t wait to just start!”

Another lady who attended, my friend Liz, has written an exciting adventure novel and a devotional book on the Lord’s rest, both which she plans to publish soon. I’m so excited for her!

Before the retreat, I also prayed for God to give me a Scripture and a song for each lady there. We concluded the retreat by praying for one another. This was one of the most powerful parts of the retreat, where the ladies and I received prophetic words for each other. We were all ministered to and cried! God is so good!

Krista praying for Missy
Missy praying for Simmie

Krista praying for Simmie
Liz praying for Krista
Simmie praying for Liz
Liz sharing song with Missy from her phone
Anointing oil and candle from Israel, decorative mirror & hearts

I brought a few visual aids to the retreat for the teaching times, such as my Cinderella glass slippers (this is my signature speech) and the Curious George monkey that was a gift to me years ago when I attended renown speaker Florence Littauer’s CLASServices speaker/writer retreat. She said always be curious!

Curious George that Florence Littauer gave me and other speakers at CLASS retreat for speakers & writers. Always be curious!

For my birthday, my family gave me some fresh beautiful red roses and sunflowers, which are my favorite kinds of flowers. They made such a gorgeous centerpiece in the sunroom! 

The ladies loved looking at them all weekend!

Beautiful sunflowers and roses that was my birthday gift from my family. It made a great centerpiece in the sunroom!

If you’d like me to speak at your women’s conference, retreat, or event sharing my powerful testimony or about writing your book, I’d love to come encourage you and your friends. You can contact me here at my website.

One of the ladies at the retreat, Missy, gave this testimonial:

“Thank you for all of your planning and prayer and preparation for the amazing retreat this weekend. Your passion for encouraging women to find and follow God’s calling to WRITE is simply contagious. Your willingness to be transparent, genuine and compassionate toward each of us was a blessing. Every detail was covered, everything we could possibly have needed was provided for, and every question we had was answered. You went above and beyond to ensure that we were thoroughly blessed, carefree and able to remain focused on what God was speaking to our hearts this weekend. Saying “Thank you” doesn’t seem like enough!  I have buried this dream for long enough. Because of this weekend, I am moving forward with three projects immediately, and I came home with a list of up to 20 additional writing projects to work on in the future. How amazing is that!”

Liz shared her experience about this retreat: “Beth had a great writing retreat in a lovely retreat center. She paid attention to a lot of little details, which added to our experience and had some great teaching time which was helpful.  I personally needed more time to write. But I ran into some personal snags which kept me from writing. The rooms were great and the food was great, too! Loved it!”


Summer Bucket List

84 degrees
84 degrees

Summer has definitely arrived. It’s 84 degrees today in the Kansas City, MO area. Today I texted my husband Ray, reminding him of the hot temperature and asking him why he uses the freaking electric blanket in the summer. Here’s my text:


My text to Ray today

He never answered the text.

In the summer time, I always freeze my family cranking the A-C, so that might explain it a little. I’m trying to stay cool drinking lots of water.


Recently I also discovered Sonic’s mango lemonade, which is very dangerous. I’m trying to avoid them, but they are so tempting! The medium size is almost as much as the large, so I just go for the large, with easy ice.

But if I want to hit my summer goal of losing _____ pounds (for me and God to know only!), I can’t do this very often! (Confession: I’m drinking one right now as I blog!)

I will tell you that the morning stop drinks are cheaper than the afternoon Happy Hour 1/2 off drinks! Some employees let you get the lemonades at the cheaper price in the morning, and some don’t.

Sonic's mango lemonade
Sonic’s mango lemonade

A lot of people plan family vacations for summer. Our family has rarely done this, due to cost, but a girl can dream, right? My place of peace and restoration is the ocean, and I want to go so bad!

I’ve written down a goal of going to Destin, Florida this year, the location that was the setting for my first fiction book, Storm Tossed.

Right now I’m writing the second book in this fiction series, called Afflicted, where the main character Rachel and her husband Jackson are kidnapped by extremists while on a mission trip in Africa. (Stay tuned for details!)

me on the beach, my place of peace & restoration
me on the beach, my place of peace & restoration

Ray’s dream vacation spot is Bora Bora in the French Polynesia Islands, and I fully intend on sending him there one day.

If you could go anywhere this summer, where would it be? Are you taking a family vacation this summer? Where? Leave your comments below!

Bora Bora
Bora Bora

Ray and I need prayer for this summer. Our landlord is selling the rental house where we live. We’re not sure what exactly is going to happen with our housing situation or where we’ll live, so please keep us in prayer for God’s leading, wisdom, and His provision.

But one thing I do know is that I’d like to do some FUN things with Ray, our kids, and our grandkids this summer. What’s on your summer bucket list? I’m busy making mine! I’d love to hear from you below!

Summer bucket list


Birthdays, babies, and books, oh my!

My husband Ray and me on his 50th birthday
My husband Ray and me on his 50th birthday

There’s a lot going on in our family right now. Birthdays, babies, and books, oh my!

My husband Ray had his milestone 50th birthday this week. In the picture above, you see him wearing the “Champ” t-shirt I bought him.

I also made him breakfast (yes, this is quite a feat for me as I hate to cook!), baked him a home-made lime pie (he loves limes), and bought him the t-shirt and work socks. I’m also hosting a birthday bbq for him in August with his friends.

Our daughter Heather bought Ray a new grill and a set of grill tools- an amazing gift! Of course we had to immediately try it out, so last night our kids and grandkids (except for our grandson Jacob, who was in AR) came over for his birthday bbq. Ray grilled his infamous Cajun chicken and corn on the cob.

Heather & Ray with his new grill for his birthday
Heather & Ray with his new grill and grill tools for his birthday

For the birthday bbq, Heather and Eden made home-made, orange-cranberry cupcakes with orange-cranberry frosting and I served Ray’s lime pie. Here’s Eden frosting the cupcakes with her cool baking frosting tool.

Eden looked so pretty in her purple sundress. She’s now about 34 weeks pregnant with her little girl, Piper. We’re all excited about meeting Piper soon!

Eden frosting Ray's cupcakes
Eden frosting Ray’s cupcakes

Aren’t the cupcakes beautiful? Leah said I need to invest in this tool, because mine do NOT turn out this pretty! Eden would like to have her own bakery business one day. Eden added an orange candy slice on top and a moustache as a joke, because I don’t like Ray with moustaches or beards. 

orange-cranberry cupcakes
orange-cranberry cupcakes

Here is Ray about to try one out. He gave his stamp of approval!

Ray and his cupcake with an orange slice and a moustache
Ray and his cupcake with an orange slice and a moustache

The grill works just great. The chicken and grilled corn on the cob turned out delicious! Everyone loved it and had fun.

Ray's Cajun grilled chicken
Ray’s Cajun grilled chicken

grilled corn on the cob
grilled corn on the cob

Everyone digging in! Left to right: Leah, Heather, Heather's boyfriend Matt, Ray, & part of Eden
Everyone digging in!
Left to right:
Leah, Heather, Heather’s boyfriend Matt, Ray, & part of Eden

Our granddaughters (Heather’s girls) Violet and Annabelle and I sat at the kitchen island to eat due to table space in the dining room (above). Annabelle (pictured on the right) is a picky eater, but she loves her papa’s grilled chicken!

Violet and Annabelle at Ray's birthday family bbq
Violet and Annabelle at Ray’s birthday family bbq

Here is a great family picture of us after we ate. I love it!

Our family, Ray's 50th bday Left to right: Heather, Eden, Ray, Leah & me
Our family, Ray’s 50th bday
Left to right:
Heather, Eden, Ray, Leah & me

Eden is eager to have Piper, but Piper doesn’t need to come yet! Eden is supposed to be 34 weeks pregnant, but she and I both think she is further along than that. Eden has already dropped and is dilated 1 cm. Of course, you can be at 1 cm for weeks!

I’m having a baby shower for Eden in late July, but Eden and I have both had dreams that she had Piper early and we don’t think she’s going to make it to her due date in August. Eden has an “owl” theme for Piper’s crib. 

owl theme for Piper's room
owl theme for Piper’s room

owl theme
owl theme

Finally, I’m about to “birth” my new, first ever fiction book, Storm Tossed. It is launching Monday, July 13, 2015, at Amazon.

Storm Tossed

I’m so excited about this. Ray and our youngest daughter Leah have been encouraging me for YEARS to write a fiction book! I had all kind of excuses WHY I couldn’t do this: I’d never written a fiction book before, I’d never taken fiction writing classes, what does plot mean, etc.

I had to tell myself what I’ve told my writer coaching students: “Just do it! No excuses! Write!”

To my surprise, my beta reader reviewers have liked (even LOVED) the eBook, and have given me very positive feedback!

I’m having a Facebook Virtual Book Launch Celebration on July 13, 2015. You can see my video about it by clicking here

Like I said, lots going on with our family right now. Very exciting! What is new with you? Leave your comments below.