Waiting… on Covid (and other things) to Pass

My husband is a great gardener. It’s one of only two hobbies he has, and I am the beneficiary of his care and skills. Our patio and front porch are filled with over fifty thriving potted plants. They are especially beautiful this year because we have had mild weather, and because Miracle Grow is Randy’s best friend.

He carefully tended our hanging baskets of bougainvillea, checking daily for the first bloom to appear. Finally after months, there was one red bract on one of three plants, but over the next few weeks, all three bougainvilleas rewarded his faith. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 He had faith that with the right care and conditions bracts and blooms would be forthcoming.

In our “fast food, microwave, and Instapot” society, we’ve managed to eliminate almost all waiting. Maybe that’s why Covid hit us all so deeply. We had fooled ourselves. We never knew the future, but we had convinced ourselves that we did. We were never in control, but believed we were.

Whether we wait for a Covid test or other medical test results, wait to recover from illness, wait and long to see friends and family face to face without masks, wait for a successful treatment, or wait for a vaccine, He is still in control. This pandemic did not take Him by surprise, for dark times are never dark to Him. Psalm 139:12 “even the darkness is not dark to thee, the night is bright as the day; for darkness is as light with thee.”

We can depend on Him to guide us through this unprecedented time when we ask. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

What does He want us to learn during this time of waiting (other than Who is really in charge)? How can we touch lives when we aren’t allowed to physically touch anyone? Donate to food banks? Send cards and letters? Make phone calls? Pray for the sick, for medical personnel, pray for students, teachers, and school administrators? Pray for local and national leaders? Be extra generous with tips when others serve us?

Leave a comment and share what you are doing to touch an un-touch-able world while you wait for Covid to pass. Your comments encourage others.

Randy’s Chocolate Pie

This is easy-peasy! Fail proof!

  • 2 1/2 cups milk, divided
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 7 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 large egg yolks, save egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • 1 baked 9 inch pie crust
  • Meringue

CRUST: Use your favorite crust recipe, or I recommend Mrs. Callender’s frozen crust. If a deep dish pie or a 10 inch crust, I recommend making 1 1/2 recipe of filling.

FILLING: In medium saucepan, combine 2 cups milk, sugar, cocoa, and butter. Bring just to a boil over medium heat. In a medium bowl, mix together remaining milk and cornstarch. Whisk in egg yolks and vanilla. Blend well. Temper the egg mixture with some of the hot cocoa mixture. Gradually add all the egg mixture to the saucepan, stirring constantly. Cook, stirring constantly, about two minutes until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and stir in marshmallows until the mixture is smooth. Pour into pie shell.

MERINGUE: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Beat egg whites until frothy (add 1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter if you have it). Gradually add 6 tablespoons sugar as you continue to beat. Smooth meringue onto pie. Bake about 7 minutes until lightly browned.

Pie recipe originated with Luby’s. Adapted by Cele LeBlanc

My Book Reviews


To Have and to Hold: Three Autumn Love ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ I loved all three of these Autumn Love Stories. Each are unique, sweet romances. Looking forward to more short stories from Becky Wade, Betsy St Amant, and Katie Ganshert

The Lacemaker Laura Franz ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Revolutionary War sacrifices are often lost on us nearly 240 years later. Laura Frank brings those patriots and their sacrifices to life in The Lacemaker.

The Printed Letter Bookshop Katherine Reay ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ I almost gave this 4 stars because I thought it started slowly, but the rest of the book made my perseverance worth it! Such a lovely ending—Katherine Reay knows how to end a book!

Start With Me Kara Isaac ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Kara Isaac shares another great read. Wow! Loved this book! I hated to see it end, and hope to read more of this series in the future. Beautifully developed characters and story. Kara Isaac is the new Charles Martin

Things I Never Told You-Beth K Vogt Thatcher Sister Series Book 1,2&3, ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Good book, but for me the ending was not satisfactory. I needed more wrap up or at least more progress in relationships. But I did go on to read Book 2 which focuses on the story of the middle sister. Don’t read Book 1 unless you are willing to continue. (😂 LOL) I am glad I read them in order.  Moments We Forget Book 2 Thatcher Sisters Picks up where Book 1 left off and continues the story of the middle sister. The Best We’ve Been Book3 Thatcher Sisters Picks up the story and focuses on the oldest sister. The series is worth the read, especially is you have sisters. 

If I Were You Lynn Austin Would make a great TV series  ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ A view into life during and after World War II. An inspiring book of friendship, courage, and forgiveness with an unlikely relationship at its center. Although this novel was a bit long, Lynn Austin gave the reader a realistic and often terrifying understanding of life in England during WWII with a contrast of life in the US. If I Were You would make a fantastic TV series. 

Dancing Shoes Lynne Gentry⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Lynne Gentry has a gift for humor. Delightful story of courage to begin again. I can’t wait to read Baby Shoes. If you “grew up in church” or if you love the Mitford Series, you will love this series beginning with Walking Shoes! 👠 

Stay with Me, Becky Wade ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Becky Wade always delivers a beautifully written story. Stay with Me is extremely timely and insightful with flawed and relatable characters A beautiful picture of grace.

London Tides, Carla Laureano⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Grace for Grace BrennanThe second novel in the MacDonald Family Trilogy is just as compelling as the first and beautifully written. Ian MacDonald offers grace to his long-absent love—just as God showers grace on us all.

Joyce K Ellis The Heart Psalms ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Assurance in Times of Turmoil Reading the devotional messages, study of the Psalms, and the challenge to journal or to write one’s own psalm are wonderful practices to give peace to our hearts in times of Covid19 turmoil. Highly recommended.

Jody Hedlund The Reluctant Bride ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Excellent story Jody Hedlund draws the reader into this compelling story of two young English adults from opposite backgrounds. The reader observes as they grow in love, respect, and confidence.

Jessica White Song in the Dark ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Personal growth and healing If you love mythology like Jessica White, you’ll particularly love her novel, Song in the Night. But if mythology is not your thing, don’t despair, it’s not a requirement to appreciate this story of personal growth and healing. Throw in two mysteries, an overbearing mother, a sabotaging ex-boyfriend, a love story, three Dobermans, a handsome detective, and a talented, caring harpist, and you’ll be turning pages all the way to the end. Lovely debut novel. 

Lauren K Denton Glory Road ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Multi-generational story A lovely story. Mom, teenage daughter, and grandmother and their inter- generational relationships. Loving and allowing oneself to be loved.

Lauren K Denton The Hideaway ⭐️⭐️⭐️ While I enjoyed the two POVs and tracking the decades-apart stories of an eccentric grandmother and her success-driven granddaughter, I can’t recommend this story as highly as the one above. I thought Glory Road was more interesting and better written. 

Marilyn Howton Marriott God Bless the Child ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️God Bless All Children   Heartbreaking accounts of hurting children and the sacrificial commitment of the child psychologist God called to help them. God Bless the Child is more than a title. It is a prayer.

Pat Nichols The Trouble in Willow Falls ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Changes in a small town. Having recently moved from a large city to a small town, I can attest that Pat Nichols accurately describes life in a small town. Residents understand sacrifice and change are necessary, but naysayers abound. Will their efforts be enough? And will the changes destroy their best “small town” qualities?

Ramona Richards Murder in the Family ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Not Sweet Home Alabama When extreme greed causes a rift and a dysfunctional family becomes even more dysfunctional, Molly’s best choice is to flee, make a new life, and never look back. But twenty years later, Aunt Liz trusts no one but Molly to execute her will, and Molly is forced to return to Alabama. Past wounds rip open as she faces a family willing to go to any extreme to get what they want, even murder. 

Carla Laureano’sBrunch at Bittersweet Cafe ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Delightful addition to the Supper Club series  Romantic kisses, grand gestures, impossible situations, personal growth, and renewed faith all combine for a delightful romance. I can’t wait for Spring 2020 to rejoin Rachel, Melody, Ana, and their friends at the next Saturday Night Supper Club!

Ann Patchett Run ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Wonderfully Developed Characters Ann Patchett’s Run tells the story of a family through wonderfully developed and diverse characters. I plan to read the rest of her books.

Lisa Crane The Gingerbread Man of My Dreams ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Wishing for more Gingerbread Man, like all of Lisa’s books, is romantic, fun, and compelling. I always read them quickly, and then I wish my literary friends weren’t gone. Write more, Lisa Crane!

Kara Isaac Then There Was You ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Checked All My Boxes This beautifully written story by Kara Isaac checked off all my boxes: Imperfect Christians struggling with life while seeking God in their struggles. Imperfect church with ministers struggling to bring glory to God in their flawed ways. Top it off with the perfect romance between an imperfect but made-for-each-other couple. This was one of those books I couldn’t put down but was sad to finish.

Carlos Camp Muskogee Creek ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️A Deep South trip back to the late 60s A delightful story! Carlos  Camp’s debut novel places the reader in the middle of a simpler time in the the Deep South in the late 60’s. If you grew up in the South at that time, you’ll feel right at home. If you didn’t, you’ll come away with a true picture of that world as it began to undergo changes. As much as was right about the down-home “good ole days,” much needed changing.

Have your read any of the above books or books by these authors? Please reply and add your own thoughts or recommendations.

My Want to Read List

Becky Wade, Stay with Take A Chance on Me (Misty River Series, Book 2) Releases 2020

Jody Hedlund, Bride of Convenience (The Bride Ship Series, Book 3)

Diana Gabaldon, Go Tell The Bees That I Am Gone (The Outlander Series, Book 9) Hoping this is published in 2020

Kara Isaac, Start with Me, releases in June 2020, pre-order on Kindle for $3.99 now!

Comment if you’ve read and would recommend any of the above. Comment and share what is on your nightstand or your “want to read” list!

His compassions never fail

His compassions never fail. They are new EVERY morning! Great is His faithfulness!

When I saw this photo (from Pixabay) on FB this morning, I was reminded of a favorite verse Many times–good times or difficult–I’ve read this verse and thanked God for his presence and provision.


Newsletter, July 30, 2019 The End

The End. Really? You finished your manuscript? Yep! I did. I finished my final edits for my women’s fiction, Just About Perfect. Only took three and one-half years since the day I had this wild hair of an idea, I should write a novel. Had I any idea how much I needed to learn or the focus and time it would take, would I have started? Well . . . that’s probably why the LORD doesn’t let us see into the future. Ya think?

The next step – Four beta readers are now reading the entire book and hopefully finding typos, anything that doesn’t make sense, any section that slows down, and who knows what else? They will share their suggestions and I will make a few more edits. Next, I’ll send proposals to agents and editors who have given me permission to send my work when finished.

Presently, I am considering the BIG QUESTION – What shall I write next? I’m kicking around ideas for a novella that I can give as a gift to those who get this newsletter, thinking about the next book in the series, and considering some shorter projects, like online magazine articles. I learned I really enjoy editing, so I may take a course that would qualify me to offer edits for other writers.

There’s no way to express how much I appreciate all the encouraging words friends, acquaintances, and family have given as I make this journey. You are THE BEST. I am immensely grateful to you and for you.

Family Update: Our granddaughter in Australia, Baby Caroline, weighs over five and one-half pounds and should go home late this week, nine weeks after birth, if all continues to progress. Thinking about her in her own sweet room surrounded by her little family brings a smile to my face. I miss my Australia family, but we FaceTime often, and that helps. Plus it helps to know I am going back November 7. Thanks to all of you who prayed for this two pound, three ounce baby girl. Prayers make a world of difference.

Maybe by next month’s newsletter I’ll have more news about my book to report. Josh, one of my characters tells his mother, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.” Let’s run the marathon set before us.

Leave a comment below. I love to hear from you. Have a wonderful August.

Cele LeBlanc

Newsletter June 15, 2019

I find myself in Australia for the second time in 2019!

I know! If you’d have asked me if I’d EVER go to Australia, I’d likely have said it wasn’t going to happen. But here I am—for the second time this year! Randy and I had a lovely time in the spring and did a lot of sightseeing. Even fed a kangaroo! Enjoyed beautiful beaches. Saw Melbourne and the Peninsula. Pictures above are from our spring trip.

Our son Jon moved here with his wife Lizzie and their son William Noel (we call him Noe-pronounced No-e) last November. They just had miracle baby number two. Caroline was born at just under 28 weeks, weighing 2 lb, 6 oz. There were LOTS of complications before the birth, so I have been here since May 25th and will be here all month, helping out with Noe, cooking, laundry, etc.  

With JOY I report Mom and Baby are doing well! Caroline will be in NICU for quite some time. I love being here to help, and just MAYBE I’ll get to hold Caroline before I leave!

I am In Brighton, a suburb of Melbourne. I love that I can walk to a coffee shop, to the grocery store, to a clothing shop, or restaurant, or ride the train most anywhere I’d like to go, even to the beach. Although it is winter here, the weather is moderate but rainy. 

Some of the things I have come to love about Australia:
1 ) The COFFEE- it is fabulous everywhere you go and it is available EVERYWHERE! 
2) The PEOPLE- they are friendly and don’t mind my Southern accent!
3) The HEALTHCARE – Our Caroline is getting wonderful care from the NICU nurses!
4) Of course – TIME with my family. 

I’d love to have your comments! Add them below.
Have you been to Australia? Or would you like to go? (the flight really isn’t that bad) Like me, are you pleasantly surprised by some of the things you’ve done or places you’ve been?

Thanks again for being a part of my newsletter group!
I’d love to hear back from you!

Cele LeBlanc

PS-I promised to update you on my book… at a recent writers conference, an agent took my proposal and first chapters to study. It doesn’t mean a contract, but it is a POSSIBILITY for a contract.

PS#2-I am coming to Australia the THIRD time in November! Actually, our whole family (minus 1 granddaughter) is coming. But that is the subject for another newsletter!

The Magic of a Book

I Opened a Book by Julia Donaldson

“I opened a book and in I strode.
Now nobody can find me.
I’ve left my chair, my house, my road,
My town and my world behind me.
I’m wearing the cloak, I’ve slipped on the ring,
I’ve swallowed the magic potion.
I’ve fought with a dragon, dined with a king
And dived in a bottomless ocean.
I opened a book and made some friends.
I shared their tears and laughter
And followed their road with its bumps and bends
To the happily ever after.
I finished my book and out I came.
The cloak can no longer hide me.
My chair and my house are just the same,
But I have a book inside me.”

Explore Julia’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/OfficialGruffalo/


What awes you? Our cynical society experiences more disbelief than belief. We question almost everything. Little is taken on faith. At some point it seems our whole country adopted Missouri’s motto, “Show Me.”

I and over 1400 fellow writers are about to travel to one of God’s most beautiful creations, the Black Mountain range of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Southern Appalachians. While focused on the purpose for our trip, the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer’s Conference, how easy it would be to overlook God’s magnificent creation.

We could move from class to class and speaker to speaker engrossed in all we are learning, overwhelmed by all that’s expected of us as writers, and full of fear for our upcoming 15 MINUTE APPOINTMENTS.

Or, we could make connecting with our Lord our primary purpose for the week. We could start (or end) each day with a walk, glorying in our surroundings, praising our creator, seeking his peace, and asking him to guide our every moment at Ridgecrest.

Two things amazed Jesus. In Luke 7:1-9, he marveled at the faith of the centurion. Mark tells us in chapter 6, verse 6 he also marveled at the unbelief of the people in Nazareth. Let’s not be skeptical and filled with unbelief. Let’s allow the beauty around us to remind us that God is on his throne. He has a purpose and plan for our WIPs.

Let’s spend those four (or five) days in May, 2019, marveling at our great God with faith that his purpose for our WIPs will come to fruition. May God speak to each of us next week and leave us filled with awe.

What awes you? Leave a reply.

Happy Thanksgiving Y’all!

Entrance to Brasstown Ball Visitors Center, the tallest peak in GA, close to Young Harris          Photo by Randy LeBlanc, 11/2018

“O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good. His mercy endures.”  Psalm 107:1

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of year, but not just for the reminder to be grateful. I truly am thankful all year long. How could I not be? My life and my family are so very blessed.

Have I lived a perfect life? No. Of course not. Does anyone have a perfect life? We’ve had our share of disappointments through the years. But I’ve discovered disappointments can draw one closer to God, prove His faithfulness in all things, and grow my faith. Experiencing God’s faithfulness in disappointing situations gave me increased strength, stamina, and courage the next time my situation called for those characteristics.

The working title of my WIP (work in progress) is “Just About Perfect.” I chose that because even though we may glance at someone and think they “have it all together,” if we looked closer, perhaps we’d find layers of hurt, secrets, lies, heartache, fear, and maybe even guilt lying underneath the facade of perfectionism. Trusting God in both the good and the bad allows one to work through and overcome the disappointments in life.

In times of distress Romans 8:28 reminds me God is on his throne and is working even in this circumstance.

How have you experienced good coming from hard circumstances? Leave a comment.

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