NEWS: Upcoming and Current Giveaways and Discounts

Bonjour, dear readers!

We had a little bit of a technical difficulty sending out the bi-monthly newsletter this time, so we wanted to make sure those of you who normally receive my newsletter still got all the following updates.

In times like these, I’m so grateful for the reach available through social media and my blog to still spread the word about lovely opportunities. If you’re on Facebook and Instagram but you’re not following me yet, I’d love to invite you to follow me over there.

Now, without further ado, the letter that was meant to reach your inboxes this week:

Bonjour, dear Readers, and a special Bienvenue (Welcome) to those of you who have recently joined this group. I’m so glad you’re here.

And speaking of ‘here’, this is where I am perched at the moment: in my Writing Chalet that sits in the front yard of our home outside Lyon, France.

As many of you know, The Chalet is actually a tool shed that my husband put flooring and insulation in about 20 years ago, before ‘she sheds’ were even popular. This is where I escape to write when I’m home in France.

But many of you also know that ‘home’ for my husband, Paul, and me is now split between France (where we’ve lived for 35+ years) and the US (where we are delighted to be closer to family).

I am able to do both of my jobs (writing and pastoring missionaries, often via Zoom) in either country, but somehow I write better and more often when I’m in my Chalet. 

We arrived back in France on March 1, and spring is on the way! My daffodils and hyacinths are peeping their heads out to greet me. 

I’m in my happy place at my desk in the Chalet with a cup of tea in a favorite mug, a large piece of dark chocolate with almonds, the daffodils and hyacinths bringing sweet fragrance, and surrounded by photos of people I love as well as my laptop and other tools of the writing trade.

I’m working on the edits for my novel The Wren’s Nest, the fourth book in The Swan House Series (The Swan House, The Dwelling Place, The Promised Land) and set to come out in early 2024. I’ll be sharing more about this novel in the coming months.

Giveaway and Sales

But while I’m busy editing The Wren’s Nest, I’m happy to share with you a fun giveaway and a special sale.

Easter Giveaway:

During this Easter season, I am once again participating in our annual Easter Giveaway: Hope for Times Like These where I’ll be giving away ebook copies of Two Crosses. I’m honored to participate with 14 other Christian fiction authors who write stories of redemption and hope. This giveaway is open from March 17 through April 11, 2023.

Enter Here

I hope you’ll take advantage of this opportunity and perhaps be introduced to some new-to-you authors who pen inspirational stories.

The Dwelling Place Discount:

Finally, I’ll be offering a Kindle Countdown for The Dwelling Place from March 20-27. The ebook copy will begin at $0.99 and increase a little throughout the week, so jump in on this sale early! Here’s the link.

In my last letter, I shared a link to Biola University’s Advent Project. Now, during Lent, they are offering The Lent Project, a 53-day aesthetically guided meditation on Christ’s life, death, and resurrection using Scripture, art, music, and poetry. I hope it will be a blessing to you.

I’ll sign off for now. As always, I’m so grateful that you take the time to read this letter and my novels. I’ll simply end with this warning from one of my favorite sweatshirts that I found stashed away in a closet.

Big hugs!



Happy New Year/Bonne Année!

Dear Ones, Chers Amis,

2022 held for us some of the most poignant events in life: a birth and a death, celebrations of milestones, launching new things, spending time with family, enjoying beautiful places around the globe, sensing God’s presence through all the ups and downs of life. He doesn’t take away the hard, but He walks with us through the dark valleys and into the mountain highs.

2022 a marqué pour nous certains des événements les plus poignants de la vie : une naissance et un décès, des célébrations d’étapes importantes, le lancement de nouvelles choses, du temps passé en famille, profiter de beaux endroits à travers le monde, ressentir la présence de Dieu à travers tous les hauts et les bas de la vie. Notre Dieu n’enlève pas les moments durs, mais Il marche avec nous à travers les vallées sombres et dans les hauteurs des montagnes.

My beloved father passed away on February 9, 2022, and we’ve all been grieving him while remembering with great fondness and joy the blessing of my parents’ lives.

Mon père bien-aimé est décédé le 9 février 2022 et nous l’avons tous pleuré en nous souvenant avec beaucoup d’affection et de joie de la bénédiction de la vie de mes parents.

The family at my father’s graveside service.
La famille au service funéraire de mon père.

The Newlyweds
Les jeunes mariés

Shortly after Daddy passed away, as a tribute to him, we each picked out one of his ties to wear!

En hommage à Papa, nous avons chacun choisi une de ses cravates à porter !

To help us get used to a new normal without my father, the whole Goldsmith-Musser gang joined us in Flintstone for reminiscing, playing games, and enjoying a Christmas Eve meal, complete with the birthday cake for Jesus.

Pour nous aider à nous habituer à une nouvelle saison sans mon père, tout le gang Goldsmith-Musser nous a rejoint à Flintstone pour se remémorer, jouer à des jeux et profiter d’un repas de réveillon de Noël, avec le gâteau d’anniversaire pour Jésus.

Pure joy to have everyone at our home!
Pure joie d’avoir tout le monde chez nous !

We were thankful for special times this year shared with Paul’s mother, our beloved ‘Mamaw’, and many from the whole Musser tribe.

Nous étions reconnaissants pour les moments spéciaux partagés cette année avec la mère de Paul, notre bien-aimée ‘Mamaw’, et de nombreux membres de toute la tribu Musser.

Here are 15 of Mamaw’s 28 great grandkids (plus a few of the grandkids too).
Voici 15 des 28 arrière-petits-enfants de Mamaw (ainsi que quelques-uns des petits-enfants aussi).

As for the Paul Musser family: Andrew continues his work as an engineer with Loupe, working remotely, while Lacy home-schools, cares for the babies, and manages their tribe, plus the chickens, ducks, dog, bearded dragon, and pigs!

Quant à la famille Paul Musser : Andrew continue en tant qu’ingénieur avec Loupe, travaillant à distance, tandis que Lacy fait du ‘homeschooling’ pour Nadja et Quinn, s’occupe des bébés et gère leur tribu, ainsi que les poulets, les canards, le chien, le dragon barbu et les cochons !

Cori turned one on January 16, 2023. Cori a eu un an le 16 janvier 2023


It’s such a joy to get to spend lots of time with our grandkids!

Quelle joie de passer beaucoup de temps avec nos petits-enfants!

Chris graduated from Harvard University with his second master’s in Public Policy. He and Ashlee moved to Washington, D.C. this fall where he works as a consultant with BCG and Ashlee works as a consultant with WittKieffer.

Chris est diplômé de l’Université de Harvard avec sa deuxième maîtrise en politique publique. Lui et Ashlee ont déménagé à Washington, DC cet automne où il travaille comme consultant avec BCG et Ashlee travaille comme consultant avec WittKieffer.


Paul continues to manage a team of colleagues who serve in pastoral care for our workers around the world. I am fortunate to be part of this great team. Last August, Paul and I celebrated 40 years with One Collective, formerly called International Teams. What a privilege to be part of an organization whose goal is to bring people together to help the oppressed and point everyone to the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

Paul continue de gérer une équipe de collègues qui servent dans l’accompagnement pastorale de nos travailleurs à travers le monde. J’ai la chance de faire partie de cette belle équipe. En août dernier, Paul et moi avons fêté nos 40 ans avec One Collective, anciennement appelé International Teams. Quel privilège de faire partie d’une organisation dont le but est de rassembler des gens pour aider les opprimés et pointer tout le monde vers la grâce salvatrice de Jésus-Christ.

Yes, that’s us way back in 1984! Oui, c’est nous en 1984!

Also in August my 13th novel, By Way of the Moonlight, was published, and I enjoyed meeting readers at different speaking events during the fall. It has been especially poignant to have this story out as it is inspired by my mother’s life as a great equestrian and by my childhood home. You can find more about it here and see a video about that inspiration here.

Toujours en août, mon 13e roman, By Way of the Moonlight, a été publié. J’ai beaucoup apprecié de rencontrer des lecteurs lors de différents dédicaces au cours de l’automne. Cela a été particulièrement émouvant de publier cette histoire car elle s’inspire de la vie de ma mère en tant que grande cavalière et de la maison de mon enfance. Vous pouvez en savoir plus ici et voir une vidéo sur cette inspiration ici.

Speaking to book clubs is always a privilege and joy!
Parler aux clubs de lecture est toujours un privilège et une joie!
As well as sharing my story of faith and fiction with larger audiences.
En plus de partager mon histoire de foi et de fiction avec un public plus large.
The best is just getting to meet my readers in person.
Le mieux est juste de rencontrer mes lecteurs en personne.

Throughout the fall, my brothers and I, along with our spouses, have spent many hours going through many decades of memorabilia at our family home. I have found great joy in ‘redeeming’ many things from this home and bringing into our home in Flintstone, Georgia, like the ‘Truffula Tree’ that was in my parents’ bedroom suite.

Tout au long de l’automne, mes frères et moi, ainsi que nos conjoints, avons passé de nombreuses heures à parcourir plusieurs décennies de souvenirs dans notre maison familiale. J’ai trouvé une grande joie à «racheter» beaucoup de choses de cette maison et à apporter dans notre maison à Flintstone, en Géorgie, comme le «Truffula Tree» qui se trouvait dans la chambre à coucher de mes parents.

We were able to be ‘home’ in France last summer for a few months and enjoy visits from my brother’s family and Chris and Ashlee…

Nous avons pu rentrer «chez nous» en France l’été dernier pendant quelques mois et profiter des visites de la famille de mon frère et de Chris et Ashlee…

as well as travel to conferences in Europe with our One Collective workers … ainsi que nous rendre à des conférences en Europe avec nos collègues d’One Collective…

Paul and I are excited to return to France in March for a little while, and we hope to get to see many of you who live on that side of the ‘pond’ during that time!

Paul et moi sommes ravis de rentrer en France en mars pour un petit moment, et nous espérons voir beaucoup d’entre vous qui vivent de l’autre côté de l’océan pendant cette période !

We pray that you find hope and peace in 2023.

Nous prions pour que vous trouviez l’espoir et la paix en 2023.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Jesus, The Gospel of John, chapter 14, verse 27

“Je vous laisse la paix ; je vous donne ma paix. Je ne vous donne pas comme le monde donne. Ne laissez pas vos cœurs se troubler et n’ayez pas peur.” Jésus, L’évangile de Jean, chapitre 14, verset 27

Much love et gros bisous,

Elizabeth and Paul


Letters to the Lord: Sentimental Advent

Yesterday I was reflecting that I may be the most sentimental person in the world, Lord. And how important each item in my home is to me—or rather I reflected upon the significance of each piece of furniture in this, our Flintstone home. And I can only name two pieces of furniture, the wicker rocking chairs I purchased on sale at Ace Hardware, that I bought at full price. (Well, actually, I just admitted that even those were on sale!) But most of the furniture in our home came from family or consignment stores. And I like it that way. A lot.

I walk around this home, this gift to us, and everything holds a story of Your provision, Lord, and of the love of family and those who have passed on and so, by default, literally passed on their earthly goods to us.

It hits extra hard this Christmas, Lord, as it’s the first without Daddy. All the memories of years and decades past of Christmases at Nancy Creek, with Mom welcoming family and friends at parties and Daddy purchasing the latest fancy gadget which we’d unwrap on Christmas morn. Of me waking early to decorate the horses’ stalls with gifts and place apples and carrots in their stockings.

And now, those memories are here beside me—the felt stocking Mom made me that now hangs beside me in the sunroom, three angels, Merry Christmas, and Elizabeth lovingly glued into place.

The cross-stitched banner ‘The Goldsmiths’ hangs across the way in between the picture windows and ‘Chez Les Musser’ beside it. For 30+ years ‘The Goldsmiths’ hung in Mom and Dad’s foyer at Christmastime, welcoming all. I stitched it in France as a sleep-deprived young mom, and sent it home with love. I was always making gifts and little photo books that I could ship home inexpensively for family.

Then a few years later, I stitched one for our home in France.

The ornaments also tell stories, of course. The oldest ones made by Paul and me when we were mere kiddos.

And then all those precious ornaments gathered year by year for Chris at various places we traveled around the world. This will be the last year I have all of his ornaments, hanging on the small ‘ChrisMus Christmas tree=)’, the one that sits atop the little kids table and is adorned with his ornaments and those our grandkids have made for us. Next year Chris and Ashlee will have these ornaments to their little home in Washington D.C., and I will sob with delight at their sweet love and with sentimental heartache.

Andrew’s ornaments left 12 years ago when he married Lacy. Now when we’re at their house, the joy wells up when I see them, some in slightly used condition, hanging on their tree.

The wooden bird ornament is from Berea, KY circa 1994 and the little white bunny with the pink ribbon was the first ornament I bought for Andrew, circa 1988. Yes, a pink ribbon. We were starving seminary students and I distinctly remember this was the only ornament I could afford!

I smile at the Advent calendar that Mom sent us our first Christmas in France in 1989. Just this morning, Jesse, who spent the night with us, added the Velcro ornaments for December 9-13. The other grands had added 1-8 when they spent the night last week.

Our favorite Christmas books sit by Paul’s chair, where he meets with You every morning, Lord, and one of our many Christmas CDs plays on the CD player that was installed in our kitchen by the previous owners and was a wink to remind me of the way You love to provide for me, not only my needs, but my wants—music in the kitchen as I cook.

Now, of course, I can play music on my phone anywhere, but I love to get out the old CDs and put them in the player and sink back into memories and gratitude and joy.

Mamaw’s angels sit by the fireplace and her angels tapestry blinks across the room with Nadja’s angel (handmade when she was about 5) perched atop.

New to our décor this year are red cardinals. You know, Lord, how meaningful they were to me all during Daddy’s illness and after he passed away. How the real red cardinal greeted us noisily banging into the picture window at Nancy Creek multiple times a day as we grieved. He kept reminding me that You are with me and that You are caring for my loved ones who have gone before us.

My sweet daughter-in-law sent me a red cardinal ornament at the beginning of Advent to remind me of this. And when I brought out the wreath I had purchased last year, I gasped to see that there was a red cardinal on it. I had forgotten!

So many memories, Lord, so much goodness that You remind me of during Advent as I laugh and cry and remember. So many gifts of sentimentality surrounding me.

And of course, above and beyond my sentimentality at Advent, is the Greatest Gift, the One You gave, Baby Jesus, Your Son, the Word made flesh. Nothing compares to this indescribable gift. I feel You all around me and in me, reminding me of the wonder of Your love, Your gift.

And I think You must smile at my little ole sentimental heart which loves to surround myself and my loved ones and my home with memories.

ELIZABETH MUSSER writes ‘entertainment with a soul’ from her writing chalet—tool shed—outside Lyon, France (and sometimes at her childhood desk in Flintstone, Georgia). Find more about Elizabeth’s novels at www.elizabethmusser.com and on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and her blog, Letters to the Lord.


Letters to the Lord: Thanksgiving Bitter and Sweet

Lord, You know that I went into the Thanksgiving week with a good bit of tears. Both of our boys and their wives were spending the holiday with their in-laws and my mind was filled with last year’s memories when the whole Goldsmith crew was together in Atlanta.

It was such a happy, hopeful time, with Daddy having finished his radiation treatment and everyone enjoying his jokes and delight at having the whole ‘famdamly’ (as he put it) together. He was especially happy to have all the grandkids and great grandkids with him.

There was laughter and delicious food and lots and lots of photos.

With my brothers
He loved having the newlyweds (and his former roommate) back in town for a few days from Boston.

Everyone was entertained by wonderful little Lena and we were all eagerly anticipating Baby #5’s arrival, set for January.

There was the annual ultimate frisbee game with all the cousins participating and Daddy wearing his Georgia Tech stocking hat.

It was the ultimate joyful Thanksgiving. This holiday had always been the specialty of my parents. Family and friends and anyone who would otherwise be alone on Thanksgiving were invited to our home on Nancy Creek Road.

In fact, I had never spent a Thanksgiving in America without celebrating with my family. Paul’s family’s big celebration was usually at Christmas and the 4th of July.

But even as I anticipated a very hard first Thanksgiving without my beloved father, I was very excited that Paul and I were going to spend the week with his mother, our beloved ‘Mamaw’, in Louisville, KY.

And it was indeed wonderful.

Mamaw is one of the most delightful people in the world and the best ‘bonus mom’ I could have ever asked for. She’s also quite a cut-up, always filled with a combination of godly wisdom and fun.

On Friday, we drove with Mamaw to Cincinnati to celebrate with more of the Musser crew.

Two of my precious sisters-in-law
The younger Musser gals prepared the whole feast!

Ten of Mamaw’s twenty-six great-grands were present and eager to dress up as super heroes and listen to ‘Uncle Scot’ tell his tall tales.

And of course, we watched the World Cup soccer games. Go, France!

As with the Goldsmith gathering last year, there was much laughter and games and a few quiet conversations, sharing our hearts and hurts and joys.

And Mamaw, who has numerous health challenges, kept up with it all.

Our tummies and hearts were full of gratitude as we gathered together to honor our God and enjoy our extended family.

Our hosts, Joel and Nancy, with their five kids missed out on the above photo because they had already left for the in-laws’ Thanksgiving celebration!

Yes, I had some tears over the past week. I miss my father so much.

But Jesus showed us how to mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice. I love the many paradoxes in the Christian life, and I find that the bitter and the sweet of bittersweet perfectly describe how I’m navigating this year of ‘firsts’ without my father.

I am sure many of you are also living in those ‘bittersweet’ moments that celebrating the holidays without a loved one brings. My prayer is that you will feel the comfort and love of God’s family here on earth while cherishing the memories and looking forward to what is ‘not yet’.

ELIZABETH MUSSER writes ‘entertainment with a soul’ from her writing chalet—tool shed—outside Lyon, France (and sometimes at her childhood desk in Flintstone, Georgia). Find more about Elizabeth’s novels at www.elizabethmusser.com and on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and her blog, Letters to the Lord.


Letters to the Lord: He Who Guards Our Comings and Goings

September and October have been a blur of comings and goings for me. I’ve shared many times this verse from Psalm 121: “The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.”

Well, He has and here are a few photos to prove it!

I flew from Lyon, France to Chicago in early September to meet my wonderful retired editor and friend, LB Norton, and drive with her to St. Louis, MO for the American Christian Fiction Writers’ (ACFW) Conference.

With LB at the ACFW Conference with The Arch in the background
With dear friend and talented Women’s Fiction Novelist, Deborah Raney, at the conference awards banquet

I also had the joy of reconnecting with many other author friends.

The Bethany House/Baker Publishing Staff at the ACFW Conference
Perfect Fall Days in Flintstone
Home to Flintstone, GA where my copies of By Way of the Moonlight awaited me. The joy of holding a copy of my new novel never gets old!

The official Launch Party for By Way of the Moonlight was held at Wes and Anne French’s lovely home in Atlanta.

Complete with lots of memorabilia from my mother’s equestrian days
Book clubs are the best!
My brothers and sisters-in-law and Paul all join in the launch party fun. Can you find ‘winks’ to my brothers in the story?

It’s always a joy to be back at The Swan Coach House in Atlanta to sign books.

I’m grateful that the Coach House now carries copies of most all of my novels.

Then Paul and I joyfully reconnected with friends at my beloved childhood church, Second-Ponce de Leon Baptist, to share about our ministry and sign books

Late in September, I flew to Grand Rapids, Michigan to be with Lynn Austin, an award winning and bestselling author who I also call a great friend.

Here we’re in Holland, MI with Lake Michigan behind us
We spoke and signed copies of our novels at Baker Book House in Grand Rapids. This is the largest Christian Bookstore in the States!

My sweet cousin, Allene, organized a lovely luncheon and book signing at the Athens Country Club in Athens, GA.

With my cousins, Mary Jane and Allene, and my sister-in-law, Mary.
I’ve had such fun bringing a few of my mother’s championship ribbons to my signings!

And I had the privilege of speaking and signing books at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Fayetteville, GA. Paul’s sister, Janet, has attended this church for many years. She is serving the Lord in Kenya right now, but I did get to hug on her daughter, my niece, Leighanne!

I truly have enjoyed each and every one of these book events. As I say often, each time I sign a copy of one of my novels, it feels like I’m getting a hug from the Lord. And meeting my readers in person is such an encouragement and joy.

But the sweetest part of these past two months has been time with the Paul Alan Musser family. For two hours one Sunday, all eleven of us were together for lunch at a Cracker Barrel somewhere between Atlanta and Flintstone.

And having the grandkids here at our home–it doesn’t get sweeter than that!

ELIZABETH MUSSER writes ‘entertainment with a soul’ from her writing chalet—tool shed—outside Lyon, France (and sometimes at her childhood desk in Flintstone, Georgia). Find more about Elizabeth’s novels at www.elizabethmusser.com and on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and her blog, Letters to the Lord.


Letters to the Lord: The Truffula Tree and a Giveaway

Dear Lord, September was quite an event-filled month as I flew from France to the US to begin our six-month stay in the States. I will write about all my signings soon, but for now I’m back home in Flintstone, Georgia, and I let out a long sigh of relief and thanksgiving. Across the sunroom from me is a little nook that I call ‘Dr. Seuss meets Flintstone’. Do you remember the Truffula Trees from The Lorax?

Well, as my family is little by little cleaning out our my parents’ home on Nancy Creek Road (featured in By Way of the Moonlight and you can take a tour of the property here), I spent hours pruning and pampering the plants left in my parents’ lovely bathroom suite that had, ah-hem, been neglected for quite a while.

I was determined to bring them back to the sunroom we added onto our home in Flintstone last year. The sweet palmish-looking tree had suffered badly, and I had to cut off several dead branches. But I succeeded in saving it and somehow fitting it into my mom’s Tahoe, the Truffula Tree’s terra cotta pot laying on its side in the back end of the car with the tree’s top fronds tickling me as I drove two hours from Atlanta to Flintstone.

Moving the tree from Nancy Creek Road with my brothers’ help

First, I stopped in LaFayette, Georgia to hug Andrew and Lacy and their tribe. And Paul, for we’d been apart for the last week.

All the humans are here as well as Arthur, their beloved mutt, and we’re perched in various positions around their newly constructed tree house. Missing are the quail, chickens, rooster, ducks, cats, bearded dragon, and I’ve probably left out someone from the menagerie!

And now the Truffula Tree is making me so happy as I gaze across the sunroom and smile.

The wrought-iron fruit table came from my parents’ sunporch.

This is my life right now, Lord. Soon I’ll journal about the writers’ conference in St. Louis and the launch party for ‘Moonlight’ in Atlanta, and the other signings in Atlanta and Michigan, and so much more.

But today, all I want to do is gaze across the sunroom at my Truffula Tree and let all the bittersweetness of these past months well up. I have tears and a smile, because life is paradox. And the memories of this little tree in my parents’ bathroom suite are many, some so hard, Lord. But the hard is resurrected into the delightful, as You so often do. And I hold it tight to my chest and say, “Merci”.

And to you, my dear readers, I’m once again participating in this giveaway for inspirational fiction. Click here to enter (where you’ll receive all the instructions for multiple chances to win the books in the graphic below.)

Do you have a Truffula Tree in your life that makes you smile?

ELIZABETH MUSSER writes ‘entertainment with a soul’ from her writing chalet—tool shed—outside Lyon, France (and sometimes at her childhood desk in Flintstone, Georgia). Find more about Elizabeth’s novels at www.elizabethmusser.com and on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and her blog, Letters to the Lord.


Letters to the Lord: Hydrangeas

As I mentioned in the ministry update I shared last Tuesday, I enjoy meeting up with other writers at our missions’ conferences. In Germany, I had the opportunity to share in person with lovely Julia Kramer whom I welcome back today to the blog. Julia’s first children’s novel was publisher this past June. You can find it here. I’m so proud of her!

Julia is on the top step in the black Tshirt

I love hydrangeas. They bloom like crazy in Northern Spain. But in the corner of my little garden, which is best seen from the living room, the bush has only been producing leaves – for years. I tried a lot. Hoped for flowers every year. Said again and again: If it does not produce flowers next year it has to go! But then I couldn´t find any better plant for a shady place like that and it stayed.

And guess what? There are flowers this year! And in a nice color, too! Just like that! I take it as a gift from God and enjoy it. Every morning while reading my Bible and praying, I see those beautiful flowers in our green garden. Lavish blossoms. Abundant beauty. Not just three flowers, as hoped. A lot of them! I can even put some in the vase and decorate my home with it. Abundance of beauty. God is not stingy! He loves to make me happy and put a smile on my face. Why only now? I don’t know. But I gladly accept the gift!

For years I have also been waiting for fruits to appear in my life. But often I wanted it too much. Did it my way. Worked on my character. Did my To do list. Wanted to be busy and efficient. A lot was just a waste of energy. (And a learning progress of course.) But I don’t have to do more. I want to do the right thing at the right time. Let the Holy Spirit guide me. Live freely. But not in a way that allows me to do everything I want. Real freedom is only found in  following His Spirit. Even if it sounds paradox: Self-realization and freedom are not the same thing. I never feel as free as when I bathe in God’s presence and let my heart be filled with His love. And it seems to me that the volume of my heart can grow – at least for containing God’s love! My heart is big and happy now. And only the Holy Spirit can do that in me. I want to be expectant of what God wants to do in my life. How he wants to build his kingdom, also through me. Where I can join him in His work. He sends people my way and provides opportunities to learn new things. Stuff I didn’t plan. I want to follow His voice in my heart. His voice, that does not speak the same things to everyone. So now I’m learning Portuguese. Meet with women who just recently dropped into our church. Turn off the boiler to save energy. Visit and support other churches, make new contacts and revive old ones through my book sales. Talk to interesting people – big and little ones. I want to be driven by the Spirit and stay curious. Take my time to let my heart be soaked in grace and love. Which happens especially while reading my Bible. My heart soaks up His words of love like a dry sponge. And then it moves up to my face. I smile.

And it feels like I’m glowing. Or blooming like a hydrangea.

Will there be hard times? Certainly. But nothing can separate me from God’s love. Absolutely nothing.

Meanwhile we expectantly wait for a satisfying relationship with the Spirit.

(Galatians 5:5)

Live freely, animated and motivated by God´s Spirit.

What happens when we live God´s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard – things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.

(Galatians 5:16 and 22-23)

Hello, my name is Julia Kramer-Wiesgrill, and I am Austrian. I live in Hall in Tirol, in an ancient little town in the alps, but I was born near Vienna. My husband and I came here to work at a small church and help in different tasks. We have three teenagers (15,17,19) and are very proud of them! I love reading and writing, going for a walk in the woods by my own, and I love water (creeks, lakes, the sea). I also love cats, Earl Grey tea and chocolate. I really like to learn and it´s the same with my spiritual journey, where I´m not even close to the finish line yet. God is so much bigger than I know and his love for me so much deeper and profound than I can imagine. He is the one who gave a new identity to me. I am his beloved child, no matter what! In knowing this I become free and courageous, because he is the one standing behind me, covering my back. 

You are welcome to visit my blog! https://juliakramer-english.jimdofree.com/


The Last Eight Months

Bonjour, dear Ones,

Two weeks ago you heard about our forty-year milestone. (And yes, Paul was not exactly thrilled with the way I went on and on about meeting him, but he knows that he married a romantic…)

Finally it’s time for a way-overdue snapshot into our last eight months. If you’re on social media, some of this may be familiar, but it has indeed been quite some time since we sent out an update to this group of friends who care and pray for our ministries.

We are so thankful for your prayers and support, even when our communication is lacking.

The wide-angle view:

Our mission, One Collective, is all about bringing people together in communities all over the world to ensure that no one is invisible and that everyone has access to food, freedom, and forgiveness.

As we travel back and forth from France to the US and other places, we are immensely grateful for the flexibility our schedule allows us to connect with our workers wherever they and we may be. Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp, texts, Messenger, Facebook—so many different ways to connect. Sometimes those options make us feel crazy, but we thank the Lord that no matter where we are in the world, we can stay in touch with our workers. So you will often find us searching for an internet signal, using our phone as a hotspot, checking in late at night or early in the morning, depending on how many hours apart we are from the ones with whom we are talking.

Now for a zoom in:

Ten days after sending out our New Year’s letter, my sweet daddy passed away. Many of you know the great paradox of the sting of death for those of us left behind mixed with the real hope of eternity that my father now knows.

Daddy was always my biggest fan!

We as a family have wandered through the grief curve these past months, with Paul and me staying Stateside until the end of May.

In between the mind-numbing details of beginning to settle my father’s estate with my (much savvier) brothers, I was frequently reminded of the Lord’s presence with me, with us. One of the simplest ways was through a red cardinal who kept flying into the picture window in my father’s den for several months. You can read about that here.

Photo by Tina Nord on Pexels.com

During those months, we were thankful to help a little with the grandkids as Lacy slowly and courageously recovered from her pelvic misalignment.

At the end of May we were delighted to visit Chris and Ashlee in Boston and attend Chris’s graduation from the Harvard Kennedy School with a Master’s in Public Policy.

We then flew home to France and had a few days to settle in before welcoming my brother, Jere, and family for their first visit to see us in Lyon. What a treat!

Later in June we headed south to Greece, driving from Lyon to Ancona, Italy, and then riding the ferry across into Patras, Greece and on to Athens. There we had the immense pleasure of reconnecting in person with our ever-growing team who work among refugees, trafficked women, and the poor.

Then we drove to Eretria, Greece to attend our One Collective Conference for all of our workers who serve in closed countries. It was a special treat finally to be together in person after COVID required some changes in our timing.

Although for security reasons, we can’t show photos of our colleagues who work in closed countries, we can show you the above photo of the members of our Global Member Care Team (GMCT) who were present at the conference.

Soon it was time to pack our bags again for the Iteams/One Collective Conference for workers in Europe, again having been postponed because of COVID. We drove to the Schoenblick Conference Center, near Stuttgart, Germany and joined 100 other workers from all over Europe.

Worship is always a highlight of our conferences
I always enjoy spending time brainstorming with other writers in the mission. We’re from America, Austria, the Netherlands and Ecuador.

During those two conferences Paul and I were able to spend focused, face-to-face time with all the workers to whom we give pastoral care, sharing a meal, a walk on the beach or through the forest, times of prayer, laughter, tears, and hugs. We’re thankful for the conversations, the listening and praying, and, most of all, for God’s presence among us. Here are a few examples of subjects we covered:

~sitting with a new worker to a field in Europe who just learned of a friend’s suicide

~hugs and prayers with a long-time worker who learned of her mother’s death while she was at the conference.

~hearing about the loneliness some of our leaders feel as they sacrificially lead their teams.

~discussing major life issues–children’s education in a foreign land, caring for aging parents when you live half a world away from them, making decisions about moving to a new location for ministry which involves changing countries and learning yet another new language.

~listening to some of our single women workers who feel their biological clocks ticking and mourn the future they had dreamed of and may never have.

~concerns for the young adult Third Culture Kids (TCKs) who were raised on the mission field and now are making their lives away from their parents.

~questions about faith and doubting the call to ministry.

Often on our Zoom calls, we discuss similar topics, but how good it was to do this in person this summer!

Besides spending time one-on-one, we also enjoyed sharing and fellowship at night after all the worship and teaching sessions, workshops and outings.

Conferences also allow us the special privilege of spending time with our president, Scott Olson, to hear his heart and learn more about the present and future vision for One Collective. We are grateful for his wise leadership and heart for Jesus.

In Greece
In Germany

And there were several impromptu times of debriefing and prayer with the member care team (there were six of us in Greece and four of us in Germany) for several crises that arose during the conferences (not necessarily concerning workers present at the conference.) Paul manages this team of ten who provide pastoral care for the 220+ One Collective workers around the world. We are so grateful for these dear colleagues who share this privilege and responsibility with us.

Our colleagues on the GMCT have become dear and trusted friends and they are also a lot of fun! It was great to have a chance to hang out with them and relax after long days of listening, counseling, processing…

Our job all comes down to connection–making sure that our workers can share their stories and know that they are heard, that their concerns are kept confidential, and taken often to the Lord in prayer.

In the midst of the conference, my new novel, By Way of the Moonlight, was launched, an added privilege and stress! You can find out about that news here.

In between the two conferences, Chris and Ashlee joined us for a vacation in Greece and Italy. We often counsel our workers to take time away from work to truly rest. Sometimes we don’t follow our own advice very well, but this time we did, seeing beautiful scenery, taking long walks in God’s breath-taking countryside, and then coming home to our little village with the kids to enjoy summer in Rochetaillée, our little spot of paradise.

And now we’re heading back to the US for six months! We’ll be visiting our supporting churches, and I’ll be having some book signing events throughout the fall. This new season will doubtless be filled with joys and challenges: Time with friends and family and all those grandkids, yes, but also time at my father’s home in Atlanta, cleaning, making more decisions, going through a roller-coaster ride of emotions.

We often feel weak, but this past year has once again proven to us this beautiful truth: when we are weak, we are strong in Christ. Not because of our efforts, but because somehow in that wonderfully supernatural way, the Spirit blows through us and carries us and gives us the wherewithal to live one day at a time.

Thank you for continuing on this journey with us! Some of you have been a part of the ride for all forty years. Whether you just joined or have been with us for decades, we are humbled and grateful for the way the Lord provides for and encourages us through you!

We’ll leave you with a few prayer requests:


~ As we provide pastoral care to workers, please pray that we continue to improve in our listening skills, and that God’s heart and compassion would shine in every conversation.

~ Please pray that our strength and energy will be renewed this fall and that we will give ourselves grace as grieving and changes continue.

~ Join us in praying that God will guide the hearts and decisions of all our leaders: in the mission, in our churches, local and national leaders and beyond.

~ I’d appreciate prayer that By Way of the Moonlight would have all the impact God intends for it to have. We’ve been so encouraged by the positive response so far to this story of family, faith, love and loss, forgiveness and courage.

We send much love and hope to see many of you as we travel in the Southeast this fall!

Elizabeth and Paul


Letters to the Lord: Forty Years

Dear, dear Lord,

I cannot process this truth, but here it is: Forty years ago I stepped onto the campus of International Crusades to begin my short-term mission’s experience in France. Short term, Lord. Three years. And here I am, forty years later, still experiencing ministry in France.

I call that GRACE. Amazing grace, Lord. You called me, really intercepted my life, flipped me around, gave me a gentle shove, me who is such a home-body, who doesn’t like taking risks, who wants to do everything the right way.

Your Spirit blew through me at that Urbana ’81 Missions Conference, and I, who had come to that conference kicking and screaming, felt the tears on my face as I said, “Yes!”

I was terrified on that first day on the campus of International Crusades, which became International Teams, which became ITeams, which became One Collective. What in the world had I gotten myself into? I didn’t feel qualified in any way. Just a recent college grad with a head full of French and English literature and a passion for writing and Jesus.

But there I was.

And there HE was.

Because, Lord, I know You remember the moment I walked into the suburban house in a suburb of Chicago and met the ‘nice Christian nerd’ single guy who would be on my team with me for three years. (After all, what kind of guy would head to the mission field after college?)

But I was wrong, Lord. The guy standing in front of me in nothing but a pair of worn cut-off jeans was not nerdy. He was, well, a very beautiful example of manhood. And his eyes! Hazel, kind with a hint of surprise and tease in them.

And my little ole romantic spirit said, “I think I’ve just met my husband!”

Thankfully, I didn’t say it out loud. But I felt it in that wonder-filled, what-in-the-world-are-you-up-to-Lord way. And I said to You, “I did not plan on him! I came to serve YOU, Lord. And here is this very big distraction!”

August 23, 1982 was a game-changer for me, Lord. Of course, I didn’t know it, had no idea that almost 3 years to the day later, I would marry that hazel-eyed handsome human. That he would be exceedingly above all that I had imagined and prayed for. (And I sure could imagine and pray back then!)

I didn’t know that we would choose to serve You as career missionaries, helping the French begin churches, learning to love a different culture and people, raising our boys in France, and staying in France after they flew the nest, and eventually having the immense privilege of serving our colleagues scattered around the world in pastoral care.

We didn’t know You would hold us and keep us and provide for us and use us. We didn’t know.

I didn’t know.

But I did know that I had said Yes to You, albeit with great fear and trembling, at that conference. And I knew that I trusted You to keep me, one day at a time. I knew You are a God who keeps Your promises and I clung to that marvelous Psalm 121.

 I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to slip;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun will not smite you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
The Lord will protect you from all evil;
He will keep your soul.
The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in
From this time forth and forever.

And the wonder of it all is that I’m still here. We’re still here. Serving You in our oh-so-human way, bumbling and stumbling, and letting You pick us back up and dust us off again and again as we hold onto each other and You. As day by day, year by year, we learn more about Your strength in our weakness and Your grace being sufficient.

At our recent missions’ conference in Germany, Paul and I were shocked and incredibly honored to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from our President, Scott Olson.

I never ever expected still to be with this mission with this man in this country.

But You are a God who delights in surprising Your children with good, good gifts. Oh, it hasn’t been without multiple times of thinking I might slide off into despair, tuck my tail and go running back somewhere, anywhere, as the words ‘Failure!” and “Not good enough!” pursued me.

But You hold us forever, You won’t let Satan or our own selfishness or self-pity or sinfulness snatch us from Your hand.

You have kept me, kept us. For forty excruciatingly beautiful, heart-breaking, heart-warming, painful, productive, glorious years.

And what I say today, down on my knees, weeping with gratitude to the great God I love and serve, is simply, “Merci.”

ELIZABETH MUSSER writes ‘entertainment with a soul’ from her writing chalet—tool shed—outside Lyon, France. Find more about Elizabeth’s novels at www.elizabethmusser.com and on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and her blog, Letters to the Lord.


Letters to the Lord: A Bestseller List, an Interview, and A Giveaway

Dear Readers,

I so appreciate all of your enthusiasm for and reviews and photos of ‘Moonlight’! I heard from my publicist a few days ago that ‘Moonlight’ was on the Parable Group’s Bestseller List for last week. That felt like a big hug from the Lord! This lists the top 50 selling items (books, media, music, etc) in Christian bookstores.

The Parable Group

National 50 Top Selling All Products – by Qty
Rank Title Author (Publisher) Category
1 Strong in Battle: Why the Humble Will Prevail Larson, Susie (Baker Publishing Group) Christian Living
2 Worried about Everything Because I Pray about Nothing Veach, Chad (Baker Publishing Group)
3 Chase the Fun: 100 Days to Discover Fun Right Where You A Dreowns, Annie F. (Baker Publishing Group) Theology
4 Adventure Bible, NIV Richards, Lawrence O. (Zondervan) Kids
5 The Apple Creek Announcement: Volume 3 Brunstetter, Wanda E. (Barbour Publishing)
6 KJV Standard Lesson Commentary(r) Large Print Edition Standard Publishing (David C Cook)
Christian Education
7 By Way of the Moonlight Musser, Elizabeth (Baker Publishing Group)
General Contemporary

8 After the Rapture: An End Times Guide to Survival Jeremiah, David (Thomas Nelson Publishers)

9 Jesus Listens: Daily Devotional Prayers of Peace, Joy, and Hope (the New 365-Day Prayer Book)
Young, Sarah (Thomas Nelson Publishers)
Christian Living …

As you continue to share about ‘Moonlight’, the word is getting out!

Also, please check out my interview (and a Giveaway) on Inspirational Historical Fiction Index in which I share about inspiration for the novel as well as some of my favorite historical fiction and dual time novels. Even if you already have a copy of the novel, I’d encourage you to enter the contest. If you win, you could gift a copy to a friend or to your local library or church library. You can read the interview and enter the giveaway here.

Lastly, here are a few fun photos of you with the novel!

I am humbled and grateful.

Thank you, Merci, and Happy Reading!


ELIZABETH MUSSER writes ‘entertainment with a soul’ from her writing chalet—tool shed—outside Lyon, France. Find more about Elizabeth’s novels at www.elizabethmusser.com and on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and her blog, Letters to the Lord.


Letters to the Lord: Release Day!


Today’s Release Day for my new novel, and yes, it’s true: By Way of the Moonlight was chosen as A Publishers Weekly Top 10 Religion and Spirituality Book for Fall 2022!

I was shocked and thrilled and humbled and grateful. We authors know that even though there are lots of new ways to do it, the old-fashioned ‘word of mouth’ is still the best marketing tool—that is, having readers who have enjoyed the book share about it with friends, in person, on social media, in a book club etc. I’m super thankful and excited that the editors at Publishers Weekly have used their ‘word of mouth’ to tell others about By Way of the Moonlight.

This is how I feel about it (yes, I’m in my bathing suit and all the grass in the yard has died because it has been in the upper 90s over here. And we have mosquitoes. Lots of mosquitoes.)

Right now I’m sharing a few photos from our summer travels. As many of you know, Paul and I provide pastoral care for our mission, One Collective. This summer we’ve attended two conferences in Europe, both postponed several times because of Covid. The first was in Greece where we met with our colleagues from around the world for a time of fellowship, teaching, and encouragement.

The view from our hotel room. Yes, there are definitely perks to this ministry life!
We even had a baptism in the Mediterranean!

Then Paul and I had the joy of welcoming newlyweds Chris and Ashlee to join us on a week-long road trip through Greece, on a ferry, and into Italy (yes, we drove to and from Greece in our car!)

Lefkada Island

Sunset on the ferry ride across the Ionian Sea.
Cinque Terre
We all felt revived, restored, and spoiled rotten.

While Chris and Ashlee were hiking one last trail in Cinque Terre (I’d already hiked with them that morning), I sat on my little balcony overlooking the Mediterranean and read a Mary Higgins Clark novel that I had found at our Airbnb.

Back in the 90s, as a young missionary, mother, and wannabe writer, I would read Mary Higgins Clark mysteries in French. They were quick, clean (if at times a bit psycho) reads, filled with suspense, and reading in French helped me with my vocabulary. That was my escape.

So I was tickled to find Daddy’s Little Girl on the bookshelf in Vernazza, Italy! I didn’t finish it on the trip but persuaded the lovely hostess to let me take it with me! 

All during my childhood (Nancy Drew), youth (Mary Stewart and Agatha Christie), and young adulthood (Mary Higgins Clark), I was enthralled with mysteries. I think that’s why I love to incorporate mystery into my novels. I don’t have the brain power to write crime or real suspense, but I love to put little hints in the novels, and By Way of the Moonlight has several mysteries and twists that even I didn’t see coming when I first started writing the story!

As you are reading this, I’m at another conference, this time in Germany with our colleagues from all over Europe. But to you, my dear readers, I want to say MERCI for taking the time to read this newsletter and for taking even more time to read my novels. I so, so, so hope you will enjoy By Way of the Moonlight!

By Way of the Moonlight Virtual Tour is right here. All fifteen videos are included! And if you’re looking for ways to share these with friends, you can point people toward my Instagram Reels, the Facebook Playlist, or (this is new!) my YouTube channel.

Lastly, if you don’t mind helping me share the good news, By Way of the Moonlight was selected for Publishers Weekly’s Top Ten list for the Fall!

Thanks for joining me on this journey! I’m thrilled this book is finally available for all of you!


Good News, Bad News, and Amazing News

In an unexpected twist of events, you all did such an amazing job helping to spread the word about my new book and preordering from Baker that we ran out of signed book plates and we won’t be able to get more before the books are shipped out on release day.

So, thank you all for helping spread the word! Sadly, this does mean that some of you won’t end up with the signed copy. But you still get the discount and free shipping if you preordered, and your books will all arrive on time. However, if you’re in the Atlanta area, I will be having a book signing (location and time TBD) and I’d love to see you there and sign your copy the old fashioned way.

In more fun news, I wanted to let you know that you can now download and print out the discussion questions from An Open Book! There are discussion questions printed in the back of the book, so this won’t be vital if you’re reading with your book club in person, but if you’re reading an ebook copy or want to keep from flipping back and forth, this link will help you out.

And lastly, I wanted to let you all know of one other amazing thing that happened this week–Publisher’s Weekly selected By Way of the Moonlight as one of their top ten books of fall! They only release a list like this twice a year, and mine is the only novel on this list. I’m incredibly honored and still processing what this could mean.

Thank you all for walking this path with me!

I’m praying that your summer is filled with sunshine and time to rest and read a good book.


ELIZABETH MUSSER writes ‘entertainment with a soul’ from her writing chalet—tool shed—outside Lyon, France. Find more about Elizabeth’s novels at www.elizabethmusser.com and on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and her blog, Letters to the Lord.