Susan Jane King

Thriving with Jesus in life's ongoing challenges

It’s a Dog’s Life

Grace Henry and David

My husband David with Henry and Grace

We currently have 3 big dogs in our house. Grace, a mellow golden retriever, belongs to us. Henry, a feisty and cuddly Vizsla, belongs to one of our daughters, who is living at home for a season. Lexie, an affectionate and happy mixed breed, belongs to another daughter and her husband, who are away on vacation this week. Watching these dogs has been amusing and insightful. They have taught me a great deal about how we are to relate to our Master, our heavenly Father who loves and cares for us.


Whenever we have to leave the house, even for just a short amount of time, we are greeted by some extremely joyful dogs when we return. Each one of them barks loudly with excitement, and they literally jump for joy, trying to get as close to us as possible. They run around the room in exhilaration, disappearing for a few minutes, only to return with a precious toy or bone, which they lovingly lay at our feet.

In the same way, the Lord is our delight. In His presence is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11, NASB). Our greatest pleasure and gladness are meant to be found in Him (Psalm 16:11; 21:6, NASB). The more we know the Lord, the more we have to be excited about.


Over time, these dogs have learned to trust us. They come when we call them, and they sit and stay when we give them that command. They feel so relaxed and safe with us that each one of them will sleep on their back with their vulnerable underbelly exposed. Our presence and our home give them a sense of security.

We can trust in the Lord’s lovingkindness (Psalm 13:5, NASB). “And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, for You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You” (Psalm 9:10, NASB). We are safe, protected, and loved by the Lord, so much so that even our most vulnerable places are secure with Him. We can do what He says because we trust His love toward us.


Lexie sitting at my feet


Our dogs love to be near us. As I am writing this blog, Lexie is curled up at my feet. Henry is on the sunroom couch with his head in the lap of his “mama,” my daughter. Grace is smiling in the corner, next to the kitchen table where my husband David is sitting. Wherever we go in the house, we usually have one of the dogs trailing us and remaining in that location. When you love someone, you just want to be close to them.

When we love the Lord, we just want to be close to Him. We want to hear Him in His Word, meet with Him in prayer, see Him in His people, and feel Him in our hearts. He promises that seeking after Him will lead to greater intimacy with Him (Jeremiah 29:13). That’s something we can all aspire to. When it comes to our relationship with Jesus, we can all aim to have a dog’s life.

Question: How have you seen God’s hand in nature? Comment at the link below.

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Susan Jane King

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Lessons from the Blueberry Patch


It’s blueberry season, and we are harvesting blueberries from the blueberry patch at our home. As I have spent time plucking these blue jewels off my bushes the past several weeks, I have been reflecting on the many spiritual lessons found in my little blueberry patch:

Fruit comes from the root.

The reason our blueberry bushes can produce such an abundant harvest this year is that our bushes finally have a strong root system after many years of growth. Droughts have forced the roots to dig deep into the soil. Rains have nurtured and strengthened the root system. The passing seasons have fashioned a strong foundation of roots to support the bushes and produce their fruit.

We experience a similar development in our spiritual lives. Any spiritual fruit—any product of our lives that honors God, serves Him, and accomplishes His divine purposes—comes from our relationship with Him. The Lord produces the fruit after we sink our roots deep into the soil of His love and grace. The trials in our lives give us the opportunity to dig deeper in our relationship with the Lord, to seek Him more and to choose to believe and obey Him, to rely on His power and not our own. The water of His Word (Ephesians 5:26) helps our relationship with the Lord to grow and thrive. Choosing to walk with Him over time creates strong roots that produce bountiful fruit.

Fruit takes time.

Blueberry bushes do not produce fruit for several years. In fact, it took our bushes 3 years to yield their first bumper crop. Most blueberry bushes require 2 to 3 years before they are mature and established enough to bear fruit. Horticulturalists even recommend pulling off any flowers that appear on the bushes during the first one or two growing seasons, to encourage the blueberry bushes to concentrate their growth on the foliage and root systems. In other words, don’t rush the fruit-bearing!

In a spiritual sense, the Lord takes us through certain seasons in life where He is doing something that will produce fruit at a later time. The foundational growth, development, and maturing help ensure strong and abundant fruit later. Occasionally, when I am picking blueberries, I pull off a green berry that is not yet mature. That fruit isn’t as good as it could have been if I had left it on the branch to continue to grow. I don’t want to rush what the Lord is doing in my life. I want whatever fruit He is producing to be the mature fruit He intended.

There are different types of fruit.

Blueberries come in many different varieties. We have big fat blueberries on some of our bushes and tiny, sweet blueberries on others. We are almost finished harvesting the plumpest berries, while the small berries are still maturing on the branches. We took the advice of the county extension office and planted two varieties of blueberries in our patch so they could cross-pollinate one another and produce these two different harvests.

In the same way, the Lord works in each of our lives to produce different kinds of fruit. We are different in the body of Christ, and the Lord intended it that way. Each of us is necessary and important, and He uses us to bless and encourage one another. We help one another to grow and thrive (1 Corinthians 12). We should allow Him to produce the fruit He desires and not think that our fruit should be like anyone else’s. It is simply a blessing to be growing in His garden.

Question: How have you experienced the Lord growing fruit in your life? Comment at the link below.

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Susan Jane King

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Why a Heroine with Borderline Autism?

abnormal results

Powerful. Riveting. And the main character has autism. My author friend Kimberly Rae has just released a new book entitled Abnormal Results. As the parent of autistic child, I am so impressed by how accurately Kimberly portrays the world of autism. I fell in love with the main character Victoria and found myself cheering her on as she coped with the many challenges she encountered through her autistic-like qualities. Everything was so familiar to what our family has encountered. This book opens the door to the world of autism and gives a hopeful glimpse into those hearts of those who struggle with it. Parents of autistic children and others impacted by autism would benefit greatly from reading Abnormal Results. I am certain anyone who reads it would discover as I did that “abnormal” means the Lord is doing something way beyond what we could ever imagine!

I asked Kimberly to write a guest blog post so you could learn more about her book. Check it out:

Why a Heroine with Borderline Autism?

It sounds strange when an author says one of their characters took on a life of their own, but that’s exactly what happened with Victoria Dane in my new Young Adult novel, Abnormal Results. Not only did she surprise me as a person, she completely took over the story, so much so that I ended up writing the entire book from her perspective.

Victoria is borderline autistic. Autism was not in my plan for Abnormal Results. Originally, the story was meant to be about four really close friends, and how the friendships changed when one of them got cancer. I got this idea for the cover of four ducks in a row with one of the ducks being knocked over. Though readers let me know the cover idea was too juvenile for a teen book, the ducks in a row stuck with me and I decided I wanted to incorporate the actual ducks, not just the concept, into the story.

ducks in a row

Suddenly Victoria, the closest friend of the boy who gets leukemia, took over. They were her ducks, and they represented her friendships and even her world. She kept them in a perfect line on her windowsill, and as long as they stayed exactly where they should be, she felt safe.

The prevalence of autism in U.S. children increased by 119.4% from 2000 to 2010. (CDC, 2014) Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability (CDC, 2008), and that’s just referring to those officially diagnosed. What about all the kids who aren’t official, but have many of the same needs and struggles?

And what happens when those children become teenagers? I wanted to imagine how the regular angst of teenage life, of relationships changing and people changing, would be to a kid with special needs.

Again, Victoria surprised me. She feels different, “abnormal” as she likes to say, and clings to her few few friends who make her feel accepted and safe. When Chad, her best friend, gets cancer, and then the other two of the four drift away, Victoria feels alone. But a teacher has been driving home the point that “The right choice is not always the safe one,” and Victoria takes it to heart. She decides to reach out to another kid the same way Chad once reached out to her. In doing so she starts a chain reaction and learns that being abnormal is a lot more normal than she ever thought. She finds that all of the kids around her have something about them that they feel is different or unacceptable. She starts facing her own fears and finding she is stronger than she ever knew.

The book was meant to be about cancer, but it has become a larger message: that life sometimes hits you with hard things (cancer, autism, school violence) but what matters is how you face it and whether or not you overcome.

I’m glad Victoria took over my book. I wish I’d known her in high school when I was insecure! I hope teen readers will find her a fun new friend, who might just help them accept themselves more, to be proud of who they are, and to brave doing more than they think they can.


Excerpt from Abnormal Results:



I haven’t been entirely honest with you about the ducks, or my friends, or me for that matter. The truth is I’m not fifteen. I forget sometimes and really think I am, until someone asks why I’m the only one in my class with a driver’s license. I’m not supposed to be in the same grade as the other dorks. And I’m not what most people would call normal.

After my first year of kindergarten, some people decided I needed testing. I remember hearing whispered words, technical terms like Autism and Asperger’s , but in the end the important people diagnosed that I didn’t quite have either. I just really, really liked things to be in order.

My need for structure and routine was labeled as “significant” by the experts, who told my parents first grade would be too much for me and I’d be better off going through kindergarten a second time. Who fails kindergarten? They said I was “developmentally challenged” and it would help me to learn how to adapt to free play and other things that were hard for me because they weren’t structured. I don’t remember having a hard time during free play, but it seems the experts did not think that my arranging all the blocks in perfect lines according to color and shape was healthy.

I need things to be in order. Like ducks in a row. We joke in our family about mom always asking that when we leave the house, but I know it is our secret code, just between her and me. She’s asking if everything is in order. If I’m okay, and things are as they should be, so we can leave the house without me…I don’t know, panicking I guess. She says when I was little if I was putting my toys in perfect rows and we had to leave the house before I’d finished, I would start screaming.

I don’t scream when things aren’t orderly anymore. Not on the outside anyway. That’s almost entirely due to Mom’s unending patience, and my friends, the dorks. That second year in kindergarten, Chad and Dan and Alecia befriended me and stuck with me that entire year. They showed me how to play with the other kids instead of sitting at my desk arranging pencils through recess. They taught me how to act normal enough that I didn’t scare my classmates away.

Chad would practice phrases with me for hours, having me repeat them with the right intonation so I would sound warm and friendly.

“Good morning. How are you?”

“I’m fine. How are you?”

“See you later.”

“Have a nice day.”

Dan taught me to throw and catch a ball. And his laugh was so contagious, I learned to laugh just from being around him.

Alecia brushed and braided my hair, kept my shoes tied, and kept me close to her when other girls came around. She knew how to talk and make friends, and when I was with her, people accepted me.

With them, I was safe. The dorks didn’t care that I was a year behind. Over time I stopped caring too. I wanted it to stay that way forever.

Thinking of things changing makes me scream on the inside.



You can order autographed copies (signed to the kids you love!) at



Kimberly Rae lived in Bangladesh, Uganda, Kosovo and Indonesia before Addison’s Disease brought her permanently back to the U.S. Rae has been published over 300 times and has work in 5 languages. Her suspense/romance novels on international human trafficking (Stolen Woman, Stolen Child, and Stolen Future) are all Amazon bestsellers. Find out more or order autographed books at