Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Blinded


We all have our quirks. Some of us have bigger quirks than others. 



Photo Courtesy

The apostle Paul was given one. He called it a thorn. Many Biblical scholars feel Paul's issue was a vision one. He asked God to take the thorn away thinking he could better serve the Lord. I'm convinced that was why he asked...because at that time he was devoted to serving Jesus. 

But, God said no. He said, "My grace is sufficient."




Change gears for just a moment--


A first grade me started the school year late. I had eye surgery and had caught pneumonia while in the hospital. After missing most of Kindergarten, I barely knew the kids. The eye doctor made me wear a patch over my good eye. Let me tell you, this was not a great way to make friends and influence first graders.

I remember vividly standing in the hall and hanging my jacket in the locker. I fiddled with things trying to kill time. I didn't want to go in the classroom. What exactly I would do instead was as illusive to me then as it still is today. I don't know. Maybe I thought I would sneak back home.

The bell rang. All the kids filtered into the classroom. The teacher wasn't standing at the door encouraging kids to come in. She must have had something to do in the room.

I felt lost. Embarrassed. I didn't want the kids to laugh at me. I wanted to be anywhere except there. 

The classroom door opened. The teacher came into the hall and walked to me. She softly placed one hand on my shoulder and invited me into the room. I said I didn't want to go. The kids will laugh at me.

I don't know what she said next but I did what she said and walked into the room with her. 

What I do remember is the kids did not laugh at me. They looked, but they didn't laugh.

I also remember that the teacher did not make a big deal about the patch...at least in my presence.

After that...first grade went well. Nothing else stands out in my mind. No tripping on the playground. No bullies teasing me about the patch. 

I had asked Jesus into my heart the year before. This may have had no influence on the outcome of that first grade day because God does give rain to the righteous and the unrighteous. What I do know is that Jesus loved me and helped me to not run away that day. It was a tough moment for a six-year-old and God was there the whole time. 


So now let's return to the Apostle Paul.  He had a tough time too. One day he was on the road to Damascus, ready to kill all the Christians he could find. He had a letter granting him permission. But on the road, a bright light blinded him. He heard a voice saying, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?"

God had a conversation with Saul. A powerful one that changed Saul's life and name. God did not leave Saul to fend for himself. Saul, now Paul had men lead him to Damascus to a specific place to meet a certain man who would help him.

God places people in our lives to help us through tough moments. Any tough moment. God  loves us so much. 

So very much.

This post has been brought to you by the one-word: Godwillneverleaveus

Friday, May 20, 2016

Fabulous Friday with Julie Fugate-Overwhelmed With the Stories




Today we welcome author:
Julie Fugate

A commenter will win a copy of
Julie's book:
Betrayal
International readers invited to enter!

Scroll down to see how.


Mary here. I'm so happy to welcome Julie to Let's Talk. I only met her a short while ago, but in that time, I've seen a gifted writer who rode through troubled and found herself overwhelmed with the stories on the other side. I asked Julie: how has God led you on your writing journey? Here is what she said: 

Overwhelmed With the Stories


Thank you, Mary Vee, for having me.

I’ve been very blessed in many ways throughout my life. I found a real and living God at a very young age due to a few teens that lived on my street. These girls would walk with me to a small church not far from where my family lived. It was there that I came to know God was with me everywhere I went because Jesus had become my friend.

I’ve been writing as a hobby since I was a child. I'd tell tall-tales to my twin sisters or write down adventures about my pets. My father would hand write stories for me in notebooks, which I still have to this day. Fast forward over the years, and I’d written sporadically here and there for fun.

At one point God spoke to my heart and told me to prepare myself. I knew hardship would be coming my way. My only request to God, whatever the hardship, that it only fall upon me and not my loved ones. In 2010 I noticed a decline in my overall health. I’d become too weak to exercise and my joints would swell. I’d have varied daily pain, difficulty walking, and skin sensitivity that caused me pain with a mere touch. I’d been given a generic diagnosis of “inflammatory disease” since they weren’t able to verify any other reason for my symptoms, and I stepped down from my volunteer duties of being a Children’s Church Leader and CASA (court appointed special advocate) for children.

By 2012, my chest pain was so bad I had to sleep sitting up, and was unable to cough or sneeze.  At times, my husband would awaken me at night stating I had stopped breathing. I would on occasion use those electric carts or a wheelchair, but sometimes even walking from my car to the door of my home was a chore. I remember being stuck on the following bible verses:

Psalm 143:
Hear my prayer, O Lord;
give ear to my pleas for mercy!
In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness!
Enter not into judgment with your servant,
for no one living is righteous before you.
For the enemy has pursued my soul;
he has crushed my life to the ground;
he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead.
Therefore my spirit faints within me;
my heart within me is appalled.
I remember the days of old;
I meditate on all that you have done;
I ponder the work of your hands.
I stretch out my hands to you;
my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.

At this point, I knew a touch from God was my only chance. The Lord would speak to my heart concerning the Holy Spirit. God told me how it was a source of power and that I didn’t need to fully understand it to accept it.  He wanted me to trust him. I didn’t know what was to come, but my plan was to get special prayer for healing the next Sunday. I told God that I was okay in his decision to either heal me or not. My love and relationship with him could never be changed even if that meant death loomed near.   

The church had a special Minister that day from Kentucky. Concern nagged me. Already, my day wasn’t going as planned, but I was quick to realize that she was a sweet and wonderful woman of God. In the afternoon service, when I went up for prayer, the special Minister stated that she didn’t know what was wrong with me, that no one had said, but it was my night.  She prayed over me along with others in the church. While I had no more words to express what I needed, I could feel the Holy Spirit wash over me. All I could do was praise him.

Psalm 150:

Praise the Lord!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens!
Praise him for his mighty deeds;
praise him according to his excellent greatness!
Praise him with trumpet sound;
praise him with lute and harp!
Praise him with tambourine and dance;
praise him with strings and pipe!
Praise him with sounding cymbals;
praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!

That same night, the deep aching pain in my chest—gone, and the strength in my legs returned. I no longer had to sleep sitting up; I no longer groaned in pain at night. The little things, like my husband, son, nieces, and nephew being able to hug me again, without causing pain, brought me great joy. Tests came back showing amazing improvements. God had healed me!

Philippians 4:
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 

I began to give consideration to the fact I’d never followed my dream to be published. So I prayed that if God would see fit to grant this desire with the additional life he’d given me, to let me know. Suddenly I found myself sleeping, eating, dreaming . . . overwhelmed with the stories in my head. I had no choice but to push myself by writing every day. In 2013 I joined the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). The ACFW is a wonderful organization that helped me immensely with free classes, critique groups, local groups, and a yearly conference. My head still spins as I think about what I learned (action beats, adverbs, white space, and showing vs. telling, etc.) Every spare moment I wrote and re-wrote. The first conference I attended that same year I had some interest from a small publisher and agent. The positive feedback and encouragement bolstered my confidence.

Also that year I participated in NaNoWriMo which challenges authors and writers of all levels to write 50,000 words in one month. I'd been writing contemporary stories but wanted to start a new project. I picked a fun concept that had been rattling around in my head. All the angel books I'd read at that time had very little Biblical Realism to them and kept God out of the picture completely. I wanted to write about teens, angels, and human-angel hybrids where God was involved. Include some real life application about how to connect with God and make it clear everyone has choices no matter their backgrounds or circumstances. Out of that, Kings of Renown, Betrayal was born.

2014 was all about improving my writing. I found a permanent critique group I trust with writing and life. I discovered I wasn’t writing Christian fiction but Inspirational fiction since my stories dealt with life’s harder themes yet still had religious elements. I’ll always be learning and growing as a Writer and a Believer. Writing wasn’t about me, but a way to provide readers entertainment and hope through Christ if they face dark circumstances.

In 2015, I had prepped Query’s and a Proposal to start sending and see if anyone was interested in Kings of Renown. At that same time I participated in a YARWA online party, which is where I met Stephanie, the owner of Clean Reads Publishing. She asked for a copy of my story then asked me to join her family of authors. My first book, Kings of Renown, Betrayal, was published in November, 2015. 

I’m thankful that I always have the support of my family and God during this crazy journey I’ve begun. No matter what I write, I hope readers enjoy the stories and remember there is real hope through Jesus to overcome all the dark shadows in their lives.

Love and prayers,

Julie Fugate
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JULIE FUGATE writes young adult fiction where danger, suspense, romance and God collide. Her nicknames include Jay, Juju, Jules, Lizzie and Julio. A tomboy and girly-girl all wrapped into one. Growing up she would spend one hundred percent of her meager allowance on books. You could find her in the library, the porch swing, or in her room reading and listening to music. She fights off two German Shepherds and a snarky Maltese who try to take over her keyboard when she's writing.    



Julie loves to connect with readers.
You can find her at her:
  

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BETRAYAL
A seraphim angel joins the fallen and uses his abilities to enhance the human race. After re-pledging his allegiance to God, centuries later his mission collides with the lives of three human-angel hybrid teens.
High school outcast Tara Cox hates her career criminal dad. Despite her reluctance,she's as talented at deception and secrecy as him. When new friends, including the guy she has a crush on, shows her kindness, she dreams of a different life that doesnt involve violence and solitude.
Sixteen-year-old Inara Mason desires to break away from her controlling dad. She develops a supernatural bond with a real angel who shows her monstrous mermaids and offers the illusion of love.


Former juvenile delinquent Leo Price struggles with the stigma of being a killer and keeping his love for Inara secret. He takes comfort in his dedication to God and the support of his mentor, Inaras father. As evil closes in, they will fight for their lives, love, and the future of their souls.
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Enter the contest to win Julie's book:
Betrayal
International and US readers invited to enter!!
If International, winner will receive an eBook

Here is how:

1. Leave a comment (and email address)

2. AND sign up to receive my newsletter -in the right column

    (subscribers to Mary Vee's newsletter will receive a special gift)

    AND/OR sign up to receive posts by email if you aren't already



Thank you, Julie, for joining us this weekend!



We enjoy chatting with you, Reader, and look forward to reading your comments and questions. Or at least your hi, hello, or hey.


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