Monday, March 31, 2014

And Then We Hear About...




Just when we think our lives are overwhelming. 


Overworked.


Stressed.


Burdened.





God allows us to catch a fantastic story in the news.

Yup. It happened here.

I wasn't whining, complaining. Wasn't even feeling sorry for myself. It was more of a: wow my to do list has 30 hours of work for today.

And then I caught a few minutes of the Live with Kelly and Michael show. To make sure I caught this clip, God had to get me out of my house since we don't have TV, inspire me to drive to the hotel where my husband was working, make him too tired after working the night shift to get up for breakfast forcing me to go by myself, have the hotel tune the community breakfast room TV station to this show, AND have me listening at the time. 

He did all of that to let me catch this five minute focus on Lauren Perkins, mother of sextuplets.

What captured my attention about this woman was her smile and attitude. In previous news stories about mega birth families, the mom looks worn, the family is begging for help, there is mass chaos, finances are a huge topic, and by the time the story is done, we feel sorry for the family. 

Not in Lauren's case. This gal, a former psychologist, uses her organizational skills to train her children to function as a group. Their day has a schedule. All the children eat, sleep, have diapers changed, etc, at the same time. In the evenings after the babies are in bed, Lauren writes mommy blogs to help other moms, and trains for marathons. She is excited about raising these children and devotes her love to giving each one her best.

No, she is not a super mom. She is a woman who has taken the challenge God has given her and has risen to the task. If you'd like to take a peek at her mommy blog here is the link:
http://perkins6pack.blogspot.com

I would think she'd be the first person to say she isn't any more super than any of us. She has simply chosen to step up to the platform with the tasks God has given here.

There are many such people listed in the Bible who've stepped up and handled great tasks given to them by God.

Noah
Moses
Abraham
Joseph
David
Samson
Deborah
Elijah
Elisha
Jeremiah
Jonah--after fussing-but he still did it
Peter
Paul
JESUS

and this is only a very small list.

Today God has armed you with the fortitude to accomplish the task He has given you to do.

Rise up

Raise your chin

Press your shoulders back

And proudly serve the King

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

Your turn: How can you serve the King today?

Friday, March 28, 2014

Fabulous Friday Feature-Anita Higman Returns




Today I welcome 
author, Anita Higman
a sweet and friendly lady, 
with a desire to help others 

Enter to win Anita's latest release,
Home at Last
(there will be four winners!)

Scroll to the end of the post to see how to enter.



After the fabulous turn out from Anita's last visit, I simply had to invite her back to share with us again. Anita has released another new book, too! I met Anita after agreeing to read her book for a publisher.  Click here to read my review  I was very impressed with Anita's writing style, her humor, the realism in her story, yeah. As you can see from the list to the right, her post has has the greatest number of hits on my site..over 1,000! I asked Anita to share something more about God's blessings in her on her writing journey. Here is what she said:



What is Truly Passionate?

When a man kisses a woman—and the two care about each other in an amorous way—well, we’re most likely guaranteed some sweet magic. Maybe even some bolts of lightning. And we women never tire of experiencing or watching or reading about those dreamy moments when a man and woman feel those first stirrings of attraction, affection, and then love. However, in many of today’s modern novels, the romantic scenes go far behind an ardent kiss.

So, what sets the inspirational romance apart from the others when it comes to those scenes of passion?

First of all, writers and readers of inspirational romances are not saying that these fiery feelings aren’t being played out in their own marital beds. However, they are saying they don’t want to be peeping toms in someone else’s boudoir. They have discernment for what is meant to be enjoyed and a healthy respect for what is meant to be private.

These same readers know their minds and hearts—they are more satisfied when the hero and heroine struggle toward real love, rather than merely give in to lust. Charlotte Bronte’s masterpiece, Jane Eyre, is one of the most wildly passionate love stories ever written, and yet we never read about anything more intimate than a kiss.

Also, like in the novel, Jane Eyre, the story encourages readers to consider the whole of a person—which includes the soul rather than just mere flesh. This novel reminds us that we are not only in great need of human affection and love, but that we also desire to be connected to Someone who is greater than ourselves—the One true source of all of that love.

On the other hand, if a story revolves around a hero and heroine who are consumed by lust-filled thoughts and erotic behaviors, well, let’s just say, these kinds of mental images aren’t going to raise the reader to any lofty ideals. Truly, lovers of inspirational fiction want to go beyond the mere desires of the body. They want to know there is purpose to their existence and meaning to life. They want to be roused to the passions of goodness and decency and honor. And if a hero and heroine experience temptations and transgressions—and humans are riddled with it—then they also want light and hope and redemption.

Those same readers know that the most romantic hero—one who is truly swoon-worthy—is the one who can set his own desires aside and think of the good of his beloved. That is the measure of a real man. Those are the qualities of a truly attractive and desirable hero.

As an inspirational romance author, you might wonder how I write those romantic scenes so they will be passionate without being salacious. When do I stop the kiss before it gets too hot for the page? Well, I’ve had a general rule that has always worked for me. If I can give my novel to my daughter or offer it as suggested reading to a friend’s grandmother to read without worry that I will offend, and if I feel I have truly entertained as well as inspired the reader, then I have succeeded in finding the right balance. Then I have searched for and found what is admirable—what is good and lovely and beautiful. And yes, what is truly passionate.
.




Best-selling and award-winning author, Anita Higman, has thirty-six books published. She’s been a Barnes & Noble “Author of the Month” for Houston and has a BA in the combined fields of speech communication, psychology, and art. Anita loves good movies, exotic teas, and brunch with her friends.

Please visit her website at www.anitahigman.com and drop her a note by clicking the “Contact Me” button.





Home at Last-Anita's latest release
Olivia Lamington's never had a home or family 

When her late employer leaves Bromfeld Manor to her, Olivia feels secure for the first time in her life. Then Bromfeld's prodigal son returns, challenging her claim to the estate—and everything Olivia understands about family…and love. 


The woman his father left his fortune to is as beautiful as she is innocent, which is why Noah Bromfeld offers to let Olivia stay while he settles his father's affairs. The closer he gets to Olivia, though, the more Noah wonders if this sweet beauty is the key to his future. But will his dark past destroy his only hope for happiness?






A Marriage in Middlebury-Anita's previous release
Charlotte Rose Hill has been serving up country delicacies, uniquely blended teas, and matchmaking advice for her quirky but beloved customers for more than 10 years. But for her, marriage seems like an elusive butterfly, always out of reach. At 18, Charlotte fell in love with a young man, Sam Wilder, but his family convinced her to walk away from their relationship. She did, and then became engaged to another man, who later died before they were married. 

Now, more than a decade later, Charlotte finds that she still has feelings for her first love. Initially thrilled to learn that Sam has come home to Middlebury, Texas, Charlotte is devastated to learn that he’s brought someone with him: his fiancĂ©e. But all is not lost when the townsfolk decide to get involved. Will Charlotte and Sam find their way back to each other?




To enter the contest for an autographed copy of 
Anita's book: "Home at Last":
leave a comment (and email addy)
AND become a follower of this site, if you aren't already.

Four Winners Will Be Chosen!

Sorry  US  only

Winner announced on my facebook page.

Thank you, Anita, for Joining us This Weekend!
.

Anita's thoughts today on inspiration fiction are helpful, wouldn't you say? I recently read an article that criticized inspirational fiction. The writer felt inspirational books shouldn't even touch the topic.

Let's talk about it. What are you views on inspirational romance fiction? 
If you like inspiration fiction, can you give us a title of a book or an author you have enjoyed?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Opportunities Captured





Today thousands of opportunities will come our way.

Good and bad.

The choice to capture the opportunity or walk away from a bad opportunity will be ours.

The moment may be something as simple as having a chance to say something nice or encouraging. Perhaps holding back unkind words.

The moment may be a huge imposition, like having to leave an activity to meet someone's need.

We sit comfortably, sipping tea or coffee. A thought pops in our head. An idea to DO something. 

We ponder.

Then decide.

The decision is either selfish or giving. 

When my children were little, they had a favorite book. One would grab the treasure in her little hand and bring it to me. "Read it." This was the seemingly 400 request to read the same book that day. (I read it :) ) You may have experienced a similar constant request.

Or early in the morning, a thought wakens me before the alarm goes off. Get out of bed, where the blankets are nice and warm, and do morning Bible reading before the family gets up. (Well, I may not smile or leap, but I do it and am always glad afterwards.)

A favorite television show may be on when a family member calls to chat. Do I brush them off quickly to return to the show? Or do I turn off the program and focus on the family member.

~
One evening, the disciple Peter sailed with the other disciples on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus had gone to the mountains to pray, but as he prayed, he kept watch on the disciples. The wind tossed the boat and scared the disciples. Later, Jesus walked on the water toward the boat. The disciples thought he was a ghost. 

Jesus said, "Don't be afraid, it is I."

Peter said, "If it is you, Lord, command me to come to you on the water."

Jesus said, "Come."

Peter immediately captured the opportunity and left the boat, his friends, and the fish. With his eyes firmly fixed on Jesus, he walked on the water--until the sounds of the sea pulled his focus away. He looked down at the stirring waters. Peter immediately began to sink. He cried out, "Lord save me."

Jesus captured the opportunity to help, save, and teach Peter. He reached out his hands and guided him back to the boat.

An opportunity captured then lost.

Another opportunity captured.

~
Opportunities come when something else is going on. We get to choose whether to capture the opportunity or lose it.

Your turn: Name an exciting opportunity you or someone you know captured


This post was brought to you by the one word: Opportunity

Monday, March 24, 2014

Joys of Listening

Photo Courtesy




This week our church is wrapping up our AWANA program for the year.

I have served as the Sparks Director (grades K-2) for about eight years. 

I must admit, in the wintertime, when the sun goes down at 4:30pm I have to drag myself out of my snuggly warm house to get in my car, drive the thirty miles on icy roads, and duke it out with the bitter wind to walk from my car to the church building--can you hear me grousing?

As I step in the door and look about, everything changes  as the dance of little feet and music of young voices begins.








Photo Courtesy


I blink away the snowflakes, blow my runny nose, and see the children hopping, squealing, tagging, chatting, and giggling in the foyer. A few run up to me…."Miss Mary…" and the first story of many for the night is told.

The little ones flitter about as I hang up my coat and fish out my ID badge from the bucket. Once a boy or girl has shared their important news, they skip away, calling to a friend.

Because of the strength of the kangaroo energy in this group, the leaders and I keep a strict schedule, shifting the children from one activity to another. Story time is the last segment of the night.







Photo Courtesy


Recently, I told the story of Moses and was so very amazed how God captured the attention of the thirty-five children. Only moments before starting the telling, it seemed a kaleidoscope of butterflies swarmed into the story room, unable to settle on the designated pieces of tape. Then--in an instant--little eyes focused on my illustrations of the little baby and his momma. Their voices hushed as the retelling continued.

When the story closed, and awards were given for the night, the still morphed into a din! 

Like mosquitos, the little ones moved about their assigned areas chatting to their friends and dropping their belongings. Several broke away and flew to me, anxious to tell me how many sections they passed that night or some other pressing news.





Choosing when to tighten the reign for safety and when to let the little ones flitter, the leaders and I keep the children corralled until their parents pick them up.

Quite amazingly enough, the chatterboxes stop mid-sentence when they see their guardian, run to him or her, and start their story all over.

How can I help but laugh!

I am convinced, God gives us these opportunities to help us understand how He sees us.


A very fitting verse comes to mind that tells how God responds to us:


Zephanian 3:17


The Lord your God in your midst,

The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.


Your Turn: Tell of a time when someone's words made a smile burst on your face. It can be a spouse, a friend, a grandchild, a teacher…anyone.


This post has been brought to you by the one word: Listen.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Fabulous Friday Feature-Mesu Andrews



Today I welcome 
author Mesu Andrews


Enter to win Mesu's 
March 2014 release,
In the Shadow of Jezebel

Scroll to the end of the post to see how to enter.



I met Mesu when reading about her book in an email. It sounded very interesting. I wrote to Mesu and instantly we became friends. She has such a warm heart and desire to serve God. I asked Mesu to visit with us and share how God has led her on her writing journey. Here is what she said:



I Felt the Spirit's Nudge


I never intended to become a writer. In 1996, I was a busy pastor’s wife with two pre-teen girls and a growing speaking ministry. I didn’t have time to be sick, but an annoying flu bug lingered for weeks, then months. Eighteen months later I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, and I began journaling for the first time.

A slower pace provided more quiet time with Jesus, and I began sharing weekly e-devotionals with family and friends. About the same time, a Bible study piqued my interest in Song of Songs, and I read all eight chapters every day for a year—and watched an incredible story unfold.

Health concerns limited my speaking engagements to six retreats a year, but Solomon’s Song became the capstone topic. Only one problem—audiences wanted Love’s Sacred Song in written form to peruse at home—and I was a speaker, not a writer.

Feeling the Holy Spirit’s nudge, I bought “how-to-write-a-novel-proposal” and attended a Baltimore writers’ conference. Two editors and one agent begged me to stick with speaking because my writing was so bad. I was crushed. I crawled back into my suitcase, returned home, and filed Love’s Sacred Song under “F” for Failure.

I poured my effort into the weekly e-devotionals, which fulfilled my need to study and unwittingly honed my writing skills. A sudden health crash in 2002 put me in bed for six months, and inconclusive medical tests left doctors shaking their heads.

Those six months, however, were quite conclusive for me. Sequestered in bed, couch, or recliner, my laptop became my world and reintroduced me to an old friend. I rewrote my biblical novel, Love’s Sacred Song, and fell deeper in love with Jesus.

By November of 2003, Mayo Clinic added two more chronic conditions to my already weary body, and daily migraines began in 2005. These were difficult years, wrestling with mortality, purpose, priorities, etc. Through it all, the Lord provided life-lessons to include in the growing e-devotional ministry. Positive feedback poured in, and once again I felt the Spirit’s nudge to seek publication—this time for a non-fiction devotional. I bought another “how-to” book, wrote a non-fiction proposal, and flew to a California writers’ conference.

Editors were again unimpressed, but an agent saw possibilities. For three years, this fabulous, committed woman knocked on every publisher’s door. The answer was still No, but the NEED to become published had waned. Somehow, somewhere in this journey, I’d become totally content with my e-devotional ministry and leaving Love’s Sacred Song in my bottom desk drawer.

Until my critique partner read the rewritten version... “The Lord gave you a powerful story to teach people of His love. You must resurrect this novel proposal.”

“But I can’t write fiction! I’m a teacher. I write Bible studies and devotionals, not stories.”

She stopped all my protest with these questions. “Are you a better teacher than Jesus? Didn’t He teach with stories?”

Ugh. Only the dearest friends speak so boldly. So, I determined to learn the craft of fiction. I packed my bags in 2008 for the same California writers’ conference and registered for the fiction-mentoring clinic. There, Love’s Sacred Song caught the eye of a Revell editor, and a few months later I signed my first contract.

I never intended to become a writer. I didn’t choose daily migraines or chronic illness. And, seriously…who wants to read Song of Songs every day for a year? But, oh—the joy of His Presence, His blessing, His pleasure.


Whatever your journey requires, dear one, take heart—it is SO worth the ride!


~ ~


Mesu Andrews lives in the Washington State with her husband, Roy. They have two married daughters and a growing tribe of grandkids. She loves movies, waterfalls, and travel.    
To learn more about Mesu Andrews, visit:
 Or visit me on Facebook: Mesu Andrews
·  Twitter: MesuAndrews
·  Pinterest: MesuAndrews
·  Goodreads: Mesu Andrews

~ ~

In the Shadow of Jezebel (available now):

Princess Jehosheba wants nothing more than to please the harsh and demanding Queen Athaliah, daughter of the notorious Queen Jezebel. Her work as a priestess in the temple of Baal seems to do the trick. But when a mysterious letter from the dead prophet Elijah predicts doom for the royal household, Jehosheba realizes that the dark arts she practices reach beyond the realm of earthly governments. To further Athaliah and Jezebel's strategies, she is forced to marry Yahweh's high priest and enters the unfamiliar world of Yahweh's temple. Can her new husband show her the truth and love she craves? And can Jehosheba overcome her fear and save the family--and the nation--she loves?


With deft skill, Mesu Andrews brings Old Testament passages to life, revealing a fascinating story of the power of unconditional love.






Love Amid the Ashes

Readers often think of Job sitting on the ash heap, his life in shambles. But how did he get there? What was Job's life like before tragedy struck? What did he think as his world came crashing down around him? And what was life like after God restored his wealth, health, and family?

Through painstaking research and a writer's creative mind, Mesu Andrews weaves an emotional and stirring account of this well-known story told through the eyes of the women who loved him. Drawing together the account of Job with those of Esau's tribe and Jacob's daughter Dinah, Love Amid the Ashes breathes life, romance, and passion into the classic biblical story of suffering and steadfast faith.


EXCITING NEWS!! Love Amid the Ashes ebook can be downloaded free during this March.



To enter the contest for an autographed copy of 
Mesu Andrew's book: "In the Shadow of Jezebel":
leave a comment (and email address)
AND become a follower of this site, 
if you aren't already.

Sorry  US  only

Winner announced on my facebook page.


Thank you, Mesu for Joining us This Weekend!
.

Mesu said, "Only the dearest friends can speak so boldly." I think God has given those friends the words to say to us.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Spring Break-Northern Rims

Spring Break- Northern Rims of the Grand Canyon. 

This is the last day of our trip. The Northern Rims are chilly. I hear there will be a storm, maybe even snow! Bring a warm jacket, walking shoes to head down the trails, and your camera. Ready?

As we drive to the entrance the storm is closing in. I love watching the rolling clouds. Notice the difference in the trees here? Scroll down to the last post to see the more desert style trees at the Southern Rim. We are higher in altitude, hence the temperature change.



The buffalo don't seem to mind the rain.



The rain quickly turned to snow. 
Several families parked their car to let their children get out and throw snowballs.


Hold tight to the branch as you lean over the edge.




Be adventurous, step out on the rocks to get the best view!







I hope you had fun at the Grand Canyon during Spring break. 
I'm excited to read your comments when I get back.

Your turn: What is the highest place you have been?

*All photos taken by Mary Vee and her hubby, Hank. Permission required for use.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Spring Break, Southern Rims

Spring Break at the Southern Rims of the Grand Canyon

I am away from the Internet for my spring bring, but didn't want to leave you "out in the cold" LOL. No. You're coming with me. If you missed the whitewater trip from last week, scroll down and ride the Colorado River with me through the Grand Canyon. The temperatures up here on the Southern Rims are a soothing 70 degrees. There might be some wind. Grab your camera and some walking shoes. Ready?

Let's Roll!


The tower in the distance is a tourist site. You can climb to the top for a great view. On the bottom floor is a gift shop.


I wanted to give you some unique views for your trip by including birds and animal life.














I hope you enjoyed your trip to the Southern Rims

Come back on Wednesday. We're heading to the Northern Rims.
 A far different view of the Grand Canyon.


Your turn: What was your favorite vacation?


*All photos were taken by Mary Vee and her hubby Hank. Permission required for use.