Thursday, October 9, 2014

Hope or not?


Jason and I were recently walking in the woods and talking about how thankful we are that we don't know all the things in advance that will happen in our lives. Everyone will go through some storms, right? But isn't it great that we don't know exactly what trials are ahead or when they'll happen?

I thank God for this "not" knowing. I mean, if I knew the exact hurts and struggles I'd have to endure, I'd do everything in my power to avoid those experiences—and shortchange myself in the long run. Let's take boating for example. If I'd known that horrendous storm was going to whip up, I wouldn't have gone on the skiff that day, maybe ever. I mean, a storm could come up at any time in open waters. We could spend our whole life worrying about what storm might hit next. And I would have feared my way through never enjoying the ocean again.

If we could see ahead to the pain of loss, physical ailments, broken dreams, financial struggles, whatever, that we might face, it would be overwhelming. We could get lost in worry and fear. Instead, one thing keeps us floating and anticipating the future:

~Hope~

Hope is a such a blessing in our lives. It's like a buoyant lifesaving ring carrying us through the difficulties.

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1

Hope isn't just a wish that everything will turn out okay. "I hope it's going to be sunny tomorrow." Instead, it goes beyond that and morphs into a certainty that good is around the corner. Hope is a knowing in our hearts. "I know God is doing a beautiful thing in my life." That even though storms may come, God is working things out for my good. "God will see me through."

Hope is anticipating color in the midst of monochrome. Light in the darkness. Warmth in the cold. Spring after winter.

Job, while going through the biggest storms imaginable, said, "Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him." Wow! That's a huge kind of hope. It shows hope isn't based on anything happening around us. It's a rock-solid assurance for goodness and peace--and trusting God is in control of everything.

On the other side of the spectrum, when we lose hope, we really do feel sick. "Hope deferred makes the heart sick." (Proverbs 13:1) Sometimes we have to remind ourselves to be revived with hope. I found this good one in Psalm 42: "Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him."

I have so much richness in my life. Things I'm eternally thankful for. And one of those is hope. I look forward to miracles and abundance and promises for my family and friends and me. I want to speak the name of Jesus over storms that come my way. To trust completely in His love.

I'm reminded of another storm where Jesus was sleeping in a boat. The disciples would have made it fine to the other side, but they didn't know that. In the midst of wind and waves and fear, they temporarily lost hope.

Jesus being in my boat is hope . . . and peace.
Thank You, Lord, for hope.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

CrossReads Book Blast with Tony Yang

By Tony Yang

About the Book:


When we think about our love relationship with God, we tend to focus on His love for us: God created us in His image. God sent His only begotten son to die for our sins. God will send His son once again to take us home.
But what about our love for God?

What exactly does it mean to love God? Why is it so important? And how do we love Him? Tony Yang answers these questions through a Bible-centered approach, weaving in his personal testimony with his unique storytelling style. His conclusion is one that he least expected—the “O” word. In his highly anticipated debut book, Tony Yang presents key questions and answers them with such simplicity, using easy-to-follow practical applications. With a solid Biblical foundation, it also educates, encourages and inspires, leaving the reader to desire a deeper relationship with our God.


Tony Yang - Casual Portrait
Tony Yang is a storyteller. As a television news reporter, he discovered his passion for finding and telling good stories. After eight years as a journalist, he found himself on the administrative side of health care and higher education as a communication executive (but still a storyteller at heart.) His career has been recognized by industry organizations with nearly 20 professional awards, including two Emmys. Through God’s leading, Tony Yang hopes to use his love of writing and storytelling to share his experiences and encourage others in their love relationship with God.
 
Follow Tony Yang

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Enter below to enter a $50 Amazon gift card, sponsored by author Tony Yang! a Rafflecopter giveaway This book blast is hosted by Crossreads. We would like to send out a special THANK YOU to all of the CrossReads book blast bloggers!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Write When it Hits


Inspiration comes to me at the strangest moments. In the shower. Brushing my teeth. Digging in the garden. During prayer. When I'm just waking up. When I'm about to go to sleep.

I might be busy, or not, doing something in particular, or not thinking about anything at all, and this idea suddenly pops into my head. It's a great idea. Fantastic. Something I would never forget! Like a new twist to the story I wouldn't have thought up myself, even if I'd been dwelling on the topic all morning. It's inspiration, plain and simple.

But if I don't write it down that very minute, nine times out of ten, I'm going to forget it. Wow. There went my inspiration out the window, out of my mind, probably, never to be replayed in my head again.

I have a friend whom the Lord prompted to keep a notebook by her bedside to write the things He was going to speak to her. And she did. Through the next season in her life, whenever she had a meaningful dream or a vision or a special word, she'd write it down. Years later, she was able to use all those experiences she'd taken note of to write an inspirational book. Isn't that awesome?

Another writer friend gave me a cute little notebook I carry around in my purse. If an idea hits me while I'm in the car or away from the house, I take out that cherished gift from a friend and jot down my thoughts. But the problem comes when I'm doing something active—like driving or working outdoors. I can't stop and write that very second. So I say to myself, No problem, it's such a great idea, I won't forget.

But I do forget. Ugh.

Maybe, it's my age, but now, I really must write my inspirational thoughts when they hit me. Whether it's on the computer or a notebook or a scrap of paper or a napkin, I need to get those words down. Even if they aren't coherent sentences. If I don't, you and I both know what will probably happen. Maybe, that means keeping notebooks in strategic places: the bathroom, the kitchen, in my wheelbarrow. I have a recording device, but I can't see myself carrying that around my ten acres. A whiteboard might work to jot ideas throughout the day, and then I could type them into the computer later. Perhaps, I should carry a miniature notebook in my back pocket at all times.

I've noticed bursts of inspiration happening to me a lot lately as I'm working through editing and tweaking details in my latest WIP, April's Storm. I feel so blessed and thankful when that special idea hits. But when I sit down to edit, sure enough, the brilliant thoughts are gone.

How about you? What do you do to capture those inspired thoughts immediately?


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

CrossReads Book Blast with Michelle Word Hollis

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It's in the House: Lessons from a Widow Woman - Getting What You Need & More!

By Michelle Word Hollis


About the Book:

In this book you will discover the powerful lessons, from the Biblical story of the Widow's Oil, that will help you overcome any difficulty you are currently facing. You will learn easy to implement strategies that will cause positive transformation in your thoughts and actions. The lessons are based upon Biblical principles that you can use daily for successful living. God has given us a blueprint in His Word that will help us build a grand life no matter where we are currently in life. The principles contained in these pages have withstood the test of time; they are universal truths! The lessons and principles are simple to understand, as well as, implement for those who would dare try and keep trying. Making a lasting permanent change does take time, practice, and patience, but you can do it!


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Michelle Word Hollis is a native of St. Louis, Mo. She is a wife and a mother. She received her undergraduate degree from SIUE and her MBA from UOP. Michelle is a life long learner and enjoys many other personal pursuits. Michelle is a new author, but she has been writing privately for many years. Michelle's Pearlable Woman book series will explore spirituality, family, life, and love. In the series, she will share lessons that have stood the test of time. These lessons are pearls of wisdom from the lives of Biblical women that can be applied to our contemporary lives.

Follow Michelle Word Hollis: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Enter to Win a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

Enter below to enter a $50 Amazon gift card, sponsored by author Michelle Word Hollis! a Rafflecopter giveaway This book blast is hosted by Crossreads. We would like to send out a special THANK YOU to all of the CrossReads book blast bloggers!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Are You the Silent Type?


Sometimes people are silent for a reason.

Perhaps, through an emotional crisis or physical pain or loss, the woman holds it in, tackling hurts the way she knows best. Maybe the way her mother did. As her grandmother did before her.

On the opposite spectrum, some tell all. Are you ever surprised by the things people talk about publicly? Husband-wife woes. Children's failings. Financial matters. Some share information I wish I hadn't heard or read. TMI? For instance, in a sermon, the preacher doesn't have to tell every little thing about his wife and their relationship for me to get the picture. The parent doesn't have to describe the blood gushing everywhere from her son's injury (or post a picture of it) for me to understand. I have a vivid imagination.

Have you ever stood at the checkout counter at the grocery store and heard a deep conversation going on where you felt sorry for the clerk having to hear that kind of stuff all day? I have. Others rant about difficulties and personal issues on social media as if everyone wants to know every minuscule part of their lives.

But in the midst of a tell-all society, there are those who still remain silent. Taking life and troubles in, thinking about it, or not, they keep the hurt or stress or confusion to themselves. Maybe this is right, maybe it's wrong. Maybe it's the way we were raised. Does it boil down to our differing personalities? The quiet one versus the talkative one. The laugher vs the crier. The secret keeper vs the chatterbox.

While some friends and family members will tell everything, and perhaps even demand our attention to listen, let's remember those who are silent. When someone seems to fall off the grid, take note. There may very well be a reason for his or her silence. They can't talk about it, or choose not to. But they may need a hug or a kind word or an extra bit of understanding.

They say still waters run deep, and I believe it. Just because someone is quiet, never underestimate the struggle she might be going through. Encouraging words do have an effect. Love can change everything. Even, or maybe especially, for the person facing difficulties in silence.

"A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing;" Psalm 68:5 & 6