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

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

CrossReads Book Blast with Becca Fisher

Amish Romance 40 Book Boxed Set By Becca Fisher

About the Book:

This collection features 40 Amish Romance stories by Becca Fisher including: The Amish Wedding Series Rebecca Lapp has her life back together after a tough break up. She's found a new man and is finally happy once again. But when her ex comes back into town wanting her back, Rebecca will be forced to make a decision that will change her life forever. The Chasing Heaven Series Hannah Bieler's wedding is more than just cause for celebration. It gets her sisters wondering when they will get married, who they'll fall in love with, or whether God has other plans for them entirely. But it becomes clear that although the Amish are simple people, their love lives are anything but. The Let Love In Series When Jenna loses her husband in a horrible accident, she never thinks she can love again. But she suddenly finds herself a single Amish mother and knows that her children need a father figure in their lives. So when a handsome stranger rides into town a year later and takes a liking to Jenna, she has to decide if she can ever let love in again, or risk losing a man that could bring her happiness. The If I Stayed Series Hannah and Sadie Miller have always been desperate to explore the world. So when rumspringa comes, they want to go to the big city. But are the sisters willing to risk losing everything that's important to them when their parents insist that they stay in Lancaster? The Amish Christmas Series Joshua Zook and Sadie Miller have been dancing around their feelings for months. But just as Joshua works up the nerve to admit how much he cares for Sadie, he realizes that he may be too late to win Sadie's heart.


"I'm Becca Fisher and I write sweet Amish romances featuring simple people with complex love lives. I'm devout in my faith, relish time with my family, and seek to bring joy to as many lives as possible. I would love to have you as a reader. God bless. If you would like to be the first to know about my new books, join my mailing list here"

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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Where Did Time Go?

How softly the years go by. Like a swish of air skidding past my face. A few deep breaths and time tumbled by. Oh, where did it go?

Birth to kindergarten. First through eighth grade. High school. College. Careers.

Memories and life. Milestones made steps. Steps turned into stairways leading far from the safety of home. But always in our hearts. Still in our hearts.

Daniel's smile could dazzle us. Our firstborn would stand in the kitchen, while I made dinner, chatting a mile a minute about basketball stats and school happenings. He was so creative, could draw, imagine other worlds, loved to read. He had, has, a tender heart, and like his dad, tears could easily rush to his hazel eyes. Basketball was his great love, and when the three brothers and Dad got together, it was like they spoke a different language all their own.

But time flew by.

And as each child left the nest and moved on to capture his or her own day in the sun, a part of Mom's and Dad's hearts floated away with them. We watched. Observed. Prayed. Hoped for the very best.

It's their lives stepping up to the plate now, starting new families, just like we did when we were young. Sometimes Jason and I talk about how we were once our parents' "widdo kids", and we grew up, married, moved away. We didn't call as often as they wished we would. But they stood back and patiently watched the beauty of our family grow and change and become.

That's what we're doing now.

One by one, our kids left home to follow their own call, their own road, where life and God would lead them.

Today, Dan carries a chunk of family, of Mom and Dad, in his heart and life. Dad's looks, Mom's humor, Grandma's determination, Grandpa's work ethic. This blend of family, as far removed as we might get, is glue sticking us together, through good times and bad. We'll always be there for each other, even if we're a bazillion miles away.

In two days, something wonderful is about to happen to my family, thus today's sentimental blog. On August 9th, Jason's and my 39th anniversary, Dan is going to marry the love of his life, Traci, and the two of them will make a new life together. A family.  She brings pieces of her family's past, their blends, their hearts, their traditions, their hopes and dreams, to join with the hearts and pasts and blends and dreams Dan brings. Together, they'll become a new heart, beating as one.

Life changing. Going forward. Building a new stairway.

Perhaps, our hearts are kind of like the bread Jesus broke and passed around in that amazing miracle. We share ourselves, our love, our lives, with our children, and they go out and share their hearts, their lives, with others. Someday, their children will do the same thing. Each one changing, growing, becoming new.

Life is a journey to celebrate, to love, to relish, to delight in, to live. But watch closely. In the time it takes to snap that picture or store the memory safely in your heart, time will pass. As quick as a brush of air on your cheek.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

CrossReads Book Blast with Robin Merrill


The Jesus Diet: How the Holy Spirit Coached Me to a 50-Pound Weight Loss

By Robin Merrill

About the Book:

In The Jesus Diet: How the Holy Spirit Coached Me to a 50-Pound Weight Loss, Author/Poet Robin Merrill shares her weight loss experiences through 30 Bible devotions designed to inspire others to join her on her journey toward improved spiritual, and physical, health.

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Robin Merrill is the author of several books, including The Jesus Diet: How the Holy Spirit Coached Me to a 50-Pound Weight Loss (30 Devotions), two collections of poetry from Moon Pie Press, and five Scholastic Book Fair books. Her poems, short stories, articles, and essays have appeared in hundreds of publications, including The Cafe Review, Ledge Magazine, Margie, Pearl, Spoon River Poetry Review, and Stolen Island Review. Three of her poems have been featured on The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor. She is a 2013 recipient of an Emerging Artist Award from St. Botolph Club Foundation of Boston. Robin is also a performance/slam poet who has competed at the national level. She has her MFA from Stonecoast and frequently leads creative writing workshops for writers of all levels.

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Enter below to enter a $50 amazon gift card, sponsored by author Robin Merrill! 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, July 23, 2014

Love Exercise—Corinthians 13 in Action

Love your neighbors.
Pray for enemies.
Honor others.
Do good.

All through the Bible, I see thoughts on relationships and how we interact with each other. If we never had problems in these areas, the words of caution and admonition wouldn't be there. But, being humans, we do err. Sadly, sometimes.

Have you ever had a problem with someone? If you have . . .

I shouldn't say "if". All of us have had a problem or two (or a bunch) relating to someone. Perhaps, a friend said something stupid. A coworker caused trouble (sometimes life-changing problems). A relative hurt us, accidentally or on purpose. Or there's that "irregular person" in our lives. The one we struggle to get along with on a weekly, or even daily, basis.

Love means we have to forgive and be kind—even if.
Even if what? Even if we struggle to get along.

If we don't like someone, (that sounds awful, doesn't it?) what are we going to do with Jesus' words to love our neighbors? First, I'd better pray for him (and me too). With the Holy Spirit inside, He's the one loving through me. Love begets love. True love goes beyond natural feelings. It's a spiritual happening based on the change God is doing. He can do such a work that we don't even understand why we're suddenly feeling more loving toward that person.

There's an exercise I like to do to also change how I'm thinking about someone. "Be transformed by the renewing of your mind." (Romans 12:2) I need to change opinions about the person who's annoying me. Yes, I must confess, I'm sharing from experience, but I won't go into detail. Instead . . .

Let's say Jan and Clyde moved in next door with two teenage sons. Wild boys, it seems. Ever since then, the neighborhood has been different. So much so, you're considering moving. Parties in the yard until all hours. Loud music. Fireworks. Things have been stolen. Suspicions are high. You've talked with Clyde, but he's oblivious. Jan is away, working, most of the time. The boys broke your front window with a football yesterday. Their dog's been doing his number two on your lawn. Get the picture?

Where does love fit in?

Love does more than stew over the problem, although our nature wants to do that. Love is more than ignoring the noise. (Although, earplugs might help.) Love looks beyond the physical annoyances and realizes the person next door, his eternity, matters more than all our stuff, all our preferences, all our comfort. Pride is usually the bad guy in these situations, but true love kicks pride out of the picture, makes us more humble, caring, kinder, thoughtful, etc. It gets us thinking differently.

Here's something that has helped me. I turn to the love chapter, I Corinthians 13, and if you're like me, this chapter makes you squirm in your chair over how you've been thinking about Jan and Clyde. In the midst of my discomfort, I take this powerful section in Scripture a step deeper. I insert Jan's and Clyde's names following the love actions. When I do this (and sometimes redo it) it radically transforms how I'm thinking about my irregular person.
  • "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love" for Clyde and Jan's sons, "I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal."
  • "If I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love" for Clyde, "I am nothing."
  • "Love" for Jan "is patient, love" for Clyde "is kind."
  • "It (love) is not rude" toward Jan.
  • "Love" for my next door neighbors "never fails."

In fact, the verse goes on to state if I don't have love for these folks . . . prophecies will cease, tongues will be stilled, knowledge will pass away. Wow. Not loving has huge consequences. After all, "God is love." He's in us. Love is in us. How can we not love?

Love from the heart is sincere, it's able to love enemies, it's able to put our neighbor's needs before our own. Love does remarkable things in the face of adversity.

To tap into that mindset, the next time anger—or hate—rises up inside over a friend's wrongdoing, a frustrating neighbor, or a spouse you aren't getting along with, after you've prayed for him, insert the person's name into Corinthians 13. It will change something inside of you. I know it did for me.

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love" for Jan and Clyde.