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Summer Days By The Sea

Posted by on Aug 20, 2013 in Blog, Devotions, Uncategorized | 10 comments

Summer Days By The Sea

Many years ago during a very difficult season in my life, some kind friends offered their condo at the beach to my sons and me for a mini vacation. It was a generous gift that I’ve never forgotten, a few days that allowed us to forget our troubles for a time. What I thought would only be a change of scene, and a brief escape from the stress that had come our way, became so much more. Twice, under very different circumstances, I was reminded of the Lord’s presence, provision, and love for us.

 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,

“plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11

  

~   Part One

We arrived on a warm summer afternoon and immediately made our way to walk on the beach boardwalk. On one side were the typical, some might say tacky, beach shops and the fast food establishments selling funnel cakes, salt water taffy and other equally unhealthy, but delicious fare. The beach side was an entirely different scene, God’s glorious creation of blue sky and sea, with the rhythmic and seemingly eternal waves washing up on the shore.

As we walked back to the condo we came across a sculptor working on the beach with the simplest of tools, a plastic knife and a spray bottle of water and sand, huge mounds of sand. We stood entranced by the artist, a pastor, silently demonstrating his God-given skill for a long time. His designs were the most incredible biblical scenes on several sand hills with etched Sand sculpturesScripture verses beneath. These scenes were dramatic and rather incongruous across the boardwalk from shops with racks of bikinis and boogie boards for sale. It was a stunning reminder for me that even when we are wandering through a difficult period, with all its worldly distractions, God’s plans won’t be thwarted. One can experience the powerful provision and presence of the Lord in the most unexpected places.

Come back on Thursday and learn of the second gift the Lord provided.

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Welcome to my new website

Posted by on Aug 14, 2013 in Blog, Book Reviews, Devotions | 6 comments

July 26, 2013

Welcome to my new website.

In the days and months to come I hope to use this platform to:

~ showcase fiction and non-fiction authors and their books

~ offer commentary on subjects near to my heart

~ relay stories and thoughts on the Christian life

~ address some of my own writing journey

~ share media that inspires, and hopefully pleases

 

Book Review

Each morning, my husband and I read a daily lesson from the 365 day devotional, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.

This treasure was first published in 2004 and it has done very well for the world’s largest Christian publisher, Thomas Nelson, Inc,.  By June of 2012 more than five million Jesus Calling® products had been sold worldwide.

This 365-day devotional, available in a variety of formats, is written from the perspective of Jesus speaking directly to the reader with several Scripture verses noted. The author has recorded what she believed Jesus was saying to her through the Scriptures.

Millions of people have found that these daily devotions speak directly to them, and to whatever circumstances they are experiencing at the time. I no sooner had bought this little book, when I had the occasion to give it to a friend who was in need of encouragement. So, then I purchased two more copies, one for me and one to give away the next time I thought someone would be blessed by it. I should have bought them in bulk since to date I’ve given away nearly a dozen.

jesus-callingJesus Calling comes in a variety of formats. Our current copy is leather bound and includes the actual Scripture verses that are referenced. It’s a time-saver since it doesn’t require a Bible to look up the verses. There is also an adaptation of the book that allows space for journaling each day, and there’s even a version for kids.Jesus Calling Leather

So this morning, while it was still dark, I pondered, what should I write in my first blogpost for my new website? I needed guidance. An hour or so later, when we opened our devotional to July 26th  ―  there it was.

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;

 I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.”  — Psalm 32:8

“Direct me in the path of your commands,

for there I find delight.” — Psalm 119:35

 

Have you read Jesus Calling? If not, I recommend it highly.

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What Devotionals Are You Reading?

Posted by on Aug 14, 2013 in Blog, Devotions | 2 comments

Do you have a favorite on-line or hard copy devotional?

I have quite a few favorites, but one devotion writer that has lasted the test of time is Roy Lessin. Over the years, he has written a wealth of books, but he may be even more widely known for his association with DaySpring Cards. His cards cover a variety of topics and can be found in most stores that carry a selection of Christian cards.

At Christmastime in particular, I like to peruse the card aisle looking for just the right cards to send friends and family. His messages inevitably bring me to tears. Whether on his cards or in his books, his devotions are thought provoking, insightful, heartfelt and always tied to the Scriptures.

I receive his online devotionals which I often print so I can enjoy them repeatedly. http://www.meetmeinthemeadow.com/

A recent post of Roy’s provides an excellent roadmap for traveling through life when your destination is heaven.

Traveling The Highway to Heaven

One of the ways you can think about your journey from earth to heaven is to imagine it as a road trip you are taking in a car. Here are a few things to remember as you travel along the highway…

1.      Obey the signs.   

“With all my heart I have sought You; Do not let me wander from Your commandments.” Psalm 119:10

2.      Keep the tank full. 

“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,” Ephesians 5:18

3.      Clean the windows. 

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

4.      It’s okay to give someone a lift. 

“and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,  not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25

5.      Take advantage of all the rest stops.

“And He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.” (For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.)” Mark 6:31

6.      Check the cell phone for updated messages.

“Your ears will hear a word behind you, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right or to the left.” Isaiah 30:21

7.      Know how to get a hold of roadside assistance.

“He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.”  Psalm 91:15

8.      Welcome the miles you spend with a passenger.                                                                                            “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;” Romans 12:10

9.      Don’t be surprised if the road makes an unexpected turn.  Acts 10:13-20

10.    Always remember the purpose of the trip and your final destination.

“I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14

Used with Roy Lessin’s permission  http://www.meetmeinthemeadow.com/2013/07/traveling-the-highway-to-heaven/

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Why Do I Write?

Posted by on Aug 14, 2013 in Blog, Journal | Comments Off on Why Do I Write?

When a friend recently asked me how long I’ve been interested in writing, I would have loved to have said that I wanted to be a writer since I was a child.  So many of the writers I admire can claim that; however, that wasn’t the case with me. In school, I received good grades in writing, and I had done some journaling over the years, but it wasn’t until my thirties that I was bitten by the writing bug.

In 1983, I was a stay at home mom with two boys under four when I saw an article in Redbook Magazine by Judith Viorst inviting reader’s to enter the magazine’s Great Embarrassing Moments Contest. It caught my eye because I enjoyed reading books and articles by Viorst, but I had never entered a contest in my life, so why would I give it a second thought now? The contest promotion rules stated the story had to be 500 words or less; the first prize winner would get five hundred dollars and the possibility of having it printed in a future issue of Redbook. Normally, I’d have only grinned and moved on, but an excruciatingly embarrassing event that occurred to me ten years earlier popped into my mind.

Hmmm. That episode was one of those times when you wish the floor would open beneath you and swallow you up. Yet, as embarrassing as the occasion was, I remembered laughing at myself only an hour later when I retold it to my parents. Could I write about it? I decided to give it a go.

My Writing Space

I did not win that contest, but by entering it, I enjoyed the process of writing about the event, and the seed to write more was planted.  It would be another two years and a move before I would get my first job writing a regular column in a local paper which led to other opportunities. During that same time, a story began to form in my mind, one in which I could share my faith. I sought the Lord’s guidance when I contemplated taking my writing efforts in a completely new direction. I made a covenant with Him regarding the time I would devote to the task relative to my primary jobs of being a wife and mother. In the course of writing that story, I learned a lot about myself, gained knowledge of the craft, and developed the discipline required in pursuing my goal. I also found joy and fulfillment in the journey.

 

 

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My Work

Posted by on Aug 5, 2013 in Blog, Books | Comments Off on My Work

Writer’s manuscripts are like children. We pour our time, love, faith, wisdom, imagination, discipline, and hope into them. We want to see them mature into a creation we can be proud of, and that others will benefit from and enjoy.

THE CAPTIVE HEART is a manuscript and STEWART’S GREEN is a work in progress.

  

 

She indentured herself and fled Scotland

on a ship to Virginia

to escape disgrace and start a new life,

only to find faith and a future she could never have anticipated.

 

Book One ~ A story of forgiveness

THE CAPTIVE HEART

Woman Colonial_Woman_Williamsburg_(4664967915)

photo courtesy of Colonial Williamsburg

 

In 1770, Heather Douglas, disillusioned and desperate to escape her native Scotland, signs a seven year indenture and flees aboard a British merchant vessel headed for the Virginia colony. When a common planter purchases Heather’s indenture and takes her to his farm, she is faced with new and constant challenges. It is in the Virginia countryside that Heather begins her greatest journey, one of self discovery and of maturing faith. Here, she discovers that her emotional and spiritual scars bind her far more than her indenture.

Matthew Stewart, a widowed farmer with two young children, needed someone to help raise them. Was God leading him to take this unknown indentured servant as his wife? How would these two individuals, from opposite sides of the Atlantic, and each having experienced their own tragedies, bridge their differences to make a life together?

 

A tender, heartfelt novel about new beginnings and love blooming in unexpected places. The Captive Heart weaves rich history and romance together into a beautiful tapestry of faith sure to find a special place in readers’ hearts.                                            Laura Frantz, author of Love’s Reckoning and Love’s Awakening

 

 Life was better than she dreamed,

now the conflict between the

British and the colonists

threatened the loss of everything dear,

even her husband.

 

Book Two ~ A story of faithfulness

 

Stewart's Green 

STEWART’S GREEN

 

It was spring of 1775 and the antagonism between the colonists and the British had escalated to direct confrontation. Throughout Virginia, as well as at the Stewart’s ordinary in the Virginia countryside, strife between factions loyal to the crown and those demanding independence was pitting friends, neighbors and families against each other. Like so many others in this newly birthed nation, Heather and Matthew Stewart’s world was turning upside down. Loyalties are questioned and when Matthew disappears, odd and confusing events create doubts and suspicion. The inevitable war will challenge the family’s faith, alter relationships, and change their lives forever.

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My Journey

Posted by on Aug 1, 2013 in Blog, Devotions | 2 comments

“There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every person,

and it can never be filled by any created thing.

It can only be filled by God, made known through Jesus Christ.”

Blaise Pascal

Pensees 1670

 

I was brought up by very good, moral parents. We went to church at Christmas and Easter, but didn’t discuss the Christian faith, the Bible, or what we believed.

When I was young I would tag along with any neighbors or friends who would let me go to church with them. Thus began a rather solitary search for God through many different denominations. When I was old enough to drive I began attending a church regularly and I believed in, prayed to, and worshiped Jesus, but knew nothing of having a personal relationship with Him.

I set high expectations for myself, and when I failed to live up to them in my youth and early twenties they drove me into depression. While I knew that God brought me through those periods, my theology was faulty and my faith was still in my head.

“Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name,

He gave the right to become children of God”

John 1:12

When I was in my early thirties, a neighbor who had a heart for women to study the Word together, asked me to host a Bible study that she would lead in my home each week. Still struggling with unresolved issues and searching for answers I was delighted with the opportunity. As I studied, and she discipled me, I began to finally understand I was not just someone who failed or sinned occasionally, I was a sinner in need of a Savior. I had spent my life trying to be good enough, but Jesus accepted and loved me just as I was ― enough to die for me. It was all about what He had done and not about my efforts. I didn’t have to wait until heaven to experience Him. He could be Lord of my life right then. Believing in Jesus had been my religion, now receiving Him in my heart brought relationship and a life forever changed.

 

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;

the old has gone, the new has come!”

(2 Corinthians 5:17)

 

It has been said that everyone has a God-shaped hole in their heart and they will fill it. With what is the question? People may fill it with any number of things other than God; financial pursuits, alcohol, promiscuity, addictions, vanity, fame, power, education, jobs, etc. Many will also fill it with false spiritual doctrines. When we are not familiar with what the Word says, it is easy to fall for deceptive teachings.

Christians are not immune from the trials, diseases, or the challenging events of life that everyone faces. But we have a friend who loves us and walks through them with us. Those 18 inches between our head and our heart can be the longest journey we will ever travel but it is the most crucial one. The goal of every believer should be a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, not just in our heads, but in our hearts.

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