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I love to read and mostly it’s for entertainment. Rarely do I read a book that has an emotional appeal that makes me look closely at my own life. THE BLESSING SEER grabbed me immediately and the message hit home. It made me wonder how many of God’s blessings I’ve missed because I haven’t been obedient to God’s call.
Addy, the heroine of the book, is a pastor’s wife who meets a man named Conrad on her morning stroll. Conrad begins a discussion on God’s blessings, a topic that had been weighing on Addy’s heart since Sunday’s sermon. She says it’s a shame that people might miss out on God’s blessings because we don’t know what God is up to. Then Conrad asks if she knew the blessings God had in store for others, would she tell them? She answers yes.
Then Addy begins having visions…visions of blessings others will receive if they follow God’s plan.
The author did a great job of portraying Addy as a woman who must step outside her comfort zone and overcome her fears. I could relate. The book delivers a powerful message, and I highly recommend it.
The book also includes a Bible Study, which would be great for a small group or book club.
When God sends Addy a special messenger who challenges her to step from her comfort zone, she isn’t sure she’s up to the job. She feels inadequate to take on the task of encouraging others, and when she starts seeing visions, she worries she’s losing her mind.
Yet, Addy wants only to be used by God, even if that means seeing visions and risking relationship with family and friends. By stepping out on a limb, can Addy really accomplish something significant for God? What affect will her surrender to His will have on those around her? And, what affect will it have on her own life?
Paula Mowery is a pastor’s wife and a homeschool mom. She has always been an avid reader of Christian fiction. She began writing in the area of nonfiction creating three Bible studies which were self-published. However, she crafted fiction stories which she shared with friends and family. When one of her readers encouraged her to pursue publication, she joined American Christian Fiction Writers, learning more about the world of fiction. Her debut work of fiction is a novella published by Harbourlight, a division of Pelican Book Group – THE BLESSING SEER.
Learn more about Paula at her blog – paulamowery.blogspot.com
Read more of her writing in her monthly columns on ChristianMagazine.org.
STARING AT A BLANK SCREEN
by Dora Hiers
Four books completed. Two published. One under contract. One more under consideration.
What do you do when a blank, white page stares back at you from the computer screen?
Where do I turn for ideas and inspiration?
Not where. Who.
I start by chatting with God. Praising Him. Worshiping at His feet. Marveling at His handiwork: the spectacular colors of a sunrise or sunset, swaying trees in a gentle breeze, animals like a giraffe with that long crane for a neck. God has such an imagination and a sense of humor. I ask Him for a spark, just a speck of sand from His creative well. Then I leave it up to Him and open my mind ot His possibilities.
God used a newspaper article to plant the seed for Journey’s End, and a television newscast for Journey’s Edge. For both books, I asked “what if?” until the idea for the books no longer resembled the original story. Journey’s Embrace started as a dream. Yep. I see you shaking your head. No kidding. The dream actually became the opening scene.
So, where do I find my ideas, my inspiration for an entertaining, action-packed, heart racing, God-gracing romance? I…
Scour newspapers and magazines
Soak up my favorite television shows
Browse through internet and local news sites
Wade through files and notes, research online
Consider life experiences: weddings, funerals, jobs, family issues, hobbies, etc.
Evenutally a story event or character takes hold of my head and captures my heart.
Once I have them, what do I do with them?
Some writers like to keep a pen and paper handy to joy down ideas. I use a voice recorder app on my smartphone.
OK, you can call me lazy, but it’s actually faster than typing, and I always have my phone on hand.
I store potential newspaper articles and possible character pictures in a folder. For fleshing out my characters and organizing my story, I use Microsoft One Note. Each book becomes a Notebook, and every character has their own page, complete with bio and pictures.
Are you staring at a blank screen?
Where do you dig for ideas?
Where do you get your inspiration?
Red flags—including some goon who’s following her—raise McKinley Frasier’s suspicions that numbers don’t add up at the insurance firm. When someone tries to snatch McKinley’s daughter from school, she turns to police officer and ex-fiance, Renner Crossman—the cop who walked out on her a month before their wedding. But Renner’s not the same guy who broke her heart ten years ago. He calls himself a “new man.” She trusts the new Renner with her daughter’s safety…but what about her heart?
After a successful auditing career, Dora left the corporate world to be a stay-at-home mom to her two sons. When her youngest son didn’t want her hanging out at school with him anymore, Dora started writing heart racing, God-gracing books. Dora belongs to the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the Carolina Christian Writers. Dora and her husband make their home in North Carolina. When she’s not writing, Dora enjoys reading and family gatherings. She despises traffic, technological meltdowns, and a sad ending to a book. Her books always end with happily-ever-after’s.
Readers can connect with Dora:
Autographed copy and blog: http://dorahiers.blogspot.com/
Facebook: Dora Hiers Author
I am so thrilled to have Allie Pleiter on my blog today! Her new Love Inspired book is coming out in just a few days and I can’t wait to read it. I’m hoping you’ll make Allie feel welcome here. Please leave a comment for her as she’ll be stopping in to chat with all of you. Feel free to ask questions about her book or even about knitting!
Allie Pleiter Author Bio:
An avid knitter, coffee junkie, and devoted chocoholic, Allie Pleiter writes both fiction and non-fiction. The enthusiastic but slightly untidy mother of two, Allie spends her days writing books, buying yarn, and finding new ways to avoid housework. Allie hails from Connecticut, moved to the midwest to attend Northwestern University, and currently lives outside Chicago, Illinois. The “dare from a friend” to begin writing has produced two parenting books, fourteen novels, and various national speaking engagements on faith, women’s issues, and writing. Visit her website at www.alliepleiter.com or her knitting blog at www.DestiKNITions.blogspot.com
If you know me, the answer is obvious–I love knitting. I love it so much I even have a whole blog (DestiKNITions.blogspot.com) devoted to it. That’d be a lovely reason if I were writing for only me or my knitting buddies (which are legion, I assure you!), but that’s not enough to sustain a book. I needed to be a little less objective in my choice of plot device.Knitting actually makes a great deal of sense in this romance. It’s the last thing arrogant Army captain John Gallows thinks he ought to be doing. Even if boys need to knit to meet the demand for Red Cross socks for soldiers, he’s a decorated hero, not a grandmother. Still, he needs something from the Army, so he submits to what they need from him: to play up the heroic nature of knitting. Rest assured, he’ll put his own spin on this “bad bargain” and make sure he comes out the victor.
Nurse Leanne Sample, on the other hand, takes her yarn and needles very seriously. As a new nurse, she’s discovering her worth in the world. The roles of women changed dramatically during WWI, and Leanne is on the crest of that wave. Leanne learns that she is stronger than she thinks, and she’ll give this mouthy captain “what for” until he toes the line–or turns the heel, in this case. Knitting is no longer “women’s work.” The socks become their battleground.
And a great battleground it is! Knitting forces John and Leanne to talk, to touch, and to learn how to deal with each other. It puts them at odds but in close quarters–and that’s a recipe for flying sparks! John must learn to value what Leanne feels is important, and Leanne must learn why John’s pain runs so deep. Both of them learn that it’s not really about the socks, but God’s perfect partner for them as he “knits” their souls together through a life-and-death crisis.
Because, after all, socks come in pairs.
Love Inspired Historical
Back cover copy:
Dashing and valiantly wounded, Captain John Gallows could have stepped straight out of an army recruitment poster. Leanne Sample can’t help being impressed—although the lovely Red Cross nurse tries to hide it. She knows better than to get attached to the daring captain who is only home to heal and help rally support for the war’s final push. As soon as he’s well enough, he’ll rush back to Europe, back to war—and far away from South Carolina and Leanne. But when an epidemic strikes close to home, John comes to realize what it truly means to be a hero—Leanne’s hero.
Researching the novel….did you really do that?! By Nancy Herriman I have had many folks ask what was the most interesting thing I’ve done while researching my historical novels. I presume they’re expecting (or hoping) I’ll answer: Spent a month … Continue reading →
Today my friend, Linore Rose Burkard has agreed to be my guest. She shares some great information on how to establish an on-line presence. She is also sharing info on her latest release, COACH AND FOUR: ALLISANDRA’S TALE. Thanks, Linore! Take it away!
I’ve Submitted My Book—Now What?
By Linore Rose Burkard
First of all, if you’ve finished a book and begun to submit it to carefully researched publishers, congratulations! Most people never finish the book they dream of one day submitting. But don’t think your work is done. In some ways, it’s just beginning.
Assuming that you’ve written the best book you are capable of, your focus needs to shift from writing to establishing yourself online. This is not to say that you should stop writing. Once you submit your work, in fact, it’s a good idea to move right onto the next project, the next book. This keeps your creative juices flowing, and in the event a publisher does like your work, it won’t be long before they’re asking to see what else you have.
On the other hand, editors and publishers like an author to have an online presence, or platform. If it comes down to a choice of publishing only one of two authors, one of whom is well established on the web, and the other isn’t—chances are they will choose the one with a web presence. Why? Because the writer who has been networking with other writers, creating a website or blog, interacting with readers, and so on, will likely to be better able to market their work once it is published. Better marketing leads to better sales, and let’s face it: without good sales our publishers can’t stay in business! Authors today are expected to be partners in the work of marketing and promoting their books.
So, what to do? Where to begin? Here’s my top five steps to establish yourself on the web.
1. Get a website or blog.
It’s best to have a website where you can post examples of your writing, book covers, reader testimonials, a media kit, and a bio, among other things, but if you can’t afford a decent website, better a blog than nothing.
Using a free blog hosting service like BLOGGER is okay, (it’s industry standard), but don’t use a free website where the host name intrudes on your domain name. (ie., JaneWriter@freewebs.com) You want your name (or pen name if you’re using one) to stand alone. After all, it’s your name as a writer that you want to impress people with, not your choice of web server. So make sure you can get the domain of “JaneWriter.com” and nothing else. My website, for instance, is LinoreRoseBurkard.com. Period.
For your blog, it’s a good idea to use your name as well, particularly if you don’t also have a website. Your goal is to make it as easy as possible for people to find you on the web—if an editor or agent likes your submission, I can almost guarantee the next thing they’ll do is put your name in a search engine like Google’s and see what comes up. They want to know about you, the person they may be interested in publishing or agenting. If they have to jump through hoops to find anything on you—or worse, come up with nothing at all–that says you haven’t established a healthy web presence.
2. Get a professional headshot of yourself.
A professional photo is an utter necessity for a writer who wants to be viewed as a professional. You’ll need this photo for your website, blogs, social networking sites, and just about anywhere you can set up a profile page on the web; not to mention your publisher will need it for promotional purposes, the back cover of your book, and perhaps their own website. This is not the time to pull out your favorite family vacation picture, no matter how good you think it makes you look! Unless it is a close-up of your head (face) and is very good quality, chances are it will broadcast to the world that you aren’t a professional—the very thing you want to avoid! So, even if you go to your local Wal-mart for the photo, get it done.
2. Use Email as a Tool
Another component of a professional writer’s arsenal is a dependable email account that reinforces their image. Don’t use Juno or other free servers unless they are very dependable and won’t suddenly cause your inbox to vanish, for instance, if you go over their quota.
Instead, your email address should reflect your professionalism. Don’t use a cute email addy to try and get a smile. If you want your name to be known, your email is another chance to get it out there—every time you hit the send button! My email for all business is Linore@LinoreRoseBurkard.com (through my website server). This tells recipients not only my name, but my website address. Every email can also be a free advertising opportunity because you will craft a signature tag to function as one. My signature tag includes my full name, website URL, Blog URLS, and can also feature my book’s title, a phone number, or anything I decide to put in it. You can do this, too.
3. Start Growing A List
Whether you use a website or blog, you need to set up an “email capture system.” Don’t worry—they’re fairly easy to come by. This is the little box where people who visit your site can enter their email and sign up for your updates or newsletter. (Yes, you may have to start a simple newsletter!) Having a group of readers who like what you write, and sign up to get more of it is a big plus to publishers or agents. It means you’ve already got a start on that all-important aspect of marketing—finding your audience.
4. Write Articles and Book Reviews
When you write an article and distribute it to article banks (this is free to do), you will include a brief bio—carefully crafted to include your website or blog URL and an offer to sign up for something free—which is equivalent to leaving your “calling card” wherever these articles are posted. Ezine editors and bloggers are always looking for free content and turn to article banks for fodder. When your article is used by them, you reach a whole new audience you would never have gotten your name in front of otherwise. Your articles then, are free promotion. Write them well (anything you post on the web should reflect your professionalism and may be read by an agent or editor) and you will gain readers and add to your email list.
The same goes for book reviews. If you have the time, read other books in your genre and then post a review on Amazon, ChristianBook.com, and other popular review sites. You don’t get a bio box when you do this, so use the “ID” as a place to advertise who and what you are. For my Amazon reviews, for instance, I use “Linore Burkard, Inspirational Romance Author.”
People can click on it and find out more about me and my books if they want to.
5. Join! Comment! Participate!
Every serious writer should join a good writers’ group. Online, I know of no better one than ACFW—The American Christian Fiction Writers. You’ll find critique partners, candid advice from seasoned authors, and can ask questions to your heart’s content. In addition, you’ll be making all important contacts. As you get to know others, guess what? They are getting to know you! Your signature tag will help them click through to your sites. Your email list will grow. When they like you they may want to buy your book (once it’s published, of course.)
And in the meantime, you’ll be learning and growing in ways you just can’t do when you go it alone. Opportunites abound on these lists, from entering contests, joining other blogs, taking online courses, and forging friendships.
You should also join other social networking sites, and always, always, set up your profile page as the professional writer you are. Every time you leave your name and website URL on a social network, or anywhere on the web, for that matter, it’s like “stamping” that place with your presence. Remember the old “John Doe was here?” Today, you want to do more than that–when I leave a comment on a blog, or a remark on a network, I’m saying, “Linore the romance author was here.” And letting people know where to find me.
The Web has enormous power to help you get the word out about you and your writing. Use it for its full potential, and you’ll find yourself with a healthy platform to impress an editor or agent and stir interest in your work!
Purchase Link: COACH AND FOUR: ALLISANDRA’S TALE
“We’ll make it a trade, then,” Lord Dorchester said. “A kiss for a man’s life; ’tis more than fair.” She seemed unconvinced.
“An’ what could be troublin’ you about a kiss, eh? You surely don’t believe it will mar your mighty virtue.” There was a hint of resentment in his words, and she eyed him curiously. “Does a kiss mar the virtue of a good woman? I put the question to you,” he said, in his light but compelling tone. When she was silent, he added, “Can you really think it so?”
“Yes!” She had to defend her stance. “Yes if—if–”
“No! It does not, it cannot.” Suddenly there was a great deal more feeling in his voice. “And therefore I give it to you, that you are bound by duty and honour to fulfill my simple request, as I give you a man’s life in return!”
She looked at him doubtfully, and made no move to comply.
“Indeed.” He went to the door and opened it enough to shout, “Kill the earl!”
“Wait! No! I beg you!” She was shocked, thinking he had only been in jest. When he looked back at her expectantly, she added, “I will …comply…with your request.”
He cried, out the door, “Change that! Don’t kill anyone!” He came and sat beside her once again. “Is it a trade, then?”
She eyed him narrowly. “Do you like to kiss so well that you must hazard a man’s life to do it?”
“No, luv;” He gave her a lopsided, boyish smile. “I hazard a man’s life so you will do it. Now, if you please,” and he again patted his lap.
My friend Mary Manners is here today to share a very inspiring post. Mary’s new book BURIED TREASURES was just named as a 2011 CAPA Nominee…a very high honor indeed. At the end of her blog, you’ll find a blurb for BURIED TREASURES, published by White Rose Publishing. You can learn more about Mary and her wonderful books by visiting her website at www.MaryMannersRomance.com Thanks, Mary for being my guest author today!
Marathons, Manuscripts and Mothers
As 2012 gets off to a start, I’m sure most of you have made New Year’s Resolutions. Are you sticking to yours? If not, maybe this will jump-start your engine.
What do the three M’s…Marathons, Manuscripts and Mothers have in common? Well, as a former marathon runner, I’m convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that the countless hours of running and training during my marathon days prepared me for the other two.
Marathon running is a solitary endeavor that requires 100% dedication, commitment, follow-through and sacrifice. You have to run when you don’t feel like it…when your legs ache and your heart feels like it will leap right out of your chest, when the weather is hot, humid, cold, rainy or just plain dismal. You run in the light, in the dark, and when a strong north wind tries to sweep you right off the path. You keep your focus, and stay true to the goal. There’s no turning back…only looking forward.
The same can be said of writing. It’s a mostly-solitary endeavor that requires 100% dedication, commitment, follow-through and sacrifice. After all, what reader would enjoy a book that has no ending…no plot, direction, or character arc? What publisher would pay for such a book? So you write even when you don’t feel like it…when your friends are going to the movies or out to dinner, when you’d rather read than plot, when warm rays of sunshine beckon from your office window and your heart longs to run and play. You write early in the morning when the rest of the world is sleeping and late at night when the rest of the world is sleeping. You write when the refrigerator beckons you to have just one more snack. And when writer’s block strikes you push through it instead of pushing away from the desk, no matter how painful.
Being a mother…well, sometimes it’s a solitary endeavor that requires 100% dedication, commitment, follow-through and sacrifice. Saying no to a child has never made any mother popular. You overlook your own needs to care for your child. You mother early in the morning, late at night, and every hour in between. You stay strong when the storms of terrible two’s and the teenage years rage, when you see your life flash before your eyes while teaching your teen to drive or your toddler throws a tantrum in the grocery store check-out line. Along the way, you enjoy and savor rays of sunshine that peak through the chaos. You mother when you’d rather take a warm bubble bath or curl up with a book instead of cooking dinner or playing the hundredth hand of Old Maid or Go Fish.
My life’s journey has been a blend of the three M’s. My daughter will enter college next August. We’re in a period of countless changes. The child I once drove to basketball practice and choir rehearsal now chauffeurs me. I have learned, depending on the day (sometimes even the hour), that I know nothing…and everything. Recently, a college friend of mine sent a photo that was snapped our sophomore year (1982). Looking at the photo, I thought my daughter was staring back at me. Was I ever that young, thin and…unwrinkled? My daughter took one glance and gasped, “Mama, is that really you?” as if I could have never—possibly—been that smiling young woman in the picture. And, after a good laugh, I thought about the passage of time and how happy and truly blessed I am to have experienced the three M’s…Marathons, Manuscripts and, especially Motherhood.
BLURB: When Caroline flees Chicago following the brutal murder of her husband, the last thing she expects–or wants–is to fall for Matt Carlson, a builder with strong roots in the small town of Mountainview, Tennessee. She needs to focus on raising her six-year-old daughter and protecting both their hearts from ever being shattered again. Matt is struggling with issues of his own…guilt over the death of his wife and the responsibility of raising a cynical teenaged nephew who is dropped on his doorstep, abandoned by Matt’s alcoholic sister. He doesn’t have time to fall in love, yet he can’t help being drawn to the woman who is ready to defend her home–and her daughter–with nothing more than a fiesty attitude and a broom handle. Can Matt’s help and friendship convince Caroline to trust again…and when Caroline’s daughter goes missing, will Matt be able to find the girl before it’s too late and he loses everything he loves…again?
God is amazing. In December, HIDDEN PATHS was released. (Book info below) Little did I know I’d soon be facing my own hidden path. Let me explain a bit by sharing the blog post I wrote the first week of January…
It’s a new year! Don’t you just love fresh starts and new beginnings? It’s the one time of year where I sit down and take stock of what has been accomplished and what I’d like to see accomplished.
This year I had a shocker. As I sat down to write goals and pray over my writing and what direction God wants me to go in, God showed me something that still has my head spinning. You know, I’ve always said that I wanted to write to be a pen in God’s hands — to touch other’s lives and encourage their faith. I believed that, and yet, gulp… I found myself judging my success (or lack of) by the numbers of books I sold. In fact, so much so that I’m ashamed to say, I became addicted to checking my books rankings at least once a day and sometimes five or six times – within a 24 hour period. (I know – nothing like overkill!) Why is it so easy to get our eyes off the goal and become so sidetracked?
I knew I was going to need some help. I told my husband and one of my sons, who was sitting with us at that time, about my desire to lay my books, once again, at the foot of the cross. It is still my desire to allow God to use them however He sees fit. I asked Glenn and Jonathan to help me stay accountable. They gladly said yes and we made a deal. So, this is what we came up with… if I look at my books more than once a week, I need to wash and dry the dishes when it’s their turn. And you know what? Granted, we’re only three days into the year, but it’s kept me on track so far.
I realize without Christ, none of my “work” has eternal value. For 2012, I want to have a soft heart towards God. I want to completely give my writing – any and everything I do — to Him. And if He wills, and it’s time to move on from writing to something different, I want to be willing to give it up. For I know that when I’m walking in fellowship and obedience – that’s where He will be able to use me to be His hands and feet and bring about His purposes in my life.
What does that mean for my writing goals for 2012? Well, I’m going to finish the contracted project I have now and then I plan on just waiting on the Lord. I’m confident that He will direct my path. With a new project in the works or not, if I can keep my eyes fixed on Him, it’s going to be an awesome year!
Perhaps today you’re facing decisions for direction like I am (and the main character in this novel.) I’d like to encourage you to seek God and follow His direction. He’ll get you where you need to go.
Photo taken on our trip to Mexico this summer. (Yet another “path” I would have never envisioned for myself! ) Even though I don’t speak Spanish, I had the opportunity to share my testimony at the mission church. The woman next to me was my interpreter.
Hidden Paths a YA Inspirational Romance
Julie Hemmingway, a recent college graduate, is preparing to leave for the mission field. When she meets Adam Jacobs, her well-organized plans begin to go awry. Will she fight to hold onto her own agenda, or open her heart to a new – yet, Hidden Path?
Staying in Vermont on the family farm wasn’t what JULIE HEMMINGWAY had envisioned for her life. After all, she had just spent two years at the community college in preparation to join a mission agency to use her nursing skills overseas. However, those plans quickly change when her father suffers a massive heart attack and dies. Out of necessity, she stays at home to help her mom manage the farm.
To help make ends meet, Julie accepts a new job at a construction company where many unexpected things happen, including working with the handsome, ADAM JACOBS. Will Julie learn that she can trust in God and the path He has planned for her life – even when it looks totally different than what she expected?
Purchase Link for Hidden Paths also available at B&N and Amazon.com
Julie Hemmingway’s thoughts centered on one thing — and one thing only — the letter which had arrived yesterday. Her dreams were coming true at last. She hummed a little Christmas tune and pushed her cart to the return rack. Scooping up her bags, Julie turned to walk out of the grocery store. The next thing she knew, her face was planted against a wool sweater and a coat’s zipper. The paper bag filled with groceries crushed against her midsection with a sickening crunch. Thankfully, with a firm grip, she somehow managed to hold onto the second bag. She stood stunned for a moment. Please tell me I didn’t just run into the person behind me.
“Are you okay?” His warm bass voice vibrated through his chest and beat against her cheek.
So much for that wish. Julie wrapped her arm tighter around the bag resting between them to prevent it from plummeting to the floor and pushed herself back.
The guy gently gripped her forearms to steady her. “I’m sorry. I should have been paying closer attention to where I was going.” He pointed with his thumb toward the colored lights twinkling merrily in the window. “I was looking at the decorations. They’re amazing.”
Julie let her gaze travel up until she met his blue eyes. The second bag, which had managed to escape the fiasco, slipped out of her grasp. She looked down in horror at the mess on the floor. “Oh man, it looks like I just did some decorating of my own — but not the pretty or festive kind.” She groaned. “I think that bag had my eggs.”
“If that’s the case, they’re now scrambled.” He took the bag, with lettuce spewing over the side, away from her and stepped back to assess the damage. “Or at least, sunny-side up.”
Julie grinned at his quick wit as she kicked loose coffee beans off the top of her shoe.
With a crooked smile, he introduced himself. “I’m Adam.” Before Julie could tell him her name, he plucked a piece of lettuce draped over her sleeve like a scarf. “I must say, these lovely, um… accessories, don’t do your beautiful coat justice.”
“What a great story – and so true of how we serve God! How often do we serve Him by doing something we think He wants without seeking Him in prayer first? Usually it’s only to find out it’s OUR choice, not what He wants… It’s amazing to see how God works in the lives of these two – just like He works in the background of our lives.”
Donna Basinow — Reader — Posted at Amazon
Rating = 5 Stars
About JoAnn:JoAnn Carter writes stories that will encourage your faith through inspirational fiction novels and novellas. She resides in Vermont with her wonderful husband and four children. JoAnn is available for speaking engagements to book clubs, reader groups, library groups, womens’ ministries events, school events, and church retreats.
You can find JoAnn online here:
Today’s guest author is Pamela Thibodeaux. We had time for a few interview questions as I was very interested in how she came up with the concept for her newest book THE VISIONARY. Pamela is a Christian author who writes … Continue reading →
The day after Christmas, I’m ready to take down the tree and decorations and restore my house to its normal state. The family festivities are over and it’s time to get back in the groove of cleaning, exercising and writing. … Continue reading →
Jennifer Slattery writes for Christ to the World Ministries, Internet Café Devotions, the Christian Pulse, and Samie Sisters and is the marketing manager of the literary website, Clash of the Titles. She loves seeing people experience the life-changing love of Christ. Visit her devotional blog, Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud http://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com.
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A while back, after one particularly crabby day, my daughter looked at me and said, “You forgot to pray today, didn’t you?”
Standing in our kitchen, schooled by a child, I realized how much truth she packed in that statement. Amidst the hustle and bustle of my day, I’d inadvertently left God out of the equation, and it showed. The peace that surpassed understanding? Forgot to grab hold of it. The strength made perfect in weakness? Missed that one, too. By neglecting to connect with my Power-source, I’d trudged through my day ill-equipped and overwhelmed.
Our “pick yourself up by your bootstraps” generation tells us to work harder, strive longer, grit your teeth and get it done, but God flips that. He says, “Slow down and come to me, and let me guide you through life’s hurdles.” God never intended for us to walk through life alone. He’s always there, watching, ready to help us move from stress to peace and fear to victory. All we need to do is abide. He’ll take care of the rest.
The 19th century theologian, E.M. Bounds, said, “The men who have done the most for God in this world have been early on their knees. He who fritters away the early morning, its opportunity and freshness, in other pursuits than seeking God will make poor headway seeking Him the rest of the day. If God is not first in our thoughts and efforts in the morning, He will be in the last place the remainder of the day.”
Fritters away the morning. When I neglect my prayer time, that’s what I do. Run around, expending a large amount of energy, accomplishing little. And yet, when I take the time to pause and connect with God, He stills my heart, fills me with truth and clarity, and helps me navigate through the chaos of my day.
I’ve learned when it comes to my relationship with God, the age-old phrase, “It’s about quality, not quantify” rings true. As a mom, most days I don’t have the time to lock myself in a prayer closet, but I do have snippets of time sprinkled throughout my day that can be grabbed and cherished. It’s about recognizing and catching those continual God-moments.
Most often, it’s a mind-set, a realization that God’s there, ever-present. It’s about inviting God to do life with me, whether I’m cleaning toilets or singing praises. Because I’m easily distracted by the here and now, I often use little reminders to help me pause and focus on God.
I tape notes on my steering wheel with a verse or a prayer request. This turns the countless minutes spent waiting at stoplights into cherished God-moments that add peace to the rest of my day.
I set reminders on my phone. When the alarm chimes, I pause for a minute or two to talk to God or remember a verse from my morning Bible reading.
I tape a challenge or “life-change” verse on the inside of our door so that I can pause to commit my day to God each time I leave the house.
I ask God for help turning my day over to Him, clinging to the promise of James 4:8 which says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” This reminds me that God is always there, whether I feel His presence or not.
And finally, I toss out all-or-nothing thinking that tells me prayer must be formal to be effective. When thinking of my relationship with God, I’m often reminded of my marriage. It doesn’t take much for my heart to connect with my husband. On his days off, I enjoy just having him around, whether we are talking or co-existing. It’s about doing life together and knowing we’re united.
I believe our spiritual walk can be strengthened if we view it in the same way. God loves it when we carve out time in our busy day to rest at His feet, but He longs for more. He wants to be a part of our entire day. He’s already there, watching us, loving us. The goal, then, is to recognize His presence, grab hold of it, and cherish it.
© 2013 - Carol Ann Erhardt
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