devotionals, spiritual, Uncategorized

Holy Spirit: Peace, Purpose & Power

dove-2516641_640_cocoparisienne at pixabayJesus provides his disciples with peace, purpose, and power with just one thing: the Holy Spirit. That Spirit, the very breath of God, is full of promise to each believer.

After his resurrection, Jesus gathered his disciples close and said,

Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” John 20: 21-23

PEACE: Are you floundering in the mire of doubt? Are you in the midst of trouble or trials, whether it be healthwise, financial, or relational? Are you stuck in the rut of doing the same thing with no joy? The world gives peace only when everything is going right – the economy is good, there is no threat of war, all is right with the world. But that is not the peace Jesus brings. His peace is the kind of peace that transcends understanding (Phillipians 4:7). It guards your heart and mind against the evil one and fills you with a supernatural sense of well-being and trust in the One who has you in the palm of His hands.

Seek more of His Spirit and claim His peace.

PURPOSE: We all know John 3:16: For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. Jesus had a purpose and after the resurrection, he tells his disciples he is giving them the very same charge. He loves the world enough to save it. We have the purpose of loving others and sharing God’s love with them.

Seek more of His Spirit and love others as God did.

POWER: So often we feel limited by our own inadequacies.  We aren’t smart enough. We are too shy. We can’t talk to others easily. But Jesus gives power to those who believe in Him. He said to his disciples: “Receive the Holy Spirit.” Open your hearts to receive what He is giving so freely. There is great power in His Spirit. An interesting thing is that He slips in a note about forgiving others. “If you forgive anyone’s sin, their sin is forgiven.” Forgiveness is a power play that brings grace and mercy to those in need. So many cannot forgive themselves and as believers, we are called to bring peace and love to the world. If God’s people are not out in the world offering grace and mercy, who will?

Seek more of His Spirit and walk in this world with the grace and mercy of the Holy Spirit, full of power to accomplish God’s mission.

Some days it is easier to walk in the Spirit than others. How are you claiming His peace, purpose, and power in your daily walk?

 

***This post is a summary of John Ketchersid’s sermon on Sunday, April 8, 2018.

***Photo by cocoparisienne at Pixabay.com

book review

Review: The Unconventional Governess

Unconventional GovernessOoooo-lah-lah! I loved The Unconventional Governess by Jessica Nelson! The Regency era is one of my favorite eras in romance and this book did not disappoint in any way.

The heroine, Henrietta Gordon, is a fiesty, no-nonsense, intelligent woman who can hold her own in the midst of disappointment, gender discrimination, and loss. The hero, Lord Dominic St. Raven, is the new heir to an earldom, a handsome flirt who has a secret that could destroy his ability to take care of his beloved ward, his ability to hold on to his title, and ultimately his future with the one he has come to love.

I loved the growth of Henrietta and Dominic’s relationship. From instant dislike, to acceptance, to admiration, to love, these two sparked with electricity when together. Their feelings were so tangible and their chemistry undeniable. And Nelson can write a great kissing scene!

I have to say Nelson’s attention to the details of the time period were spot on. She completely captured the era and I hope she continues to write in the genre.

You can purchase a copy HERE.

personal, the call, writing

My Call Story – A Writer’s Dream Come True

In the writing world, getting “the call” is one of the highlights of the writing journey. Whether it is the call from an agent offering representation, or the call from a contest coordinator telling you that you are a finalist, or the call from an editor offering you a contract, the call is something to be celebrated.

Many of you saw on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram the pictures of me signing my new contract with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas for my medieval romance. I look excited, don’t I?

I thought I’d share the story of how “the call” came to be and the funny story of where I was when I received that call.

It all began when I was reminded about #FaithPitch on Twitter. (Note: There are several Pitch Days on Twitter where you pitch your story in 180 characters or less. If an editor or agent wants you to send them a query/proposal, they LIKE your pitch.) The day was February 28 and I had totally forgotten about it until a friend asked a group of us writers if we were doing it. It was early afternoon and so I pitched my medieval romance, The Lady’s Masquerade.

I checked Twitter off and on the rest of the day, but had no “likes” so I chalked it up to another good experience and moved on. Let me be honest here and say that out of all the social media I am on, Twitter is the one that I don’t check as often. So FOUR DAYS LATER, I check Twitter and lo-and-behold, I have a private message from Pegg Thomas (she is also an author) from Smitten, the historical line of the Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas! She said to send her a proposal and she would take a look at it.

Yikes! It had been FOUR days since she had reached out to me!

And how in the world do I do a proposal????

You writers out there are probably rolling your eyes, but I’ve never been asked for a proposal. A query I could do, but a proposal? So I got online and researched. I had a friend send me a sample one, which helped tremendously. I got busy on it and gave it to my critique group to look over. Bless their hearts, they got it back to me that same day.

I submitted the proposal and was asked for the full manuscript! Be still my heart!

And then I had to wait. Here’s the thing – in the writing world, nothing happens fast. Sometimes you submit your work to an agent or editor and it takes days, weeks, and even months to receive reply. I was prepared for a good long wait, so I got back to working on my second book, delving into the medieval world once more.

Tuesday, March 13, I went to the Dallas Arboretum with my friend and her two boys (I call them my “adopted” grand-kids.) It was a glorious day and we got to the section specifically for children. The older boy wanted to get in the Tornado Tunnel, a telephone booth sized tube that creates a mighty wind inside. I got inside with him, then my phone began to ring. I pulled out my phone and checked the number.

Could it be a contest win? I was a finalist in a contest, so I decided I needed to answer the call. I said “Hello” and a woman answered, but I couldn’t hear her name because the wind had started to blow. And boy, did it blow! I am a little sketchy on what was said here, because I was trying to get out of the tube so I could hear and explain to my friend I really needed to take this call.

Once I was out of the crazy wind, I realized it was Pegg Thomas again and my heart began to pound. You know that weird sensation when things are surreal and even though there is a lot of noise and commotion, you can’t hear it? Yeah…that was me. And throughout all the weird feelings and tunnel vision, I heard those fabulous words:

“We would like to offer you a contract for your book.”

Yep! A contract to publish my medieval romance! I really didn’t expect to get a medieval published, as it’s not really the “happening” genre right now. I truly expected to seek out a different time period to write. But I am so glad God had other plans for this story.

My dream of writing and publishing a book, which started in high school, is being realized. A dream put on hold as life, children, and jobs took precedence. A dream finally come true. Thank you, LPC, for taking a chance on me!

Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas is a small press publisher making waves in the Christian arena. With many lines, they are putting out award-winning books and creating buzz for excellence. Check out their books HERE. Also, if you love historical romance, join LPC’s Smitten Facebook Group to learn more about their books and their authors.

personal, silly

Living Life Young

I’ve been told I don’t look my age. I must have good genes, but I don’t think that is what makes me seem younger.

To be honest, I think it is because I love to laugh. I don’t mind looking silly. I don’t care if people laugh at me. Hey…I laugh at me. In fact, I record Dubsmash videos of myself and save them to my phone so if I’m down or discouraged, I can watch the videos and bring a smile to my heart.

I was going through some pictures the other day and thought I’d share some of my fun and silly photos.

 

I am married to a man who makes me laugh every single day. He is a kid at heart and I like to think I’ve absorbed some of his youthful spirit.

So laugh. Indulge in funny jokes, silly movies, and crazy pictures. Don’t care what others think. Just have fun. Life’s too short to just act your age. There’s no fun in that!

How do you stay young at heart?


musicals, review, theme

Beautiful Themes in The Greatest Showman

Have you seen The Greatest Showman? If not, then you should! Not only is it a beautiful, colorful cinematic display, but the music is inspiring and the choreography is spectacularly woven through the beat of the music. I have seen it twice and it gave me goosebumps both times.

One of the things I loved about this movie was a couple of running themes throughout. The first one was the theme of inclusion. Taking the marginalized and neglected and giving them a place to belong…a home to call their own and a family to care for and love them in their uniqueness. While some would argue that they were exploited…and indeed, it was that to some extent because of the misdirected focus of Barnum, but the circus became a place of belonging for the performers. A place of safety. A place they could be who they truly are and still be accepted.

This inclusiveness is the gracious way Jesus demonstrated in His life. He called fishermen and tax collectors to be his disciples. He talked to women because they were important. He went to the home of sinners and ate with them. He welcomed children into His lap. He healed the outcasts and touched the untouchables. He loved each and every one, just as we should.

The beautiful theme of inclusion should be a running theme in our life. 

Warning: Spoilers ahead!

The second theme I saw was the theme of the prodigal losing his way and returning home. Poor Barnum. He had such dreams of being significant. Of being someone that people respected and looked up to. In his success, he lost his way. He had everything – a family, money, a great house, a group of people who relied on him and loved him. And yet it wasn’t enough.

Barnum wanted more. He wanted to earn the respect of high society…those who looked down on his father and him his whole life. He wanted to prove his worth to these people who considered anyone different to be beneath them. So he took his wealth and sunk it all into promoting a world-class singer, making a name for himself. He is seduced by the glamour and the fame.

Yet when tempted by her, the singer, he wakes up, stands firm and returns home –  and loses everything in the process. She walks out on the tour and he loses his money, his home, and ultimately his family. The circus building burns to the ground and he is utterly lost.

There is a scene where he is drinking alone in a bar during the middle of the day. His troupe walks in, surrounding him, reminding him of why he started the circus, reminding him of the family he created and the home he had provided.

He was welcomed back into the family with open arms and loving hearts. And the rejoicing!!!! Whew! What a dance of celebration!

And don’t worry, the family is reunited as well. The wife is a beautiful picture of the Father figure in the prodigal story. She is there to tell him all she ever wanted was to be with him. To have a place in his life. To be loved by him.

And isn’t that a beautiful picture of God and His desire for us? He just wants to be in relationship with Him. To love Him and want to be with Him.

So if I haven’t totally ruined the story for you, I urge you to go and see The Greatest Showman. It is well worth the money! Let me know what you think about it!

one word, resolutions

A New Year, A New Start

Don’t you love the beginning of a new year? It is as if the slate of the past year has been wiped clean and the pristine slate is ready to be filled with new possibilities. It is energizing…hopeful.

The reason I’m so excited about this year is because I have completely turned my life upside down. The first of December I gave my notice at work at the elementary school where I was secretary. I know it probably is ridiculous to do so since the money was good, but sometimes it is not about money. It’s about quality of life.

So my plans for this year center around the One Word I have chosen for 2018.

CULTIVATE: prepare; grow and maintain; to try to acquire or develop; tend

VERSE for 2018: “You see, God blesses the ground that drinks the rain and then produces a bountiful crop for those who cultivate it.” Hebrews 6:7 from The Voice

I love having a word for the year that envelopes everything I choose to do. It forms my decisions and helps me to focus on what truly matters. This year I want to cultivate my life in a way that honors God and others.

I want to cultivate: 

  • spiritual health: read through the Bible, pray (really spend time listening), Bible journaling
  • relationships: spend quality time with husband, kids, family, and friends- date night, 1 night a month having friends over, reaching out to family and friends I’ve neglected
  • self-care: eat well, move every day (walk, yoga or dancing where no one can see me!), rest (reading, Netflix), play (1 afternoon a week to do something fun for me – see a movie, go to the library or museum, read in the park)
  • home and garden: Simplify (get rid of stuff I don’t need, use or like anymore), cleaning schedule, create beauty inside and out (huge plans for flowers in my neglected garden)
  • finances: budget, spending freeze, research Amazon store?
  • writing: write 2 books this year, bog 2 times a week, keep up the newsletter, write some short stories and submit, query agents
  • lettering/art: create something at least once a week, learn digitizing, possible Bible journaling course?, open Etsy store again?
There are so many possibilities, and now that I have time to explore the gifts God has given me, I’m excited to see what doors He opens and closes. 
What new plans do you have for the new year? Do you have a One Word? Resolutions?