personal, Social Media, Uncategorized, writing

Fearing Authenticity

mask
Yep, that’s me.

I have a confession to make. I’ve been in a slump this year, afraid to post on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. I’ve even been afraid to blog. Why is that, you ask?

I’m afraid to be me.

Since I’ve signed a publishing contract in April, I’ve choked at being just me. It’s silly, I know. But being an author and having to promote yourself as an author has me all twisted up in trying to be a “real author” — you know, someone who is serious about the business side of writing.

Don’t get me wrong. I am serious about writing and all it entails, but I miss being free to be just me. I love to laugh, not take myself seriously, and have fun with life. That includes all aspects of my life.

People talk about finding your “voice” in writing. If I can’t find my voice in real life and express that life (even on social media), then how can I ever find and free my voice in my writing? Indeed!

So this month I am focusing on authenticity. I want to be real. I want to be me — the real me. This should be fun, right?

When has your authenticity been stifled? Is it hard to be real, either in life or on social media?

Sherrinda Signature

 

devotionals, spiritual, Uncategorized

Standing Firm in Flexibility

flexible.publicdomainpictures.pixabayThe only thing that qualifies us as children of God is faith in Christ Jesus. If we believe in Him, we are a child of God.

This is the precursor to Philippians 4:1-3:

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long form, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends! I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women sine they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.

These two women, Euodia and Syntyche, disagreed about something and it was causing trouble in the church. Paul was pleading with them to stand firm…to stand firm on what though?

We need a firm foundation for our relationships in the church, and even outside the church.

We need to focus on the grace and love of Jesus as the basis of unity, which is necessary in the church. We need to stand firm in unity that puts others before ourselves.

So how do we do that? What steps do we take to find unity?

Be flexible.

Being inflexible can cause problems:

  • physically – our muscles atrophy and our joints become stiff
  • emotionally – bitterness and alone

If you cannot change, then you will find yourself all alone, bitter, and ineffective.

The Holy Spirit is our guide here. Jesus told Nicodemus the Holy Spirit blows wherever it pleases. Nicodemus thought he knew the law and what God was about, but he was wrong and needed to be able to change his thinking. He needed to be flexible.

Jesus was reprimanded for letting his disciples eat on the Sabbath and he had to remind the Jewish leaders that King David and his men ate consecrated bread from the priest. It’s okay to be flexible.

Peter was given a vision that it was okay to eat unclean meat. He had to be shown that flexibility was needed in order to save more souls. (The Gentiles would be included in God’s plan of salvation.)

In these examples, they had to question their religious foundation.

Is it a law or not a law? Or is the Spirit of God moving, urging us to be flexible? What is God doing and how is He at work in other’s lives?

Stand firm and be flexible. Is that an oxymoron? Actually, these aren’t necessarily opposite.

Stand firm in the way of Jesus – in grace, mercy, and love. Be flexible!

Don’t let anything pull you away from that wonderful grace and that fabulous love. If you pull away from grace and love in order to stand on law, being rigid and condemning, then you are wrong. Love always wins.

This unity that comes from being flexible must be guarded, and that comes from a commitment to embrace grace and love toward each other.

How will you commit to being flexible with those you disagree with? How will you show love and grace to those around you? 

***Based on John Ketchersid’s sermon June 3, 2018
***Photo credit: PublicDomainPictures at Pixabay

 

Sherrinda Signature

book review, Uncategorized

Review: Falling for You by Becky Wade

Falling for You_becky wadeMy book of choice to read on a recent trip was Falling for You by Becky Wade. Let me tell you, Mrs. Wade can write! I was swept up in the drama of lost love rekindled, a decades-old mystery unraveled, and the sweet camaraderie of sisters. Wade has a way of delving deep into the character, helping you truly get into these character’s skin. I was captivated.

Back Cover Copy

Famously beautiful model Willow Bradford is taking a temporary break from her hectic schedule to work as the innkeeper at her family’s small-town bed-and-breakfast. She was enjoying the peace of her hometown, Merryweather, Washington, right up until she came face-to-face with Corbin Stewart, the man she loves to hate. A thoughtful rule-follower by nature, Willow threw caution to the wind four years ago when she entrusted her heart to Corbin–and suffered the consequences when it all fell apart.

Former NFL quarterback Corbin is forceful, charming, and accustomed to getting what he wants . . . except where Willow Bradford is concerned. Unable to forget her, he’s never stopped regretting what happened between them. When their paths unexpectedly cross again, he’s determined to make her give him a second chance.

When a decades-old missing persons case finds Corbin and Willow working together, they’re forced to confront their past and who they’ve become–and whether they can risk falling for one another all over again.

My Thoughts

I enjoy old loves being rekindled and this one definitely did not disappoint. The depth of feeling between Willow and Corbin is tangible, heavy with the anger of past disappointment and loss, yet ripe with the still-present attraction. I loved the sparks between the two, the snarky dialogue, the witty banter, and the wearing down of walls between them.  Their chemistry is undeniable for the very first moment they are thrust together. Just delicious!

One of the things I love about Wade’s writing is the secondary characters and how they help to develop the overall plot and characterization of the hero and heroine. Each character helps Willow grow throughout the book and face herself…her fears, mistakes, her outward self verses her inward self.

There is a beautiful theme of forgiveness in this book – forgiving oneself and forgiving others. Wade beautifully weaves God’s truths into these character’s past hurts and sins, creating a beautiful blanket of hope and renewal and ultimately love. Falling for You is a heart-palpitating romance with unforgettable characters. Willow and Corbin are definitely a yummy couple.

You can purchase Falling for You HERE.

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?