Time in a Bottle – WHAT?

Time is something that none of us really have enough of. But why would I, as the old song goes, store time in a bottle? Does the artist truly think that would be enough? I certainly don’t! I am thankful that my God is not bound by time as we know it. But still….why does it seem like I just don’t have enough in this life?

Each one of us on this earth has been allotted the same about of time each and every day. But why does it seem like some people accomplish more? Are they all smarter than I am? Possibly. I just need more time to take care of my family, clean my house, go to my doctor’s appointments, make sure my family gets to their doctors’ appointments, spend time with my dad – acting as his advocate, spend time with my mom at her house – helping her accomplish things that she cannot physically do alone, work on my writing project, and try to establish my business as an editor. And on top of all of this, still maintain a full-time job. Oh, and don’t forget that I also need to sleep. Can it even be done?

I wake up every morning, stressed over the day because I never seem to have enough time to accomplish everything that I feel needs to be done. I know many have that same stress. I KNOW that the Lord is in control. I KNOW that He is the Creator of time. I KNOW that He will accomplish things with or without me. And yet…

And why does it seem like some must spend ALL their time fighting for their life? I think of my precious father who is confined to his hospital bed, sometimes fighting for his breath, sometimes in excruciating pain, sometimes without a single person to be with him. He is using every minute – every second – of his life, fighting to be able to live one more day, to be able to wonder how he will find the time to mow the grass, take the car to the shop, and shop for groceries.

And yet, my sweet daddy KNOWS that the Lord has him in the palm of His loving hand. He KNOWS that the Lord is present with him through every needle prick and every beep of the monitors. He KNOWS that the Lord watches over him when he tries to rest enough to fall asleep. And yet…

The older I get I realize time is so precious. I think most young folks don’t understand the complexities of time. They live each day, doing what they think needs to be done, without a care in the world. Not understanding that some of us older folk would relish a day of high school, even if we still don’t understand that Algebra problem! Time is certainly precious and each one of us is given a certain amount of it on this earth. We are to be, as in everything else in life, a good steward of the time we have. We each have twenty-four hours each day, but some have more years than others in order to accomplish what we have been placed on the earth to accomplish.

So, what is to be done? I know what the answer is, but for most of us it eludes us since we want to be the master of our time.

Here’s the solution –

Before we even get out of bed in the morning I must acknowledge that every minute given to me is the Lord’s. I am merely a steward of it. Then, I must ask the Lord to impress upon me what things are not in His plan to accomplish that day. He will make a way to complete those tasks that He deems are priority. How do I know this? Because I have actually done this before and it HAS worked.

I don’t want to put time in a bottle, I want to put time in the hands of the One who created time.

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“Angels Unaware” by Rachel J. Good

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Click here to purchase your copy.

My Review:

I have always wondered about the topic of entertaining angels unaware. Where do they come from? What would they do? How would they help? This wonderful story explore the subject in a way that will prompt every reader to wonder, “What if?”

A hurting soul that lashes out at those around her finds comfort in the Word. A young boy, seeking guidance, finds friendship in a neighbor. A man seeking answers to some tough questions finds inspiration in a stranger. An elderly woman finds that age doesn’t matter when it comes to being able to help those in need of wisdom. Each life in this small community is touched by others within its confines.

I love reading about small towns and its residents. Getting to know these characters and discovering what they have to offer, not only each other, but the reader, is wonderful! I wanted to laugh, cry, cringe (on occasion), and shout “Amen!” After reading “Angels Unaware” I find myself looking for the Lord in others, counting words of godly wisdom as His words, and finding ways to love others the way Christ loves us.

Thank you Rachel J. Good for this beautiful story!

**I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author through CelebrateLit. All opinions are my own.**

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Book: Angels Unaware

Author: Rachel J. Good

Genre: Inspirational Romance; novella

Release Date: November 22

Sometimes God sends angels into our lives…

Chocolate chip cookies are the perfect way to make friends. At least, Mark Daniels thinks they are. He hopes to forget his painful past and start over in new neighborhood. Everyone is warm and welcoming—everyone that is, but the dragon lady next door. She rebuffs all overtures of friendship and declines Mark’s invitations to church.

Jasmine Avery doesn’t trust men, especially not handsome ones who come bearing gifts. She’s been badly hurt and has walled herself off from love. Reluctantly, she agrees to attend church with Mark on Easter Sunday, not realizing how it will change her life and her future. But soon after she discovers the secret to a happy life, her whole world turns upside-down. Will these unexpected changes prove Mark can’t be trusted either? Or can she and Mark overcome their past heartbreaks to forge a new life together?

About the Author

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Inspirational author Rachel J. Good writes life-changing, heart-tugging novels of faith, hope, and forgiveness.She is also the author of the Sisters & Friends Amish series and the Amish Quilts Coloring Book. A former teacher and librarian, she has more than 2300 articles and 30 books in print or forthcoming under several pen names. Rachel also juggles freelance editing and illustration careers. She loves reading (of course!), traveling, and spending time with her five children and three grandchildren.

 

Guest Post from Rachel J. Good

One of the important lessons in ANGELS UNAWARE is looking beyond the surface, seeing with new eyes. In the story, Mark has many opportunities to do this. When he first approaches Jasmine with a plate of chocolate chip cookies, she’s unwelcoming and prickly:

The door opened a crack. “What do you think you’re doing?”

Mark turned. The woman’s narrowed eyes and belligerent stance made him quake. He took a step back. “I…um…here…” He held out the plate of cookies.

“What’s that?”

Mark took a deep breath and regained his composure. He smiled and started his usual spiel. “Hi, I’m Mark Daniels, and I just moved into the neighborhood—”

“I know.” She didn’t sound too pleased. “That’s not what I asked. What’s that in your hands?”

Oh, these? I baked chocolate chip cookies and thought I’d share some with you.”

“Do you know what sugar does to your system?” she demanded. “I never touch sugar.”

That explained why she was so thin. So much for cookies then. Mark wracked his brain for another offering. “A meal perhaps? I make great spaghetti and meatballs.”

She drew back. “A meat eater? It figures.”

Oh, terrific. Mark cringed at the acid in her tone. He’d just offered a meat dish to a vegetarian. So much for his diplomacy mission.

After a start like that, many people would have given up. But Mark feels led to share God’s love with this neighbor, and he tries again and again. Eventually he discovers she’s hiding some deep personal pain. His persistence brings unexpected rewards to both of them.

I wanted to write this story because we usually avoid people who criticize us or hurt our feelings. Yet, often those who are unkind are actually aching inside. And they need God’s unconditional love and forgiveness, because only God can heal their pain and suffering.

After God touches Jasmine’s heart, Mark can see her softer, kinder side. And she’s proof of that saying, “An angel resides in every heart.”

Could your grouchy neighbor or critical boss be an angel in disguise? Maybe these annoying people have been sent into our lives to help build our character or to teach us a lesson. The Bible warns us to be hospitable to everyone, because we never know when we’ll come upon an angel “unawares.”

“Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Heb. 13:2 KJV

Each person you meet has been sent into your life for a reason. Sometimes these angels come into our lives in unlikely disguises. We don’t always realize their purpose until much later. Looking back, though, we can see God’s hand in the encounters.

Other times, we discover – like Mark did – that we’re supposed to be angels to those who are unkind to us. We may be the only ones who have ever touched their lives with God’s light.

Who in your life needs God’s love? Can you be an angel to that person?

Blog Stops

January 24: Blossoms and Blessings

January 25: autism mom

January 26: Books. Books. And More Books.

January 27: Moments Dipped in Ink

January 28: A Greater Yes

January 29: Carpe Diem

January 30: Petra’s Hope

January 31: A Baker’s Perspective

February 1: Christian Bookaholic

February 2: Karen Sue Hadley

February 3: Quiet Quilter

February 4: Daysong Reflections

February 5: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

February 6: His Grace is Sufficient

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away:

Grand Prize:

  • Angel bookmark
  • Battenberg lace angel pin
  • Trio of jade angels
  • Prayer angel with a “Worry” poem to remind you to pray about your problems
  • ANGELS UNAWARE ebook
  • Newest AMISH QUILTS COLORING BOOK (large print edition)

2nd – 4th Prize:

One copy of the ANGELS UNAWARE ebook

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post to earn 9 extra entries in the giveaway!

https://promosimple.com/ps/af23

 

 

Keeping it Humble

It has been a rough couple of weeks – on all fronts.

Medically speaking, everyone in my immediate family is struggling, including myself. And although we are all doing the best we can, we are certainly having to rely on the Great Healer. He has proven that He CAN heal, but we are all waiting to see if He WILL. You see, something I learned a few days ago is that no matter what I am going through, I should count it as a blessing to share in His sufferings. He, in His divine wisdom, can, and will, use whatever I am going through to help others who are also suffering.

Emotionally speaking, I have a LOT of stress. It is okay, though, because I know the Lord is in control. I am choosing to draw near to Him in these tough times. It is not easy to walk this life sometimes, but I know He is sovereign and will bring me through to the other side.

And the REAL HUMBLING part of the last few weeks….

On more than one occasion I have been told my work is “not all that.” Do you realize how difficult that is to hear? Well, many of you do. And maybe I am just now understanding the whole “being humble” thing. Maybe I had to go through everything I have in order to bring me to this point. Wow – it has only taken me thirty years to get to this point! Man, am I stubborn!

But seriously…..

I have been reevaluating my choices. Do I want to edit? Is it too difficult? Am I getting into the game too late? Is my writing THAT bad? Do I want to subject myself to bad reviews and brutally honest edits? Then I think about all of the successful people in this field and others. What made them successful? They kept going. They didn’t allow the negativity to squelch their pursuits. And the BIG thing……they remained humble. They used those difficult times to learn and grow – to better their craft.

“Lord, it is so difficult to be humble in this world. You know this. Please help me to focus on You and Your sovereign will. Allow me to strive to do my best for You. And if You bring folks into my life to show me where I am falling short, help me to graciously accept their words and seek to do better. Help me to keep my eyes focused on You so that my problems will be better seen through Your eyes. I love You, Lord.”

“Soar Like Eagles” by Teri Wangard

About the Book

Carol becomes a Red Cross doughnut girl, serving GIs and boosting their morale. Convinced wartime romances are doomed to disappointment, she attempts to avoid entanglements. She didn’t plan on Chet, the navigator who tempts her to throw caution to the wind.
Chet’s father and brothers always belittled him. As a squadron lead navigator, he longs to prove them wrong. He’s already been offered a terrific job with PanAm after the war. First he must survive his combat tour. Will he even have a future?

 MY REVIEW:

I just don’t even know where to start with this book! I was a little hesitant because I usually do not read much of this part in history. I am terribly unfamiliar with it. But I read it and I just could NOT put it down! I LOVED it! The way the author is so knowledgeable about this time period, made even the mechanics of the airplanes interesting!

The story of Carol and Chet is so sweet, the way they meet and talk, trying to get to know each other, never sure if they will see each other again – it is just so endearing. Carol is a strong woman who knows what the Lord is calling her to do and is not afraid to trust Him in the midst of the most harrowing of experiences. Chet is a man whose sense of loyalty to his crew members puts him in very vulnerable positions – having him perform roles that he isn’t familiar with and sometimes putting himself in harm’s way.

But the Lord always leads these two characters into situations where He can shine and where they must allow others to help them when they are dependent on others to do so. Their faith in God and their determination to overcome obstacles leads them back together, broken, and yet more whole than the first time they met.

This is just not a love story but a history of a grueling situation that shaped the world as we know it today. I HIGHLY recommend this book to everyone!

About the Author

Terri Wangard grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin, during the Lombardi Glory Years. Her first Girl Scout badge was the Writer. These days she is writing historical fiction, and won the 2013 Writers on the Storm contest and 2013 First Impressions, as well as being a 2012 Genesis finalist. Holder of a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in library science, she lives in Wisconsin. Her research included going for a ride in a WWII B-17 Flying Fortress bomber. Classic Boating Magazine, a family business since 1984, keeps her busy as an associate editor.

Guest Post from Terri Wangard

For the third book of my World War II series, I needed something to involve my main character with. At first I considered the train canteens, where volunteers laden with food met troop trains crisscrossing the country. That wouldn’t work though, because my navigator was heading overseas and I didn’t want a correspondence relationship. Besides, someone else had already written a novel about the canteens. Then I discovered the Red Cross clubmobiles.

The American Red Cross operated canteens on the home front and clubs and clubmobiles overseas during World War II to provide soldiers and sailors with a cup of coffee, a doughnut, and a bit of friendly conversation that gave the men a familiar connection with home.

Around the world, the Red Cross staffed permanent service clubs, traveling clubmobiles, and other recreational facilities. Service clubs provided refreshments, accommodations, and comfort and recreational activities wherever American troops were located overseas. In major cities, they offered meals, recreational activities, overnight accommodations, and barbershops and laundries. Some also provided sightseeing opportunities, touring museums, castles and cathedrals, and attending local theaters and movie houses.

Smaller clubs provided food in outlying areas near American military camps. The Red Cross also operated rest homes, often in stately manor houses in rural, tranquil locations overseas, for service personnel needing respite from the pressures of war.

To serve military sites in isolated areas, the Red Cross used clubmobiles in Great Britain in 1942 and later, the continent. Staffed by three American Red Cross women and a local driver in England, they visited several sites in a day, bringing refreshments, entertainment, and a touch of home to the troops in a foreign land. They used converted half-ton trucks and single-deck London buses, which featured kitchen equipment for making and serving doughnuts and coffee. Some carried phonographs and loudspeakers to provide music for the troops, and the women often danced with the servicemen. On the continent, the women had to drive and service their trucks.

Many American servicemen had never traveled far from home. At Red Cross clubs and clubmobiles in far-flung places around the globe, they received a connection to home and civilian life through friendly American women and familiar food. The Red Cross served a basic purpose of raising morale.

Carol Doucet of Soar Like Eagles was proud to be a Red Cross Doughnut Girl.

To purchase your own copy, click here

Blog Stops

December 8: Artistic Nobody
December 9: Daysong Reflections
December 10: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
December 10: Bukwurmzzz
December 11: Petra’s Hope
December 12: The Power of Words (spotlight)
December 14: Carpe Diem
December 15: Bigreadersite
December 15: Quiet Quilter
December 16: Christian Bookaholic
December 17: A Path of Joy
December 18: Jeanette’s Thoughts
December 18: Karen’s Krayons
December 19:  Simple Harvest Reads (Spotlight)
 December 19: A Greater Yes
December 20: Moments Dipped in Ink
December 21: Bibliophile Reviews

To celebrate her tour, Terri is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card and a signed paperback copy of Soar Like Eagles. Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/aa5f

“Time Trap” by Danele Rotharmel

Time Trap Kick-Off Package

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Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

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When problems arise during a field exam, Director Peter Matthews and Dr. Laura Nelson are sent through a time portal to investigate. While they search for their missing cadets, they encounter an enemy who is calculating and brutal—a mysterious nemesis who is holding a grudge against the TEMCO program. As Peter and Laura race to unravel clues directing them to their kidnapped cadets, their own survival comes into question. A deadly trap has been set, and they are forced to pit their wits against a serial killer who is intent on playing a deadly chess game through time itself.

My Thoughts:

Once again, I am amazed and confounded at the creativity and imagination Danele Rotharmel possesses. I am always wary of series books, because it just seems like the first book is always the best. But I should not have worried at all. “Time Trap” is out-of-this-time-and-space incredible.

Laura and Peter, in an attempt to rescue students from an assignment in the past, find themselves in situations where they not only learn about themselves, but each other. Their friendship blossoms and they must evaluate whether or not their relationship will be put each other in harm’s way. Characters from “Time Tsunami” appear and they weave in and around new ones. Friendships form, some are tested, and yet others die. Each character is thoughtfully written to the point where the reader can see themselves in some of them.

This book has elements of mystery, psychological thriller, romance, adventure, and comedy. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to be immersed in another world for a few days. I couldn’t put it down!

I received this book for free. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own

About the Author

Danele RotharmelDanele Rotharmel grew up with a love of the literary word, and by age five, she knew she wanted to be a writer. However, her life took an unexpected turn when a mysterious illness brought her close to death. Eventually, she learned that a low-level carbon monoxide leak from a faulty furnace in her home was slowly poisoning her. This poisoning triggered severe Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and partial amnesia.

During this time, the hardest thing she faced was a crisis of faith. She had to quit her job and stop going to church. She couldn’t write, couldn’t drive, and could barely remember who she was. To say she was upset with the Lord was an understatement. She began reexamining her faith in light of her illness, and eventually, she came to the firm conclusion that God is real, God is good, God is interested and involved, and God is trustworthy regardless of tragedy.

When her illness became even more severe, she was put into quarantine and could only talk to friends and extended family through the glass of a window. This quarantine lasted for seven years. During this time, she wrote the first six books in The Time Counselor Chronicles.

Danele currently lives in Colorado where she continues to write. Although her journey back to health was long and difficult, it provided her with the opportunity to grow closer to God and to write her books. For that, she is forever thankful.

You can learn more about Danele by visiting her blog at https://dragonflydanele.wordpress.com/

Guest Post from Danele Rotharmel

I’ve always loved to read, but I hate that horrible moment when a good book comes to an end. It’s torture saying goodbye to characters I’ve come to love. One of the best things about being an author is having control over your own stories. I wrote The Time Counselor Chronicles while I was extremely ill and enduring seven years of quarantine. During that time, I didn’t have control over many aspects of my life, but I did have control over my fictional characters. I found extreme pleasure in the fact that since I was the author, I didn’t have to say goodbye to the TEMCO crew—I could just write them another story.

 

Time Trap is the second book in my series. It can be read as a sequel to Time Tsunami, or it can stand alone. Time Trap was written for one reason only—I was enjoying myself, and I didn’t want to say goodbye to the people I’d created in Time Tsunami. And that’s why the other books in my series were written as well. By the time I finally sought publication, I’d completed six books. Writing, for me, was an act of pure enjoyment. When I began, I wasn’t thinking about publishers or reading audiences, I was simply thinking about what type of adventure I wanted to write next. My books brought me joy, and that was all that mattered. For years, I didn’t let anyone know I was writing. TEMCO was my personal world—my escape hatch from illness and pain. I was afraid that if I let others into my imaginary world, it would crumble away. As it turned out, the exact opposite was true. Knowing that people were enjoying my stories filled my life with incredible happiness!

I always fill my books with suspense, romance, action, faith, and comedy. I keep them clean, and I work hard to make them full of page-turning fun. Communication is such a wonderful thing. I love that fact that we can relay our ideas, hopes, and dreams to each other. My books are more than just stories, they symbolically chronicle the way I stood up to my illness and fought it. They speak about the value I place on love and friendship. They show that humor can be found even in the midst of great difficulty. And most of all, they demonstrate that a crisis of faith isn’t the end—it’s simply the first step to understanding God on a deeper level. Life isn’t easy, but I’ve learned that even in the middle of tragedy, God is faithful and trustworthy. That’s what each of my characters eventually learn, and that’s what I hope my readers will take away from my books.

Blog Stops

October 6: A readers brain

October 7: Simple Harvest Reads

October 8: Book Reviews From an Avid Reader

October 9: Through the Open Window

October 9: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

October 10: CTF devourer

October 11: History, Mystery & Faith

October 12: Pause for Tales

October 13: Blogging With Carol

October 14: Donna’s BookShelf

October 15: Carpe Diem

October 16: Petra’s Hope

October 17: henry happens

October 18: Vic’s Media Room

October 19: A Baker’s Perspective

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Danele is giving away a package that includes an autographed paperback copy of both Time Tsunami and Time Trap, a Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord” journal, a lovely coffee cup, and a 4X4 picture frame. Click here to enter: https://promosimple.com/ps/a5da

 

“How to Make Victoria Sponge” by Margaret Kazmierczak

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Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

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Victoria Sponge – a well-known cake? Maybe, but also a wife and mother of four children. Disorganized and chaotic, with obligations galore, sweet Victoria clings to God, her best friend who shares His amazing love with her. From tripping over a hoover left in the hallway to discovering her son’s desire to die because he is different, she journeys through her own Lent. Giving up is not an option, but saying ‘yes’ to God each day is. Tragedy and comical events follow Vicki through her week. Does Victoria Sponge rise through all the messiness that life offers or does she sink?

My Thoughts:

This book is probably one of the most uniquely-written books I have ever read. It reads almost like an autobiography of a woman who lives a prayerful life.

Victoria Sponge is an ordinary woman with an ordinary life, which so many women can relate to. Her struggles with every situation in which she finds herself is somehow refreshing to the reader when lived through prayer. Joys are multiplied, sorrows are shared, and pain is lessened by the presence of the Lord in each moment of her day.

The reader sees how openly Victoria communicates with the Lord in a pure and honest way. The Lord is not represented as a distant Being, but rather an intimate Friend Who never leaves and is a part of every moment of ever day of a believer’s life.

I received this book for free. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own

About the Author

pic-for-websiteBorn in England, Margaret Kazmierczak loves storytelling, but dyslexia made writing difficult. After marrying and birthing three children, she finally got around to it. She and husband Peter live in Dorset, United Kingdom with two daughters.

Guest Post from Margaret Kazmierczak

For those that know me cooking is not a talent that I am famous for. I follow the recipes, but for some unknown reason my cakes remain flat, albeit cleverly disguised with chocolate. My friends were, quite understandably, shocked that I appeared to have written a cookery book.

My friends let me introduce the Baker who inspired me to write, ‘How to Make Victoria Sponge’. His name is God the Father. This cook needs all the help she can get.

In 2010 God literally took me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to become vulnerable. He took away my health and job. An active middle aged woman reduced to a shell. For two years I struggled to come to terms with my condition. Then one night I prayed and asked what I was supposed to do now? The message was simple, “write a book”. Well I could think up a million and one reasons why not to write a book. I declared them one by one but God the Father was having none of it. He reminded me of WHO was commissioning me.

To say that my reading and writing skills were on a par with my cooking skills was an understatement. So I stopped questioning and listened to His answer. “I shall give you the ingredients and you provide the humour and story outline with your life experiences.” So Victoria Sponge was born. Not a cookery book per se but a recipe for a closer relationship with God the Father through story and petition.

This journey took two years, a long time to wait for a cake to rise! The proof, however, was in the tasting which for some time was bitter due to rejection. Then a sequence of events happened one after the other and ‘How to Make Victoria Sponge’ was cooked, oops, birthed. I have been blown away with the face to face reviews in England of the book. A Methodist minister used it to empower her congregation, to show them how even the simplest things in life can lead to a prayerful response.

Victoria known as Vicki, married to Bob, is a normal woman with four children. The book looks at a week in her life and compares it to Jesus’ Lent week. Many issues are explored through the pages. Vicki Sponge could be you or me and the response to each situation, a solution to your own challenges.

Without the Baker this book would end up like my cakes! The writing of it helped me to begin a new life and I hope it helps you to do so too if you read and journey through its pages.

Blog Stops

September 29: A Reader’s Brain

September 30: The Power of Words (spotlight)

October 1: History, Mystery & Faith

October 2: Bukwurmzzz

October 3: Artistic Nobody

October 4: Quiet Quilter

October 5: Daysong Reflections

October 6: Mary Hake

October 7: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

October 8: Simple Harvest Reads

October 9: Bibliophile Reviews

October 10: Petra’s Hope

October 11: His Grace is Sufficient

October 12: Onceuponatime

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Margaret is giving away a themed gift bag containing an apron, whisk, Bible, and a limited 1st edition paperback copy of How to Make Victoria Sponge! Click here to enter:https://promosimple.com/ps/a416

 

Reflection and Planning

Where has this year gone? Seriously, wasn’t it just last month we were complaining about the snow? Weren’t we just taking down the Christmas Decorations? Some of you might be feeling the same uneasiness that I do right now. Summer is here and before we know it, we will be planning the holiday events. It is a little dizzying, isn’t it?

I get a little sad thinking about all of the things that I wanted to accomplish and just never get around to them. I am frustrated by my inability to be realistic when setting goals for my year. I get remorseful thinking about the things the Lord has asked me to do and I have failed – yet again. This life, this frail, fleeting life is rough.

OK…this is a little deep for this early in the morning, I grant you. But I AM a morning person, much to the chagrin of my family and co-workers, and I happen to do my best thinking at this time. My creative juices are flowing and the synapses in my brain are on overload – now that the first cup of coffee has kicked in. So here is where I am going with all of this…..

……PLANNING.

I am a planner. I am an organizer (notice I didn’t say that I am organized). I love planners, and notebooks, and pens…OH MY!  I can never get enough. Combine that with my obsession of Pinterest and that is a recipe for ….SOMETHING….not sure what. But all I can say is my wallet cannot afford my obsessions. Come on….I AM a writer after all! Doesn’t a gal need notebooks?

Last year I wanted to satiate my desire for art, writing, and planning. I wanted to “create” my own planner and really USE it. I found the most expensive planners (just looked at them online, of course) and put a whole bunch of great ideas into ONE notebook. I thought I was being pretty clever. I spent all of about a week getting everything in to that notebook. I was so proud of myself. And I must say, I think I did a pretty good job for just throwing it together like that!

But here’s the thing…or a few things.

  • After a few months, I could see that the system I was using didn’t allow for the creativity I wanted to express.
  • I didn’t like the way it was set up.
  • There were lots of headers that I hardly used – most of them I never used.
  • I have wasted a LOT of space that I really wanted to use for something else, but I had already written on that page.

So, what I would like to do is spend the next several weeks going over my OLD system, showing you my mistakes, and then how I am GOING to to it. My goal in this is two-fold.

First, I want to show you, my readers, that we can ALL learn from mistakes. This life will ALWAYS have do-overs. Thank you, Jesus!

Secondly, I would like to teach you how you, too, can find a system that will work for you, if you take the time to figure out what you really need and want.

LESSON:

I am a writer and I tend to rush headlong into a project without REALLY doing all the preparation the way it is supposed to be done. Sure, I have an idea in my head and I may even write it out. But I get started with the story I am writing and I quit. Why? Because I didn’t take the time to really research and plan out and take notes and invest my time prepping. I thought I was smart enough, organized enough, talented enough, to just “do it.” HA!!! That is just setting myself up for failure, I have found.

But they will reply, ‘It’s no use. We will continue with our own plans; we will all follow the stubbornness of our evil hearts.’”
Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.
Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.
The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.

Prayer:

Lord, I have a tendency to continue to make my own plans without seeking guidance. Please forgive my lack of trust in your counsel. Please give me the wisdom to seek out godly counsel when called for, knowledge when that is called for, and You above all. I know that You are concerned for even the smallest details in my life, and that includes setting up a calendar/journal/planner as well as writing a book that you have called me to write.. Thank you for caring for me and being with me all the time. Amen.

So, will you join me on this little venture? Let me know in the comments section if you are wanting to do this with me. That way I will have some lovely faces to picture in my head when I start the blogs. Also, let me know if you are already doing some kind of journaling or planning and what system you like to use.

See you soon!

Petra

The Cleanser and the Mess

Sharing a  “shower-secret” seems a little revealing, but this morning, my time in the shower revealed a truth that has a deeper meaning.

I have a large bottle of cleanser on the top corner shelf of my shower stall. It is a facial cleanser that I use every time I wash my face. But I keep coming in and finding that it leaked and made a mess on the shelves beneath it. As I cleaned it off for the umpteenth time this morning, I got to thinking about how this seemingly innocent bottle was a reflection of my life.

The bottle is not at all full of product and yet it acts like it is too fuImage result for shower stallll to keep all of the product in its container. It looks at me, mocking me, as it drips it’s expensive content out as if to say, “So what are you going to do about it?” I get a washcloth and clean it up and watch another drop begin to form.

Pressure. That’s what it is. Just plain ol’ pressure.

I wasn’t very good in science in school, but what I do remember from some high school class is that when the pressure from the outside exceed the pressure pushing back from the inside, the inside goes “out.” Follow?

Of course you probably have already figured out what took me years to fully understand, but there it is. My life. The pressures in my life tend to be pressuring me to force things out of my mouth that really shouldn’t come out. Only, unlike the cleanser, the words that escape and drip, are not “cleansing”, they are sometimes mean and caustic. They harmful and regretful.

So, if I look to that bottle for the solution, what do I find. Well, I know thins might be a stretch, but allow me to run with my thought here. If I deliberately dispense what I need from that bottle on a regular basis, the dripping doesn’t happen as often, or at all. So MAYBE what I need to be doing is going to the “source” of the “cleanser” (the Word) on a regular basis and taking something from it so that when the normal pressures of life come along, the “bad” stuff won’t leak out.?

Yes, I know it’s a stretch, but that’s how my mind works.

Have a blessed day! And may the pressure of life be less than that pressure inside your spirit.

Petra

Name Origins

Many people have asked me about my name. What does it mean? Where does it come from? I usually give a pat answer.”It’s a German name and my mom is German.”  But I want to tell you where it really comes from, if you have a few moments.

The original word, “Petra”, comes from a Greek word that means a large, massive stone. There is even a city in Jordan by that name made out of, what else? ROCK. I have had many youth tease me about my name, once they found out the meaning of it, and ask me if I am as hard-headed as a rock, and I have gotten more than a little offended.

That was then. This is now.

Now I count it a blessing to have such a strong name. I come to think of it as having an inner determination, fortitude, and strength. I love my name.

But this morning I have a whole new appreciation for my name because my mom explained to me why she named me that. I thought that after fifty years, it might be time.

For those that are unaware, my mom is handicapped. I never really labeled her as such since that was all I had ever known. She lived in Germany in WWII and had an accident while getting to a storm shelter when she was about four. Long story short, she has never been able to walk like most people.  When she met and married my dad, the doctors all said that she would never be able to have any children. Mom was watching some show on German television in the early 60’s when she came across this news anchor/reporter who seemed so brave and stalwart. Come to find out, she was in a wheelchair. Her name was Petra. Mom told herself and my dad that if they ever had a daughter they would name her Petra after that very courageous woman who overcame so many obstacles in order to be the person she was. (I’m not telling the story as well as my mom did.)

Anyhooo……

Now that I know the REAL story of how I got my name, and add to that what the original Greek definition of my name is, I love it even more. Knowing that my mom thought it was a strong name, giving hope and courage, makes me want to throw my shoulders back and lift my chin a little higher. Yes, I get a little stubborn sometimes, but I represent a name that is full of determination and strength! Maybe that is why I have a fascination with all of the old castles of Germany? They are fortresses AND they are in my mother-country.

For those of you who may be wondering how to pronounce it: The German way is difficult for most Americans to pronounce. I have been, since living in the states, been pronouncing it “Pay-tra.”

And bringing this back around to my writing (because that is what I do)…well, I want to be even more careful when choosing the names for my characters. Because for the first time in my life I have the sole responsibility for giving my “book children” names that will be worthy of their character. A name that is befitting of them. And I have the distinct privilege of doing it AFTER they have been created. How cool is that?!?!?!

Follow-Up

For those that follow my blog, I thought I should give you an update on something that happened today.  It will move you as it did me, and it served as a confirmation to me from the Lord that my message is timely.

Today is Derby Day. And living less than 45 miles from Churchill Downs serves as an instant camaraderie between residents of this area in Kentucky. My co-worker and I had donned our hats and were chatting away in the office when I decided to read my most recent blogs to her. At first I read the one on Grandmothers and then I read the one on Moms. I had totally forgotten that there was a woman hidden behind my computer screen.

When I finished reading the blog I had written entitled “Mama Mia”, I heard sniffling. I peeked around the corner to find this woman crying. “I lost my mother about seven years ago,” she said.

I was flustered. I was upset with myself for making this woman weep in the middle of the office. I turned to my co-worker to see her response. She was more flummoxed than I was. Usually when I find myself in situations such as these I get chatty and say things that are nonsensical. Not this time. This time I just looked at her and held my tongue. Her pain was raw and I couldn’t say anything.

It felt like eternity, but it was only about fifteen seconds later that she continued telling us that she and her mother were very close and it was a sudden death. She had younger siblings that were too young to have remembered their mother as she had. She was the oldest and missed their mother the most. I could not express true empathy – I had never experienced the death of a parents, and frankly, I never want to. There was something so sweet about this woman, though. Despite her tears there was something drawing me in, keeping quiet, and allowing her to grieve a little.

“Your kids are awful.” She finally broke the silence. She continued to speak with more energy now, more indignation, at the way my kids had been treating me. That one day they would regret treating me so poorly and she said she hoped it wouldn’t be on my death bed that they recognized their abominable behavior towards me.

Now I was in tears. This woman had overheard my heart being poured out in my blog and had taken it personally. She had identified with me from an angle I had not considered. We were kindred spirits, this woman and I.

She left the office, but not before I came from behind my desk and gave her a big hug. She held me like she was holding on for dear life. She sobbed in my ear, “Happy Mother’s Day.” I returned the sentiment and she left.

The Lord validated me and my ministry in those few moments. He assured me that my blog-writing is not in vain. He gave me the confidence that even though I might be having a rough day and my writing may not be as “good” as a professional’s, He is using my availability in order to reach others. What a sweet Lord I serve.