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Puzzle Perceptions by Carol James

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. (1 Corinthians 13: 12)

As I sat studying the nearly completed puzzle, a gaping hole stared back at me. No matter how many times and ways I tried, the remaining pieces in my hand would not fit the open space. And to top it off, the box lid had been accidentally thrown away. Despite the hours of diligent work, I was not much closer to knowing what the completed puzzle should have looked like than I’d been before I started.

I’ve always enjoyed jigsaw puzzles. I love finding that singular treasure that has the special combination of “innies” and “outies” and colored design that make it the one and only piece that fits into the waiting gap. I love the sense of accomplishment and victory gained when each piece is correctly placed, the guesswork is over, and the whole reveals a beautiful masterpiece. However, little is more frustrating to a puzzle-solver than lost pieces and gaping holes.

In The Waiting, Katherine’s approach to life was somewhat like working a puzzle. She had all her pieces, everything she wanted, in hand. However, when she tried to place them where she thought they belonged, some didn’t fit correctly. Either their knobs were too small for the holes or the colors were a shade off. So after years of planning, dreaming, and arranging, she realized her puzzle, like mine, was flawed, incomplete.

How many times do we approach life like Katherine did? We are finite creatures, and we like finite solutions. We love beauty and stories that have happy, tidy endings. But life isn’t a math problem where A+B=C. Or a puzzle where all the pieces fit and make a beautiful picture.

Or is it? Paul reminds us in I Corinthians that our current ability to understand and perceive the divine is clouded. Yet, that cloudiness does not indicate a flaw or an omission. It simply means that as solvers, we are limited by our abilities to perceive reality.

So what do we do when life presents us with a puzzle we cannot solve? When some of the pieces seem to be missing or the box lid has been thrown away? While we may not be able to visualize the image of the completed puzzle on the box lid, it does exist. The fault is not in the puzzle, but in the limitations of the the solver.

Our job then, like Katherine’s, is to trust. To trust the One Who is the Master Puzzle-Designer-Solver. And as Katherine learns, “Life doesn’t always end up like you’ve planned; sometimes it turns out better.”

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

About The Waiting:

When Katherine Herrington was a teenager, she made “The List” and believed God would bring her the husband she desired. That faith helped her to keep life under control just the way she likes it. But then Katherine loses her mother, her job, and her boyfriend, and after years of praying, she accepts the probability that God’s answer is, “No.”

A professional soccer player, Sam Tucker has lived the life of a celebrity in the UK only to discover that, despite all the wealth and fame he has acquired, his life is empty. He returns to the one place where life last had meaning, and goes in search of the one woman he’s loved since he was a teenager—Katherine. He wonders if she’ll remember him after all these years… And fears she just might.

As God weaves together a rejected proposal, a mission trip, and a devastating storm to turn their hearts toward Him and toward each other, Katherine and Sam will have to let go of their fears, find forgiveness and trust, and realize that their future together was worth the wait.

Find the waiting at these sites: Pelican Book Group, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.

About the Author:

Carol James is an author of inspirational fiction. She lives in a small town outside of Atlanta, Georgia with her husband, Jim, and a perky Jack Russell “Terrorist,” Zoe.

Having always loved intriguing stories with happy endings, she was moved to begin writing to encourage others as she’d been encouraged by the works of other authors of inspirational fiction.

Her debut novel, Rescuing Faith, has been a number one best seller on Amazon, and her second novel, The Waiting, is releasing today. Her Christmas novella, Mary’s Christmas Surprise, is currently available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the Pelican Book Group website.

Carol enjoys spending time with her husband, children, and grandchildren, traveling with friends, and serving in the production department at her church. And, most days in the late hours of the night or the wee hours of the morning, she can be found bringing her newest novel to life.

A Most Memorable Christmas by Judy DuCharme

The thrill has never left. We had no idea that it would be so wonderful…it just seemed like a fun Christmas-y event to attend. Every year the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., hosts a free Messiah Sing. The day was cold and finding a parking spot proved difficult. Still we were excited to do this. However, the line wrapped all the way around the building on the outside. We weren’t quite dressed to be outdoors for an extended time. A kindly gentleman ushered us to the end of the line with a gracious “You’ll probably get seats but not together.”

My husband and daughter waited outside while our son and I stayed inside. The building hosts exquisite hallways with beautiful chandeliers and beautiful banners. We enjoyed watching the people travel by and prayed we’d obtain tickets. The line moved so slowly.

A woman walked up beside me. I saw her hand full of the free tickets and watched as she scanned the line, obviously trying to find someone. I smiled. “You must be happy. You got your tickets.”

“Yes, but the weather has kept our friends from getting here Do you have your tickets?”

“We hope to, even though we might not get to sit together. My husband and daughter are at the end of the line.”

“Well, let them know you now have tickets.”

The woman was a contributor to the Kennedy Center, and we sat directly behind her in Row 8. A senator sat behind us and the person next to us was there for the twenty-third time.

The singing, the music, the spirit, the anointing touched our souls. I had never in my life listened to the whole Messiah. I probably knew but never considered that every single word came from Scripture. The words repeated over and over, flowed into our beings, and lifted our hearts.

Three conductors, amazing solo singers beautifully and formally dressed, a perfect orchestra and a choir full of wonderful voices reverberated with the volume and presence of God. At certain places in the cantata the audience sang along. I looked around at the full to capacity main floor, balconies, gorgeous walls and chandeliers. Just thinking about it I feel the anointing of singing God’s word with such moving music and passion. It’s one of the most beautiful memories I’ve ever had of Christmas.

About the Author:

Judy DuCharme is the Author of Christmas Ivy, Run With the Wind, Blood Moon Redemption, Society of the L.A.M.B., The Cheesehead Devotional Kickoff Edition, and The Cheesehead Devotional Hall of Fame Edition. You can connect with Judy on her website, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

About Christmas Ivy:

Linney Merritt loves her life in the Florida scrub where she assists her Pa in raising and taking cattle to market. The new cowman, Cyrus John, appreciates the chance to start over. Marrying holds no interest for either, but they can’t help but be drawn to each other. And then, just before Christmas, they find themselves fighting together to save the life of a calf, all while discovering the One who can remove fears and provide forgiveness.

Christmas Ivy won First Place Short Story at the 2016 Florida Christian Writers Conference and was a Winner in the 2018 National Indie Excellence Awards.

About Run With the Wind:

Linney Merritt loves her life in the Florida scrub where she assists her Pa in raising and taking cattle to market. The new cowman, Cyrus John, appreciates the chance to start over. Marrying holds no interest for either, but they can’t help but be drawn to each other. And then, just before Christmas, they find themselves fighting together to save the life of a calf, all while discovering the One who can remove fears and provide forgiveness.

Christmas Kindness by Pamela S. Thibodeaux

The ghost of Christmases past haunted our house again in 1993. To say we were poor, would be an untruth, but to say money was tight is an understatement. As in years before, funds seemed to vanish, leaving very little, if anything, for gifts. This year was one of the worst since my husband’s boss decided to go on an extended vacation-Thanksgiving through New Years-without paying his employees.

While chatting with the nurses at work one evening the inevitable question of whether or not we were through shopping came up. I responded that I was waiting on my next check (which we were receiving on Dec. 23rd), to do mine. That brought a firestorm of other questions which I answered by explaining our predicament.

As things were brought out in the open about my husband’s check, or rather, lack of one, I was encouraged to scrounge the barrels of toys that had been collected for needy children who came to the hospital and see if there was anything I could use for mine. Not knowing that this was allowed, I hesitated. After all, we’d been through this before and the kids were old enough to understand our finances. Continued support as well as the knowledge that other hospital employees often did this as Christmas drew closer and the barrels became empty save for the less desirable gifts that children didn’t seem to want anyway, encouraged me to check it out. I found small gift items that could be purchased at any Dollar store, still, it was better than nothing and I was able to pick out a couple of things for each of my children.

But the greatest gift came from an unexpected source.

A couple of hours later, one of my favorite nurses to work with asked me to meet her in the lounge. “When I was newly single I needed tires and a friend gave me the money to get them. He wouldn’t let me pay him back, only asked that I would pay it forward when I could. I hope you’re not insulted, and I’ll ask the same of you,” she said. By the time she placed a check in my hand we were both in tears.

To this day I’m warmed by the memory and you can bet your last dollar I honor her gift by blessing others as often as I can.

More About the 2017 IDA Finalist Keri’s Christmas Wish:

For as long as she can remember, Keri Jackson has despised the hype and commercialism around Christmas so much she seldom enjoys the holiday. Will she get her wish and be free of the angst to truly enjoy Christmas this year?

A devout Christian at heart, Jeremy Hinton, a Psychotherapist, Life Coach, Spiritual Mentor and Energy Medicine Practitioner has studied all of the world’s religions and homeopathic healing modalities. But when a rare bacterial infection threatens the life of the woman he loves, will all of his faith and training be for naught?

About the Author:

Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.”  Sign up to receive Pam’s newsletter and get a FREE short story!

You can connect online with Pamela at the following locations:

Links:

Website address: http://www.pamelathibodeaux.com

Blog: http://pamswildroseblog.blogspot.com

Newsletter: http://bit.ly/psthibnewsletter

Face Book: http://facebook.com/pamelasthibodeaux

https://www.facebook.com/pamelasthibodeauxauthor

Twitter: http://twitter.com/psthib @psthib

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/pamelasthibodea/

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/1jUVcdU

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/pamela-s-thibodeaux

 

One Word at a Time, Sweet Jesus by Anna Kittrell

The Commandment is my “one word at a time, sweet Jesus” book. I didn’t realize it when the story began to surface in my mind five years ago. I didn’t realize it as I began to outline and sketch out my characters. I didn’t even realize it in the middle, when my world shattered, and vital pieces of life were forever lost. Nor did I realize it at the end, when the last word was written. It wasn’t until much later—lately, in fact, that I came to recognize this book for the miracle it truly is. Not miraculous in and of itself, of course. After all, it’s just a fictional story built by my limited imagination. But the fact it was ever finished is a miracle. And a testament to God’s divine provision.

It was October, 2014. The idea for The Commandment was swimming around in my head when my husband and I decided to take a road trip from Oklahoma to Nevada to visit his parents. I love my in-laws, and love for my husband to be trapped in a car with me for hours, so I was rearing to go. On the road, I spent my time gazing from the passenger window, soaking up the surroundings. I was especially entranced by the lonesome beauty of the desert hills. In my story notes I wrote: blond jagged earth; haze on the peaks; pinks, sandy beige and rose; cactus plants; green bleached to yellow; cracks and valleys, sculptures without faces; her soul, dry and thirsty as the scrub on the hills. The terrain was so magnificent, even my scattered description notes sounded like poetry. By the time we reached our destination, I knew the book would be set in Nevada.

During our wonderful visit, more images began to form. An isolated medical laboratory could easily be nestled behind the Nevada hills. And those dangerously beautiful cactus…I wonder what their nectar is like? Wouldn’t it be amazing if it had a numbing quality to it, in order to create a brain-dulling serum in my story? I googled it and, lo and behold, it does! And what about a hot air balloon festival in the desert? Beautiful, vibrant colors dotting the extra-blue sky as far as the eye can see. What better place to set a main character’s abduction than in a hot air balloon? A riveting scene that just might go on record as the world’s first slow-motion kidnapping. I had heard the Nevada desert described as barren and desolate, but to me those endless hills and valleys were rich and bountiful, fertile with story ideas.

The vacation ended and we came back home to Oklahoma. The next week, my daughter-in-law and nine-month-old grandson moved in with us. I was thrilled to have them and immediately adjusted my writing schedule to accommodate having extra people in the house. I began rising at 5:00 a.m. to write—and they began coming downstairs at 5:00 a.m. to visit with me. And because nothing compares to holding a grandchild, not even authoring a book, writing would just have to wait. For ten months, I had the thrill and privilege of spending time with my little grandson every day. In that span of time, he grew and learned so much. His mother and I grew close, developing a special mother-daughter relationship filled with heart-to-heart talks, grocery shopping, shared meals, and lots of laughter. She started calling me, “Mom.” I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

In August 2015, they moved out. And though I knew I would continue to see them daily—I cried. And then I started writing again. I began writing every morning before work, and writing some more on my lunch hour. I loved my characters and the story, and was happy about how well the book was coming along. I had already told my editor about it, and she seemed excited. I couldn’t wait to submit it. At this rate, it would be finished soon.

And then, on December 30, 2015, the book—and my life—stopped cold. At ten thirty that night, my little grandson and I had gone to pick up my daughter-in-law from work, and were told she never showed up. I drove to her house and banged on the door, but she didn’t answer. From outside her home, I called my husband, who came and discovered her lifeless body inside. Our daughter-in-law, the girl who called me “Mom,” the mother of our only grandchild, had taken her own life.

We loved her as if she were our own daughter and were devastated. I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, and with the exception of the obituary, eulogy, and funeral poem, I certainly couldn’t write. Life would never be the same. Days passed, and I had to return to work. My son and I developed a routine of dropping off and picking up my grandson. And, after three months had gone by, I dragged myself back to the keyboard. In another three months, the book was finished.

I share this story as an encouragement to others who are dealing with personal tragedy. Put one foot in front of the other, even if that’s all you can do right now. And pay attention to God’s provisions. The gifts He has provided—those things that you love to do way down in your soul. Gifts of distraction. Gifts of diversion. Activities that allow your mind to reset and recharge. Maybe it’s gardening. Maybe it’s sewing. Maybe it’s painting, playing a musical instrument, or singing. Or something much less artistic than that. Maybe it’s rolling change, cleaning house, or waxing the car. I have a friend who picks up rocks when life gets to be too much.

For me, that gift is writing. In that aspect, The Commandment is a miracle. A testament to how God’s gifts give life purpose and bring healing to the broken.  The loss is still there, and forever will be. But so is God’s love and concern, and personalized provision.

So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot. For who can bring them to see what will happen after them? Ecclesiastes 3:22 (NIV)

One word at a time, sweet Jesus.

More about the Author, Anna Kittrell:

Anna works as a middle school secretary in her beloved hometown of Anadarko, Oklahoma, where she resides with her high school sweetheart-turned-husband, Tim. She has nine books in publication, including her new Christian futuristic thriller, The Commandment.

Anna has written for as long as she can remember. She still has most of her tattered creations—stories she used to sell on the playground for a dime, written on notebook paper. Her love of storytelling has grown throughout the years, and she is thrilled her tales are now worth more than ten cents.

Author Points of Contact:

As an author and in speaking with many authors, we love to have readers contact us on social media. If you want to learn more about Anna Kittrell and her awesome writing, be sure to visit the following: Anna’s website, appropriately entitled Anna Kittrell, her Facebook Author’s pageThe Commandment Facebook pageAmazon Author Central, and Anna invites you to e-mail her. You can also take a look at Anna’s wonderful book trailer for The Commandment.

More about The Commandment:

Ten years ago, Briar’s body rejected a government mandated vaccine known as SAP (Serum to Advance Progressivism), formulated to erase God from the mind. Briar was seven years old. She’s been on house arrest ever since.

Now, just weeks from becoming a legal adult, Briar remains non-responsive to her mandatory SAP injections. Along with her rapidly approaching eighteenth birthday looms a grim reality: by order of the Commandment, adulthood means institutionalization for those resistant to SAP.

In a matter of days, Briar will become a permanent resident of the ARC—a facility shrouded in dark rumors of torture, experimentation, and death. Her only alternative is to accept a last minute ultimatum to become a laboratory test subject for a new God-dissolving serum.
With a decade of solitude behind her and a lifetime of confinement before her—what does she have to lose? Except maybe her soul.

The Commandment is available for pre-release this week, not only from Anna’s publisher, Pelican Book Group, it can also be purchased from other fine book retailers including Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Anna’s newest novel will release this Friday, August 24.

If you missed Inner Source’s Monday interview of Anna’s heroine, Briar Lee, you can read it here, and also be sure to check out our Wednesday interview with Anna here

Today is the official release date for The CommandmentBe sure to get your copy!

Those Girls Have Got Grit by Linda Shenton Matchett

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA – CIRCA 2002: A stamp printed in USA dedicated to Women in Journalism shows Nellie Bly circa 2002

“I have too frequently received the impression that women war correspondents were an irritating nuisance, and I wish to point out that none of us would have our jobs unless we knew how to do them and this curious condescending treatment is as ridiculous as it is undignified,” wrote journalist Martha Gellhorn to military authorities in 1944.

To be allowed in a war zone, the government required reporters to attain accreditation, a long and tedious process. In exchange for adherence to regulations, the military would provide transportation, meals and lodging, and transmit the writer’s article. Unfortunately the 127 accredited women correspondents often found themselves up against attitudes of ridicule, contempt, and hostility combined with miles of red tape as officers refused to take the “girls” behind the lines. Instead, these women had to coerce, bribe, or charm their way onto jeeps, trucks, or ships.

Given the excuse it was too dangerous for a woman to fly from England to North Africa, Margaret Bourke-White’s request to cover the campaign was denied. Eager to see the action, she secured passage on a ship which was torpedoed almost immediately. Undeterred, she grabbed her camera and climbed aboard a lifeboat where she produced an article about the dangers of wartime sea travel.

Dickey Chappelle, a petite, bespectacled blonde was determined to cover the Battle of Iwo Jima. When a testy general argued that he didn’t want one hundred thousand Marines pulling up their pants because she was around, Chappell countered, “That won’t bother me a bit. My object is to cover the war.” Known for her pluck and tenacity, Gellhorn stowed away on a hospital ship and hid in the head (bathroom) to get to Normandy to cover the invasion. Ex-fashion photographer Lee Miller managed to make her way to Dachau where she captured pictures of the camp’s liberation. Months earlier, Miller broke the rules and arrived in Paris before it was liberated. As a result, she was confined by the Allied command until the Germans retreated.

The grit and gumption of these ladies and others enabled them to provide eyewitness accounts to the harrowing events of WWII. Because, as BBC Correspondent Lyse Doucet says, “They did it, not just because they were exceptional women, but because they were great journalists.”

 

About the Author:

Linda Shenton Matchett is an author, journalist, speaker, and history geek. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry, Linda has lived in historical places most of her life. She is a volunteer docent at the Wright Museum of WWII and a Trustee for the Wolfeboro Public Library. Active in her church, Linda serves as treasurer, usher, choir member, and Bible study leader.

Follow Linda on her website, her Facebook Author Page, on Pinterest, and on LinkedIn.

About Under Fire

Journalist Ruth Brown’s sister Jane is pronounced dead after a boating accident in April 1942. Because Jane’s body is missing, Ruth is convinced her sister is still alive and follows clues to war-torn London. By the time she uncovers the truth about Jane’s disappearance, she has stumbled on black marketers, resistance fighters and the IRA – all of whom may want her dead for what she has discovered.

As I noted, Linda has been a busy writer. Here are her other works:

Love’s Harvest, a Modern-Day Retelling of the Story of Ruth: Noreen Hirsch loses everything including her husband and two sons. Then her adopted country goes to war with her homeland. Has God abandoned her? Rosa Hirsch barely adjusts to being a bride before she is widowed. She gives up her citizenship to accompany her mother-in-law to her home country. Can Rosa find acceptance among strangers who hate her belligerent nation? Basil Quincey is rich beyond his wildest dreams, but loneliness stalks him. Can he find a woman who loves him and not his money? Three people. One God who can raise hope from the ashes of despair.

Love Found in Sherwood ForestAward-winning Broadway actress Leighanne Webster has it all until an on-stage panic attack brings her career crashing to the ground. Returning to England to help produce the annual Robin Hood Festival play, could be the diversion Leighanne needs. But with ex-fiance, Jamison Blake, as the play’s director, focusing on her new job won’t be easy. Breaking his engagement with Leighanne so she could pursue her dream of being a Broadway star was the hardest thing Jamison Blake ever did. When she returns to Nottingham, his heart insists he made a mistake. Can he convince her to give their love a second chance, or will he have to let her go again? This time, forever.

On the Rails: A Harvey Girl StoryWarren, Ohio, 1910: Katherine Newman loves being a teacher, but she loves Henry Jorgensen more, which is why she’s willing to give up her job to marry him. But instead of proposing, Henry breaks up with her. Devastated, Katherine seeks to escape the probing eyes and wagging tongues of her small town. A former Harvey Girl, Katherine’s mother arranges for Katherine to be hired at the Williams, Arizona Harvey House. Can she carve out a new life in the stark desert land unlike anything she’s ever known?

Henry Jorgensen loves Katherine with all his heart, but as the eldest son of a poor farmer can he provide for her as she deserves? The family’s lien holder calls in the mortgage, and Henry must set aside his own desires in order to help his parents meet their financial obligation. But when Katherine leaves town after their break up, he realizes he’s made the biggest mistake of his life. Can he find her and convince her to give their love a second chance?

A Love Not Forgotten (part of The Hope of Spring collection): Allison White should be thrilled about her upcoming wedding. The problem? She’s still in love with her fiancé, Chaz, who was declared dead after being shot down over Germany in 1944. Can she put the past behind her and settle down to married life with the kindhearted man who loves her?
It’s been two years since Charles “Chaz” Powell was shot down over enemy territory. The war is officially over, but not for him. He has amnesia as a result of injuries sustained in the crash, and the only clue to his identity is a love letter with no return address. Will he ever regain his memories and discover who he is, or will he have to forge a new life with no connections to the past?

WWII Word-Find: Enjoy hours of fun with 78 WWII-themed word-find puzzles. Descriptive paragraphs include facts and information about each topic.

To read Inner Source’s interview with Linda’s heroine, Ruth Brown, from Under Fire you can find it here.

Linda’s Inner Source interview can be found here.

Walking and Talking by Gay N. Lewis

My latest book, Mattie’s Choice is now available. Mattie’s story unfolds over several decades. Her marriage wasn’t a happy one to begin with, but as she made wiser, decisions, it grew better. Mattie had seen her parents in a satisfying marriage and assumed hers would be also.

Mattie’s relationship with her husband grew as a result of honoring her faith and commitment to the Lord. If she’d been wiser to begin with, she would have saved herself heartache. Before you marry, take time to know the guy. Does your family have reservations about him?

The choices we make in life bring consequences.

Let’s look at a lady from Scripture. Ruth is one of my favorite women in the Bible. She became a young widow and eventually remarried. Boaz, her second husband, was familiar to her mother-in-law and well-respected in the community. His actions proved him a good and Godly man. The consequences of Ruth’s choices led to the birth of King David, and later on, Jesus.

After the death of her husband and two sons, Ruth’s mother-in-law, Naomi, decided to return from Moab to Bethlehem. Ruth, her daughter-in-law chose to go with her.

Here’s a devotional I recently posted on my blog.

As we think about Naomi and Ruth taking that forty-mile journey from Moab to Bethlehem, what did they walk and talk about?

Ruth must have asked, “What’s it like there? Will your people accept me? Any idea where we will live? What will we eat? Does my clothes look okay?”

Ruth was walking into the unknown. Courage joined her faith for the journey. She had no idea that one day she’d be King David’s grandmother.

She was clueless that she’d be an ancestor to Jesus.

Hang tight. God blesses faith and courage.

Don’t you know Ruth was surprised and thrilled when God gave her a husband? Can’t you imagine amazement today as her good deeds continue to follow her?

We may not know how wide reaching our influence is until our earthly road takes us to heaven. Our deeds and actions will bring results far into the future that we’ll never see down here.

When Ruth began her journey with Naomi to a foreign country, she left her comfort zone. She couldn’t sense the bend around the road. So why did she leave the familiar and branch out into the unknown?

  1. Love for her mother-in-law.
    The obvious reason is love. Marches for women’s rights hadn’t begun back in those days. Such a thought would never cross a female’s mind. Social Security and Medicare didn’t exist either. Men in the family were to take care of the widows and orphans. Naomi had no husband and no sons. Naomi had a faithful, loving daughter-in-law who shouldered the responsibilities. Ruth was willing to take on duties that should have belonged to her husband. She loved Naomi.
    Hmmm. She sounds like a modern lady, right? Many women these days are assuming men’s responsibilities. Is that good or bad? Remember, Ruth wouldn’t have stepped in if she’d had a husband.
  2. Faith in her new God.

Ruth’s previous Moab god, Chemosh, was not real. Through the testimony of Ruth’s new family, Ruth came to believe in the One and Only God.  In Ruth 1:16, she tells Naomi, “Your people will be my people and your God my God.

Wow! What did Ruth see in this Jewish family that made her want what they had?

Would your lifestyle bring someone to your faith? Do you have someone willing to give up parents, country, and privilege to move away with you?

  1. The Commitment is Certain. The Decision made.

Ruth tells Naomi, “Where you die, I will die. Where you are buried, I will be buried”

In other words, Ruth says to Naomi,

“I’m not going back. I’m staying.”

FAITH MOVES FORWARD. NEVER BACKWARD.

Hebrews: 11:1 says “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” KJV.

Ruth hoped and had faith in God that she and He could take care of Naomi. Even though Ruth couldn’t see around the bend in the road, or what was over the mountains, her faith kept her plodding forward. One step at a time. Doing what she needed to do.

Ruth set a good example for us, didn’t she?

Take heart dear woman or man of God. Even if you don’t know how to get across the hardship, God already knows.

We can see multiple lessons in this story, but the one I want to focus on today is this:  These two widows had no idea I’d be talking about them today. They’d be shocked to read their names in Scripture. And they’d be more amazed to how see Ruth is in the genealogy of King David and Jesus.

I don’t know if I’m touching lives as I go about my day daily existence, but God knows. Maybe one day from on high, I’ll be flabbergasted to see some of the choices I made down here helped to transform a life. I believe if my fictitious Mattie were real, it would be the same with her.

Choices, good and bad, make a difference.

You don’t know the influence you have either. But like Ruth and Naomi, make the journey. Even if you can’t see the road you’re on.

BUT USE A GPS IF YOU HAVE ONE!

Follow my blog for faith and humor insights. http://gaynlewis.blogspot.com/

About the Author:

A native Texan, Gay lives in Fulshear, a small town west of Houston.  She loves to travel and engage in artistic ventures. Two videos she produced —The Canadian Rockies, English and Japanese translations, and Psalms from the Mountains, sold well in international markets. Graphic skills kept her busy as a portrait photographer, and for over ten years, she used her imaginative insight in the interior design field.

As a pastor’s wife, she writes Faith Features for various church periodicals. She also writes articles for Texas Hill Country.  Gay is also a published author for Pelican Book Group in romance and fantasy fiction. Her current series is about a dyslexic angel who comes to earth to help humans, but Sarah, the angel, is more like Lucy Ricardo with humorous antics and bumbles.

All of the Sarah books have appeared on Amazon’s Best Seller’s List. The Sarah series is available in eBook format as well as print at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Pelican Book Group, and other book sellers. Some additions are available in Amazon Audible. Each book in the series is a standalone novel.

Her latest books, Mattie’s Choiceand Clue into Kindness are not fantasy and romance. These books are women’s fiction. The stories are about abusive men and women who are addicted to an unhealthy relationship.

The books are available in print, eBook, and audio.

For more information, please go to http ://gaynlewis.com/

Gay would love to have you see her video trailers and become a follower of her blog.

http://www.gaynlewis.blogspot.com

https://www.amazon.com/author/gaynlewis
www.facebook.com/GayNLewis and also on Twitter @GayNLewis2.

Sarah has her own Facebook page. Follow Sarah on Facebook@ Sarah Wingspand

About Mattie’s Choice:

It’s 1925 in rural Oklahoma. A naïve seventeen-year-old Mattie chooses to elope with Jesse, leaving behind an ideal life with her wealthy and loving family. With hope for a happy future, she vows to stay with her husband through good times or bad, but the wonderful life Mattie dreams of is shattered by Jesse’s abusive nature and his refusal to allow her to see her family.

When Jesse’s brother, Joe, brings home his new wife–the vivacious Ella–Mattie believes Ella is living the life Mattie prays to have with Jesse. As the years grow harder and Jesse and Mattie’s growing family struggles to survive The Great Depression, The Dust Bowl and illness, Jesse’s abuse worsens.

Life also unravels for Ella and Joe as he begins to abuse his wife. Ella makes the choice that Mattie has never considered.

Will Mattie keep her vow to stay with Jesse at the risk of her own life and the life of her children or will she leave him despite the vow?

 

 

The Corn Plant Saga by Julie B. Cosgrove

People have asked me to tell this true story. It’s long, but here goes….

Back in 1974, I bought a small corn plant at a local nursery because, well in the 70’s, everyone had a jungle in their apartment. But it didn’t thrive, so I put it in the bathroom to get more moisture. Every time my to-be-hubby came over, he’d been down, waggle his finger and tell the scrawny four-leafed heap, “You better grow, little guy, or I’ll make her pitch you out.” Yes, we talked to our plants back then. It was a 1970’s thing.

Fast forward through the years. We moved twenty-two times in thirty-three of them, and the corn plant was always last on the truck and first off. Then in 2005, we had to leave because of Katrina. All of our salvageable items were put in a storage pod and sent to San Antonio. Only some of our clothes, the “very breakables” and our prized possessions (well, and the cats) would travel with us. People from our church gathered to help us pack and bid us farewell. Corn plant by then was over seven feet tall…a scrawny-trunk thing we tied to the wall with string and thumb tacks.  No way would it survive months in a storage unit. Six men stood in our garage constructing a container to house the plant, which would travel in the bed of my husband’s truck. Using cardboard and plywood they encased it as if it was Michelangelo’s David.

As I followed in my car, I watched through the windshield wipers as the the wet winds whacked the carefully plotted-out tower. When we crossed the border into Texas, I gasped as it bent into a jack-knife. Tears welled. For three hundred more miles it bounced and bowed toward the bed of the truck. About 1 a.m. we arrived at my family cabin in the Texas Hill Country, which would be home until he found a new job. That’s when my husband analyzed the damage. I blubbered as he dismantled what remained of the tower and confirmed my worst fears. All the angst over the past few days following the hurricane poured down my cheeks. I took the top of the plant and jammed it into a gallon jug, filled it with  water, and set it by the window. My husband, instinctively knowing not to question my futility, carried in the pot with the bare trunk and plopped it next to the same window. Somehow, we just couldn’t toss it down into the ravine gully.

The snippet grew roots inside the plastic jug. Hubby found a job in Florida, so we moved – this time with plant-jug steadied on the floor board of my car. We left the scraggly trunk behind. Later my cousin opened the cabin for the spring and found it had sprouted! She kept watering it and the next summer we snipped it off the trunk, jugged it, and took it back to Florida. Now we had two corn plants, side by side in the same pot.

My son no longer lives with me, but often when he comes over, he bends down, looks at the corn plant and says, “Well, I guess God wants us both to live a bit longer. Lookin’ good, plant.”

On the “bad days” when my chronic pain gets to me, I see the lush green plant and it helps me put things in perspective. It is as if God is telling me He still wants me to “bloom where I am planted.”

In 2008, we moved back to Texas. For reasons I will not go into, my husband developed medical problems and grew more and more ill. During this time, one of the corn plants wouldn’t thrive. It’s leaves were lighter in color, the other was lush and green. As he diminished, so did the plant. One by one the leaves yellowed and withered. I planted it in it’s own pot but no amount of soil, food or horticultural care would stop it’s decline. Eventually, two years later, the scraggly one died. The last leaf dropped off. It left me with an eerie feeling, to be realized forty-eight hours later when my husband died in the shower getting ready for work.

I moved with the healthy one to an apartment, and my son later moved in with me to ease my widowhood. Lo and behold, a “shoot” began to grow off the surviving corn plant. An offspring. Here is the plant today, June 2017.

More About the Author:

Besides being an award-winning suspense and cozy mystery writer, Julie is also an Internet missionary for Campus Crusades Canada. The articles and devotionals she writes and edits reach over 600,000 people a month and lead many of them to contact mentors who guide them through life issues and into a deeper relationship with Jesus. She writes for several other faith-based devotional sites as well, and her blog Where Did You Find God Today has readership in ten countries.

More About Baby Bunco:

Who would leave a newborn baby in the bathtub of a condo in Sunset Acres, a retirement community, and why? And was a young woman slain behind the convenience store across the highway it’s mother? Janie and the Bunco Biddies want to find out, but soon they discover sleuthing can get a bit dicey.

Julie’s First Book in the Bunco Biddie’s Mysteries is Dumpster Dicing

As Janie and Betsy Ann go for their morning jog, the city sanitation vehicle follows its normal five-mile Tuesday morning route through their retirement community of Sunset Acres. The two Bunco-playing biddies spot a leg dangling out of the dumpster when the truck lifts the trash container high in the air. Someone diced up one of their newest residents—a grouchy loner named Edwin Newman. Did he unpack too much of his dicey past when he moved in last weekend?

About Julie’s next release, Three, Sixies and Thieves

In Sunset Acres, some of the condos with threes and sixes in their house numbers are being robbed. The police see it as random, but Janie thinks otherwise. When she and her Bunco friends catch the thieves red-handed, one of the robbers is arrested. However, the next morning he is found hung in his cell. With her son-in-law, Chief Detective Blake, on vacation, can she trust anyone in the department to reveal what really happened?

If you missed our interview with Janie Manson, the heroine of the Bunco Biddie’s Mysteries, you can find it here. The interview with author Julie B. Cosgrove can be found here.

To Love a Weed by Deborah Dee Harper

I don’t have purple hair, nor do I style it the way this pretty little thistle head has, but if I did, this is what I’d like to look like. And yes, I know that’s weird.

We’re living in a new house which we love, but it’s at the end of a road in a rather new sub-division which is still undergoing aggressive construction. We’re the last house on the road at the moment, so the land past our house (to the left as you’re looking at the house) and behind it is vacant. I like to tell people we live on the edge of a nature preserve because the rabbits, geese, and who-knows-what-else make their homes there, but in truth, it’s just vacant land piled high with dirt, chunks of trees, and other rubble the construction equipment has shoved aside to clean up another day.

The little beauty above is a thistle weed and it’s growing on the piles of dirt and rock surrounding our house. I can’t get to it without risking life and limb (thank goodness for zoom lenses), but if I could, I’d gather a few for a colorful bouquet.

It’s amazing to me how something as lowly as a common weed can be so beautiful, yet have such little value when compared to the more acceptable flowers we slave over (and pay good money for) in our gardens. If God had never given us anything but the “no maintenance, grow anywhere” weeds to satisfy our desire to beautify our surroundings, we would be hard-pressed to complain. Take a few thistle heads, some Queen Anne’s lace, dandelions, and the wild variations of asters, daisies, and a host of other flowering “weeds,” and you’ve got a luscious, colorful bouquet of God’s love for us displayed in even His most modest of creations.

I wonder how often we overlook an individual because they seem common. If God can love the weeds on this earth, how much more does He love all of His children–young, old, pretty, homely, rich, poor, in good health or bad, black, white, brown, red, yellow, pink, or orange–who cares?

He cares. For all of us. For the hybrids, the old standards, the lush, the wild, the rare, the plentiful, the run-of-the-mill, the powerful, and the weak. Which one are you?

See you along the trail…

We’re living in a new house which we love, but it’s at the end of a road in a rather new sub-division which is still undergoing aggressive construction. We’re the last house on the road at the moment, so the land past our house (to the left as you’re looking at the house) and behind it is vacant. I like to tell people we live on the edge of a nature preserve because the rabbits, geese, and who-knows-what-else make their homes there, but in truth, it’s just vacant land piled high with dirt, chunks of trees, and other rubble the construction equipment has shoved aside to clean up another day.

The little beauty above is a thistle weed and it’s growing on the piles of dirt and rock surrounding our house. I can’t get to it without risking life and limb (thank goodness for zoom lenses), but if I could, I’d gather a few for a colorful bouquet.

It’s amazing to me how something as lowly as a common weed can be so beautiful, yet have such little value when compared to the more acceptable flowers we slave over (and pay good money for) in our gardens. If God had never given us anything but the “no maintenance, grow anywhere” weeds to satisfy our desire to beautify our surroundings, we would be hard-pressed to complain. Take a few thistle heads, some Queen Anne’s lace, dandelions, and the wild variations of asters, daisies, and a host of other flowering “weeds,” and you’ve got a luscious, colorful bouquet of God’s love for us displayed in even His most modest of creations.

I wonder how often we overlook an individual because they seem common. If God can love the weeds on this earth, how much more does He love all of His children–young, old, pretty, homely, rich, poor, in good health or bad, black, white, brown, red, yellow, pink, or orange–who cares?

He cares. For all of us. For the hybrids, the old standards, the lush, the wild, the rare, the plentiful, the run-of-the-mill, the powerful, and the weak. Which one are you?

See you along the trail…

More about the Author:

Deborah Dee Harper currently resides in Alaska where she writes inspirational and humorous books for both children and adults and takes thousands of photographs. When she isn’t writing or taking photos, she stalks moose and other wildlife, survives earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, endures the long, dark, frigid winters, revels in the endless summer days, and is awestruck by the rippling northern lights of the Alaskan night skies. She also leaps mountains in a single bound and wrestles grizzly bears along hiking trails. (Not really. Just making sure you were paying attention.) Whenever she can, she loves being with her daughter, son-in-law, and three grandsons in Kentucky, and her son, daughter-in-law, and two more grandsons in Michigan. (For real.)

She can be reached at deborahdeetales@gmail.com, at her website www.deborahdeeharper.com, and her three blogs: www.deborahdeetales.blogspot.com, www.deetrails.blogspot.com and www.laramieonthelam.blogspot.com.

More about Misstep:

Winnie and Sadie are still fighting, and I’m still living in the strangest town on earth.
It’s December in Road’s End, Virginia, a tiny town long forgotten by anyone but its residents, where Colonel Hugh Foster and his wife, Melanie, have chosen to live—for better or worse. The jury’s still out on that one!
Road’s End is comprised entirely of senior citizens whose kids have grown and left for greener pastures. Hugh, Melanie, and Bristol (one of the few sane people in town) are faced with a crumbling church in desperate need of repair and renovation, a dwindling congregation of opinionated, ornery senior citizens, and a camel—yes, a camel. And if that’s not enough, the trio and the rest of the Road’s End residents, are soon mired in danger and intrigue when a group of gun-toting drug dealers arrive in town, bent on killing the church handyman, and conspiring to ruin the doggonedest record-breaking blizzard the town has ever seen.
Poor drug dealers.

Deborah has an upcoming sequel to Misstep entitled Faux Pas. Here’s more of the hilarity you’ll find in Road’s End, Virginia.

What would you do if the President of the United States was attending your daughter’s wedding?

Panic. You’d panic. Add in a severe storm, crazy senior citizens who believe the POTUS lied his way into office, a crumbling, but historic church you happen to pastor, a cranky Secret Service agent, a four-year-old grandchild-to-be you know nothing about, and a son-in-law-to-be whose faith in the Lord has waned, and you’ve got yourself a humdinger of a wedding. Not to mention that same future son-in-law is a University of Michigan Wolverines fan (not a Michigan State Spartans fan) and prefers sweet tea to unsweetened. My gosh, what is the world coming to? Talk about a faux pas! Well, good luck with all that, Pastor Foster.

And Heaven help the president.

Stepping out of her humorous genre, Deborah also has another upcoming release entitled The Sin Seeker.

Sin Seeker, is the first book in my Sin Seeker series. The story deals with sin and the very real battle we’re in every day of our lives with the forces of darkness. Graves (Gray to his friends) Hollister is a discouraged social services employee tasked with the thankless job of keeping children safe from parents who don’t deserve them in the first place and who neglect and abuse them regularly. He starts hearing demonic voices shortly before a hideous tragedy occurs, after which he quits his job and sinks to the bottom of a bottle of anything he can find that’ll put him in an alcoholic stupor. He spends two months trying to obliterate his memories. Finally, he realizes he can’t; he must face them, so he enrolls in seminary and becomes a pastor. With his new role as pastor and his newfound ability to actually see the sin on the people God has tasked him with helping, Gray finds himself thrown head-first into a world of evil and demons, angels and miracles.

If you missed our interview with Hugh Foster, you can read it here, and Deborah’s interview can be found here.

The Teacher Who Couldn’t Read

Years ago, as an elementary teacher, I attended a reading conference in Toronto, Ontario. I enjoyed the privilege of hearing keynote speaker, John Corcoran. At the conference, I bought his book, The Teacher Who Couldn’t Read and today treasure my autographed copy. It has graced my bookshelf for quite awhile, but when the idea for my novel Misty Hollow came about, I ran to my shelf, grabbed the book, and gave a victory cheer. His book was the perfect reference in creating my illiterate Appalachian hero, Joel Greenfield.

Corcoran describes an unbelievable story about how he graduated high school and college and actually taught history for seventeen years. At around fourth grade, he began to fall behind and compensated for his handicap by acting out. In high school, he excelled in athletics and was admired by faculty and friends. So how did he get by as a functional illiterate?

He devised clever ways of deception including cheating and lying. With his charismatic personality, he charmed others into reading books and documents to him. Once in college, he actually passed his test out the window to another student who took the exam for him. A favorite deception was claiming he forgot his glasses at home.

While teaching high school, he utilized discussions and debates where texts were never used. He even asked a student to read the morning bulletin to the class, though at the bottom it read “Please don’t let a student read this bulletin.”

He eventually married and had a daughter. He would “read” her bedtime stories by looking at the pictures and making up his own version.

Corcoran doesn’t place blame on the educational system but on his circumstances. Since he went to school in the 50s, educators have discovered more ways to help students with reading disorders. In his thirties, Corcoran finally found the courage to sign up for an adult literacy class and learned to read. He now supports literacy through the John Corcoran Foundation.

In writing Joel’s character, I borrowed some of Corcoran’s methods of compensation. Joel uses the glasses excuse, asks others to read for him, and employs deception such as taking his Bible to church and pretending he’s following along. Most valuable in writing his character were Corcoran’s descriptions of his emotional journey—the shame, frustration, and fear of being exposed.

For all readers with a heart for literacy, Corcoran’s book is a must read. In any case, it’s a fascinating tale. Thanks, Mr. Corcoran, for sharing your story with American. Like my fictional character, Joel Greenfield, many have profited by the telling of your journey.

About the Author:

An award-winning author, June Foster is a retired teacher with a BA in education and MA in counseling. June’s book Give Us This Day was a finalist in EPIC’s eBook awards and a finalist in the National Readers Choice Awards for best first book. Ryan’s Father was one of three finalists in the published contemporary fiction category of the Oregon Christian Writers Cascade Writing Contest and Awards. Deliver Us was a finalist in COTT’s Laurel Awards. June has written four novels for Desert Breeze Publishing. The Bellewood Series, Give Us This Day, As We Forgive, and Deliver Us, and Hometown Fourth of July. Ryan’s Father is published by WhiteFire Publishing. Red and the Wolf, a modern day retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, is available from Amazon.com. The Almond Tree series, For All Eternity, Echoes From the Past, What God Knew, and Almond Street Mission are available at Amazon.com. June enjoys writing stories about characters who overcome the circumstances in their lives by the power of God and His Word. Recently June has seen publication of Christmas at Raccoon Creek, Lavender Fields Inn, Misty Hollow, and Restoration of the Heart. Visit June at junefoster.com.

About Misty Hollow:

When two people are cultures apart, only God can bridge the gap.

Molly Cambridge arrives in the tiny Appalachian town of Misty Hollow intent upon bringing literacy to the area’s uneducated women, only to be met by opposition at every turn by the headstrong, unbending mayor. When she asks for use of Town Hall, he refuses her offer to teach without pay and turns her down flat saying he only allows village business conducted there.

Joel Greenfield, son of a poor dirt farmer, is illiterate. When he admits to his passion to turn the family farm into a dairy business, the obstacles are insurmountable. He couldn’t even read the manual on how to use farming machinery, much less generate the necessary capital. His father’s objections further frustrate his desires.

When Joel offers Molly use of the old barn on the Greenfield property, they discover an irresistible attraction for each other. But the mayor has plans of his own to break them up, send Molly back to Nashville, and seize the Greenfield farm for himself. Can Molly and Joel overcome the hurdles to fulfilling their dreams and find their way to each other? Only God has the answers.

BLIND HATRED: A DEFINITION AND A CONFESSION by Kathleen E. Friesen

My mother would never allow her children to say, “I hate you!” No matter how heated the argument (and with five kids, there were plenty of quarrels), she would remind us that hatred means a desire for death. “Do you really want (brother/sister) to die?” No, of course not. Our heads would hang, and we’d (eventually) make up.

Mom’s definition wasn’t far off the one The Advanced English Dictionary gives for hatred: The emotion of intense dislike; a feeling of dislike so strong that it demands action.

Trevor Hiebert, the hero in Redemption’s Whisper, harbors hatred toward a former foster father and has vowed to exact revenge. His hatred is understandable, but it blinds him and hurts those close to him.

The Bible tells us in 1 John 2:11, “But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.” That describes Trevor so well.

It also describes me.

I know what it feels like to hate, to wish death upon someone I knew. When I discovered that the father of a two-year-old girl I loved dearly had sexually traumatized her and her equally cherished siblings, my vision went dark and my heart turned to hatred. I wanted this “pillar of the church” to pay. I wished all the evil he’d committed would turn on him and destroy him.

Like Trevor, I could not forgive the culprit on my own. In fact, the only way I could forgive was to step back, admit my inability, and release him—and my anger—to the God who knows. Only He can move a heart to repentance.

Only He could change my heart to the point where I can pray for that man, not for punishment but for healing of the wounds that provoked him to harm innocents. It’s a prayer I have to repeat each time I think of him. May God have mercy on us both.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9)

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for Your redeeming grace.

About the Author:

Kathleen Friesen writes contemporary stories of faith that overcomes tough trials and deep heartaches. Her desire is for her readers to see themselves in the characters of her stories, and to realize that Jesus Christ is the true hero. Kathleen spent her childhood in the Pacific Northwest and, after marrying the man of her dreams, survived the first thirty years of married life on the Canadian prairies, where they raised three fantastic children. Now she and her patient husband, Ron, live in the beautiful Okanagan Valley of British Columbia.

More About Redemption’s Whisper:

Desperate to escape her past, Hayley Blankenship flies from Toronto to the Saskatoon home of Pastor Dave and Lydia Harris, the only people who may be able to help her. If she doesn’t find a reason to hope, she may give in to the temptation to end it all. If only someone could love her, in spite of what she’s done.

Trevor Hiebert aces the interview for his dream job in Toronto, but he’s torn. His beloved parents need him, and while he doesn’t want to let them down, he craves the affirmation he hopes to find in the big city. But on the flight home to Saskatoon, he meets an intriguing, gorgeous redhead with dark secrets of her own. Can these two troubled souls gain the peace they need—and in the process, find love?

About Nila’s Hope:

Just when her career as a carpenter and a relationship with handsome co-worker Will Jamison are within reach, Nila Black’s abusive ex-boyfriend is released from prison. He’s out of jail, out for revenge, and making promises she knows he’ll keep. Nila will do whatever it takes to save her friends from the evil that will come their way if she doesn’t put distance between them-even if it means abandoning her new-found faith. It will take a miracle and an angelic messenger to show Nila that God is her greatest protector. He has never left her side, and He wants only the best for her and for the man she loves.

Did you miss the Inner Source interview with Hayley Blankenship, the heroine from Redemption’s WhisperIf so, you can read it here, and Monday’s interview with Kathleen can be found here.

Inner Source also previously interviewed Nila and Kathleen regarding Nila’s Hope.