Selah: Vacation

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My husband and I are going on a vacation—together. That may not sound like news to most people, but for us it is more rare than a blue moon.

In 40 years we’ve only been on vacation together about a dozen times—and most of those were with family.

He’s always been a go and see kind of guy. Fill up the schedule. See all the sites. I would come home exhausted.

This time, he’s on vacation. No agenda. Not interested in going or doing.

Resting. Really resting.

I’m encouraged. It’s as if I have permission to rest, too.

Why do I need someone else to give me permission?

Do you need permission to rest? To Sabbath?

We’re planning to go to Hawaii next year for our 40th. I asked for recommendations from friends on Facebook. One of the best came my friend Mike. He said this: My recommendation… just go to Hawaii (I liked Maui)sit on the beach during the day and relax. Go to a Luau in the evening and enjoy yourself. Take notes for all the stuff you would like to visit on your next trip, maybe squeeze one of those in on this trip but most of all relax. Don’t worry about your hair while you’re there because there is no such thing as a good hair day on the islands. And relax, treat like one long Sabbath.

There’s something to be said for this kind of thinking. Get someplace in nature. Appreciate God’s amazing handiwork. Breathe.

I’m breathing a lot of Arizona air this week. And thanking God for the opportunity to rest.

When Will I See You Again?

This morning as I was getting ready to write I found this post from last year. I need these words again. Maybe their truth will rub an ache in your faith, too. Selah.

Pot of Manna

For we walk by faith, not by sight, (2 Corinthians 5:7)

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I’m at Florida Christian Writers Conference. It’s a great place to be on so many levels. For one thing, the weather here is delightful. I’m also improving my craft, networking, and making new friends.

So, it might make more sense to you when I tell you I walked out on my balcony and prayed: Lord, where will I, when will I see you again? (And then I started singing, “When will I see you again?” by the Three Degrees…it’s on youtube if you need an earworm)

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I love my regular times with the Lord. Morning routines of prayer and attention to the Word can put such a positive energy into the beginnings of my day. If there’s a sunrise or a sunset filling the sky, it feels like God is tapping me on my shoulder reminding me he’s…

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Hopefully Devoted: Praying Specifics

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Do you ever wonder if God gets bored with our prayers?

I know I do.

A confession like that from a pastor might sound odd. But it’s true.

If my prayers are all fluff and stuff, lacking substance or direction: what’s the point?

They begin to sound as meaningful as Charlie Brown’s teacher, “Wah, wah, wah wah wah wah.”

Jesus had an encounter with a blind man. He looked at the blind man and asked, “What do you want me to do for you?” (Mark 10:51ff)

The man didn’t hem and haw. He didn’t talk around the issue. He didn’t try to butter Jesus up to get him to do “whatever.”

To Jesus’ direct question, the man replied directly, “I want to see.” And that’s just what he got.

God doesn’t want us to hem and haw, dance around the issue, or butter him up.

God speaks us to directly because he loves us.

Why would we do any less?

Sunday Morning

I read this just as I was preparing to write my entry for today’s thoughts on my yearly focus of being still. I stopped. I just need to dwell here for a while. And I invite you to do the same…

Live & Learn


There are many kinds of prayer. There is a kind of prayer that’s like breathing. There is a kind of prayer that’s like talking to your best friend all day long. There is a kind of prayer in the face of beauty that lifts your hands up because it would be harder to keep them down. There is a kind of prayer for meaning that is ­answered by the one who wrote the book of the whole world and your life, so that the prayer is like waking up and finding yourself a character in the most elaborate of novels, as you’ve always ­suspected: authored, written into a world of meaning, a world meaningful because it was created by someone. There is a kind of prayer that is only a listening, the soft voice of God saying your name, saying “come to me, come to me.”

~ Kristin Dombek

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Message Meme: Keep Sabbath

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I don’t know how life goes for you, but there are times (too many) when I feel like I’m doing everything to just keep the plates spinning.

Could that be why God established the fourth commandment: 8 “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 You have six days each week for your ordinary work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy (Exodus 20:8-11, NLT).”

What in the world is Sabbath? How can we find that rhythm of rest?

According to Lynne M. Barb in her book, Sabbath Keeping, Finding Freedom in the Rhythms of Rest, she describes Sabbath this way:

”What is Sabbath? A weekly day of rest and worship. A day to cease working and relax in God’s care for us. A day to stop the things that occupy our workdays and participate in activities that nurture peace, worship, relationships, celebration, and thankfulness. The purpose of the sabbath is to clear away the distractions of our lives so we can rest in God and experience God’s grace in a new way (p. 11).”

I created several memes for this week’s message, but the two that seem to fit the direction of the message were these:

 

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How is God speaking to about keeping Sabbath?

 

Meet the Author: Ginger Solomon

Today I am excited to share my post with an author who has done more to open my mind—and heart—to reading romance.

Ginger Solomon is the author of the Belikarian Weddings series. And the third book in her series is coming out 9/22/16. When I heard there was another story I jumped at the opportunity to read it and share it with you.

One of the things I love is knowing more about the authors whose books I enjoy reading. So I want you to know somethings about Ginger.

Ginger, tell us a little about where you live and write—and about your amazing family.

I live in northern Alabama where the temps have yet to realize it’s fall. I write wherever I can find a quiet space at any given moment. 

I have a wonderful, supportive husband and seven great kids—five boys and two girls. My two oldest (boys) are engaged to be married, and my oldest girl left a few weeks ago to go to a nearby school supported by our church. My third son is in his sophomore year of college. My youngest daughter is a senior in high school. And then I have a 9th grader and a 7th grader. I’ve home schooled them all and have been blessed by the experience.

Why romance? With all the different genres, what draws you to romance?

I don’t know. Maybe because my husband doesn’t have a romantic bone in his body—which I knew when I married him. I find my romance in my head. I’m very, very careful not to compare my heroes (or those of other writers that I read) to my hubby because he is great in so many other ways. I also like romance because I enjoy the correlation between the love between a man and a woman to that of our relationship with God. It’s not give and take. It’s give 100% always. God always provides His best for us, even when we don’t understand His ways. So should a man and a woman strive for the best thing for their partner.

What has been the biggest influence in your writing?

My relationship with Jesus. I know love because He first loved me. I grew up in a dysfunctional family that didn’t show love well. I know my mother loved me the best way she knew how, but… Anyway, when I met Jesus and truly turned my life over to Him, I knew what TRUE love felt like. I strive to show others that unconditional love through my writing.

Most writers face “writer’s block” at some time. How do you overcome it?

I have a side story—I call it my play story—that has no rules. I write without concern for whether it’s believable or whether anyone will like it or whatever. I still follow basic writing rules (like no head-hopping), but it’s a no-limits story. It frees up my mind to work out whatever is wrong with my main manuscript.

Do you have a portion of scripture that encourages you as a writer?

Every year, many people find a word they hope will encourage them through the year. I do that, but I also choose a verse. This year my verse is Colossians 3:17, “And whatever you do or say, do it as a representation of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” My word for 2016 is consistent. I have tried to be consistent in my testimony about who Jesus is to me—through my books, my blog, and my life.

What advice would you give someone who is considering self-publishing?

Weigh the costs—cover, editing, formatting. How much can you do yourself? I am pretty computer literate, so I do the covers and formatting myself. I have qualified writing friends who edit for me and in exchange I edit for them. Read about others’ experiences. Learn from their mistakes and successes.

How can we pray for you?

I’m not sure when this will post, but on Friday September 23rd, I’m having a pretty invasive surgery to remove a mass that is on my pituitary gland—effectively brain surgery (but they’re going through my nose). There are tons of risks (as with all surgeries), but I appreciate prayer that my sight is not adversely affected (effected, I hate those two words) as the mass is pushing on my optic nerve. There are three scenarios…my sight will not change, which I can live with; my sight will get better, which is what I’m praying for; or I could lose my sight completely, which is a rare occurrence, but possible.

I will have at least a week of being down and out, so I’d also appreciate prayer for my family as they deal with Mom being unable to do everything she normally does. 😉

Here’s a teaser to get you interested:

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Aileen Najjar joins the royal household when her boss marries the princess. She loves working in the kitchen, but when the head cook allows her to prepare most of the meals, trouble finds her. The handsome head of security turns out to be her ally as she struggles to fit in.

 Matthias Firat wants to find the mole who leaked information leading to the attempts on the princess’s life. His attraction to the new kitchen helper prompts him to ask for her help.

 When she discovers the truth, it might very well break both their hearts.

Author’s Bio: Ginger Solomon is a Christian, a wife, a mother to seven, and a writer—in that order (mostly). She writes or reads inspirational romance of any genre, and if she’s busy homeschooling, doing laundry, or fixing dinner, it’s on her mind. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, president of her local writing group, and blogs regularly for InspyRomance.com and at gingersolomon.com.

 

 

Samuel and a Teachable Moment

I have spent so many hours watching the Olympics this past week. I have let my reading and writing slip to the periphery.

Then I read my friend, Evelyn Mann’s article about an incident that happened with her son. Read it here: Miracle Man

If you have children, work with children, or live near children take time to consider Evelyn’s suggestions for ways to bridge the wonderment and answer the questions.

Samuel is an amazing child. Catch his joy!

 

A Gentle Request for How You Respond to Jim’s Passing

I have admired and respected Rebeca Seitz for several years. This blog post is so profound and necessary I couldn’t not reblog it. As a pastor, I am tasked to comfort families at the death of loved ones. It’s not always easy and sometimes I do play the heaven card too soon and too easily. I’m keeping a copy of this post as a reminder to myself and an encouragement to those I serve. Read and share.

Rebeca Seitz's Blog

Jim James D. Seitz

On Saturday, July 30, 2016, at 11:33am, my fantastic father-in-love James D. Seitz finished his battle with Parkinson’s Disease. He was 82 years old. I loved him dearly. I am not loving something about the response to his death, so I’m writing.

Three years ago, the Hubs and I moved the kiddos down to Naples to help out with Jim’s care. He and Grace allowed us the honor of being a real part of this journey and, while I won’t lie and say it was anywhere in the same ballpark as easy, I’m glad we did. I’m happy we got that time with him, that my kiddos know the amazing grandfather they had, that my mother-in-love and I grew closer as we cared for the love of her life, the man she was married to for 55 years.

Now, most of my Facebook friends are actual friends…

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Book Review: The Apocalypse Within

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I have never been interested in studying Revelation. The most I have ever done is give attention to the letters to the seven churches and the wonderful imagery in the final chapter. As far as I was concerned, the most important word was Maranatha—come now, Lord!

DiTizio’s book claims to be different kind of study of Revelation, one that “is about what happens inside of us when we accept Christ into our life.” He asserts that the imagery throughout the book are “about our sinful nature being destroyed by the blood of the lamb.”

To say I was intrigued is an understatement. I quickly tune out those who espouse the contemporary fulfilments of the players in revelation. I just felt there had to be more. We spend so much time trying to explain what will happen in the end times. The imposition has always felt stilted and contrived.

While I don’t completely feel that this book has answered all my questions, it has given me much to consider.

One of the things that I found interesting—enough that I will do more research—is it’s analysis of the Aramaic language. The author draws on experts in this area, as well as many others.

In the very first chapter, the author makes an unusual statement. He says that it is his hope the book will prove useful, but if it doesn’t then go back to what you’re comfortable with, and he makes reference to 1 Thessalonians 5:21: Prove all things, hold fast that which is good.

It’s rare that I finish a book and not have a solid yay, or nay opinion. But maybe that’s not such a bad thing. This book has put me in a place where I just might have to do more studying of Revelation.

This book was provided to me by BookCrash in return for a fair and honest review.

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