Marriage Helps

 

 

 

https://www.focusonthefamily.com/media/daily-broadcast/managing-marriage-conflicts-in-healthy-ways will take you to a site that enables you to hear their daily broadcast on September 26, 2017 at Focus on the Family radio.

 

It features Greg Smalley and his wife Erin, talking with the show’s host, Jim Daly. The featured resource that Focus on the Family offers in connection with the program is pictured below:

 

Erin, Greg and Gary Smalley wrote book, The Wholehearted Wife: 10 Keys to a More Loving Relationship, which was published by Tyndale House, Carol Stream, IL and copyrighted in 2014.

 

The Smalley’s and Jim Daly discussed the benefits of conflict and the dangers of unrestrained conflicts that cause harm.

 

“Focus on the Family” radio’s input blessed our family dynamics numerous times over the decades that I’ve listened to them and to the experts they interviewed. If you’ve never heard their broadcast, I invite you to check them out now.

May God bless you.

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Does God Want Me Writing?

A couple of blogs ago I wrote of people I’ve met at Writers’ Conferences and of authors whose books I’ve read.

 

This book is one I felt led to possibly by God at a mall about 12 years ago when I visited a bookstore whiling away the time. I purchased: The Well-Fed Writer: Financial Self-Sufficiency as a Freelance Writer in Six Months or Less by Peter Bowerman, copyright 2000.

 

He dedicates the book: “To Bob Bly, who gave me the idea in the first place. You’re my hero.”

 

Some people think God wants Christians to prosper so we’ll be a good witness to others of God’s blessings. My husband once told me, “What about all the Christians in the world who are just making it day by day, or they’re being beaten and held in prison? Does God love them less than the rich and comfortable ones?”

 

I said, “No, He doesn’t love those in scarcity less than those prospering.”

 

Some of the books I’ll be recommending tell of how to make a generous living from writing. In the Bible, some of the major people whom Jesus quoted from the Old Testament were rich. Yet, Jesus also used Moses as an example and he fell from favor with Pharaoh and ran away, which removed him from being a part of the royal family. Moses became poor in living quarters, yet rich in provision and relationship with God.

 

In Matthew 25: 34-40, it tells us that God loves those who help the poor, He calls them righteous. As we do to others, it’s as if we’re helping Jesus. This is describing the judgment seat, before these verses and beyond.

 

To return to writing sources, on Peter Bowerman’s book cover, it tells us that Bob Bly was the author of 50+ titles. I believe I’ve read Bob Bly’s Guide to Freelance Writing Success: How to Make $100,000.00 a Year as a Freelance Writer and Have the Time of Your Life Doing It, published in 2006 by Filbert Publishing; Kandiyohi, MN.

 

Writers I recommend are Jeff Gerke, Penelope Stokes, Charlie Shedd, Randy Ingermanson, Donald Maas, Cec Murphey, Gilbert Morris, Walter Dean Myers, Francis Flaherty, and Sage Cohen as well.

 

There are many good teachers available for specific kinds of writing. Do you have any favorites I haven’t mentioned?

 

I heard a while ago that Dean Koontz is thinking of writing a revised book on the craft of wordsmithing. I tried to get an older version on fiction from inter library loan, but the head librarian read me an article saying Dean Koontz wanted to upgrade his popular tome. She wouldn’t order it for me, and to buy one costs hundreds of dollars online. That’s how it goes sometimes.

 

May God bless you.

“The King is Coming”

 

 

I sat in a recliner reading Proverbs the other day and the song, “The King is Coming” popped into my brain out of nowhere. I sang that at a Christmas play four years ago or more.

 

From what I understand, Gloria Gaither wrote it in 1972, so I went to YouTube to copy the video link for it if you’d like to hear it.

 

I went to the nursing home for our weekly Bible study and after going through Mark 11, one of the younger women, sitting in a wheel chair and needing oxygen, asked about heaven. So, we read Rev. 21 and 22 for her. The end of chapter 22 tells us that the King is coming soon, be ready and tells us what type of sins will keep people out of heaven.

 

My daughter told me recently that the stars and planets are lined up as they were when Jesus arrived as a newborn over 2,000 years ago and so, many Christians are saying that Christ is coming back tomorrow. Her pastor asked her if she’s ready for Saturday. She said, “If people are saying Jesus is coming back on Saturday, September 23, 2017, He’ll come on another day because He said no one will know the day and the hour.”

 

He did tell us that we should be looking up because our redemption draws near. That we would know by the hurricanes, rumors of war, the love of Christians growing cold, people going to and fro over the earth, and earthquakes, etc.

May God bless you!

Time Wasted?

I just spent at least two hours writing about the authors I’ve learned from and the places I met them, when I went on an internet journey to find their books and names and couldn’t find them. One was a huge coffee-table book I thought was about the contributions of African Americans that cost $50.00 and got presented to us by John Sherrill in the 1990’s in Syracuse, NY. I checked Google, Amazon.com, and a coffee-table antique booksellers site and none had that book referenced. Maybe he brought someone else’s book that he contributed to, I don’t know. I remember thinking that $50.00 for a huge book of pictures would be a hard sell when most hard cover books sold for a lot less than that back then. It was a beautiful book and he obviously took pride in it.

 

He was elderly at the time and he spoke with concern over the monopolization of the media taking place. Most of the conservative-voiced news outlets were being purchased by liberal-voiced owners at an alarming rate to him, including television and print purveyors.

 

My husband is busy watching shows on Netflix or YouTube about eating a plant-based diet for health and vitality. A friend told me today that her sister is not responding to chemo-therapy for her cancer and she’s come out of a three-year remission. She’s trying a new chemo with hopes that that one will work for her. As my husband listened to “Engine2Recipes” the man said something like, “Phytochemicals in plants are like fire extinguishers for the body within all the different colors of fruits and vegetables going after unhealthy cells.”

 

This healthy-looking man tells householders that oil is not necessary for eating and he shows delicious meals made without excess salt and fats. He goes through their pantries to read labels on foods and then takes them to the grocery store for alternate choices.

 

Since my attention is being grabbed, I’m just going to list some people I really appreciate for sharing their knowledge and encouragement for authors. They are: Marlene Bagnull, whom I met at my first conference in Upstate, NY. I went through her book, Write His Answer, which is a Bible study for writers. On her website, www.writehisanswer.com/bookstore/ she sells a third edition which came out in 2014.

 

Davis Bunn was the keynote speaker at Montrose Christian Writers Conference in Montrose, PA not far from Binghamton, NY. He told us to keep working on our craft and that we beginning writers are no different than he was when he got started. I’ve read most of his books, from historical novels to suspense novels to nostalgic works to current events novels. He is a prolific writer and his wife joined him after some years as a co-author.

 

Elaine Miller offered classes at Montrose as well over the years; she has published books on marriage that I purchased and related to. She’s an accomplished speaker and frankly, she motivates me to listen to what’s being taught and then act on it.

 

David Fessenden is an agent with tons of experience as a writer and editor that I met at Montrose. His book Writing the Christian Non-fiction Book: Concept to Contract, published by SonFire Media, LLC; Galax, VA and copyrighted in 2011 is one of the best I’ve read. I marked it up and read it more than once. It tells the nitty-gritty stuff that I need to hear: one of which is re-write even if you need to do it six or seven times.

 

Marsha Hubler took over the reins of director at Montrose Christian Writers Conference from Patti Souder. I’ve taken classes from Marsha and gleaned insights from Patti that blessed me big time. I’m not able to attend every year, but they strive for a family atmosphere, in my opinion and reach that goal.

 

Ah, I need to close. All of these writers/teachers have a heart to reach people for Jesus. I’ve been to secular conferences in Buffalo, NY and Syracuse, NY that taught me a lot about writing. I just like the spiritual aspect, so I tend to attend Christian conferences when I can. I’ve gone to two or three American Christian Writers events in Upstate, NY with Reg Forder as director. They helped a ton, as well. I became a member of their association years ago and continue to do so. I heard Dr. Dennis Hensley speak there and agent Steve Laube and other professional teachers. I’ve purchased quite a few of Dr. Hensley’s titles.

 

I met Holly Miller at Montrose after I purchased her book, How to Earn More than Pennies for Your Thoughts: A Christian Writer’s Guidebook. It’s copyrighted in 1990, and published by Warner Press, Inc.; Anderson, IN. It’s got valid advice for today’s authors.

 

Maybe I can continue to research my earlier blog article and sell it to a publication. That would make my time not wasted.

 

God bless you!

Writing Books

 

I like reference books. When I buy a writers’ book, I often begin working the examples. One of James Scott Bell’s pieces of advice suggested to read through the book once and highlight what grabs you. Then, read through it again and underline the thoughts that really stand out in red. I’ve done that. I began with his book, Plot & Structure: Techniques and exercises for crafting a plot that grips readers from start to finish.

 Front Cover

It was copyrighted in 2004, and published by Writer’s Digest Books, Cincinnati, Ohio. The photo is from: https://books.google.com/books/about/Write_Great_Fiction_Plot_Structure.html?id=0arFsgEACAAJ&sorce=kp_cover

 

 

 

Another of his books I like is The Art of War for Writers: fiction writing strategies, tactics and exercises.   

Front Cover

This photo is from: https://books.google.com/books/about/The_Art_of_War_for_Writers.html?id=9vwzOJFKtc8C&source=kp_cover

 

 

He copyrighted it in 2009, and Writer’s Digest Books, Cincinnati, OH published it.

 

Yesterday. I mentioned that we are made in the image and likeness of God and therefore, we are creative beings. I read and implement strategies from a variety of published authors that move from fiction to writing non-fiction about what helped them in the craft. Each book is unique because we are all individuals.

 

I’ve enjoyed learning from so many writers over the years, whether in person at writer’s conferences or through their expertise on the written page via paper or electronic devices. What a privilege. After the learning comes the doing, putting words on paper or screen.

 

Where we differ from God: He creates and it’s perfect. We attempt artistry and if we leave it alone for a few days, when we read it, our masterpiece doesn’t make sense or present the image we pictured in our mind. Then the editing begins.

 

Also, we may face fear of ridicule or rejection. God’s Word tells us that perfect love casts out fear. God’s love is perfect because He is love. 1 John 4 talks about His love.

 

Apostle Paul wrote the Colossian believers and in the following verses he talks about Jesus:

Col 2:6  As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,

Col 2:7  rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.

Col 2:8  Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.

Col 2:9  For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;

Col 2:10  and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

 

From these verses and others in the Old Testament, I believe Jesus is God, the Son. I can’t say that He didn’t fear when He took off all His godly attributes and took on the form of man. Before the crucifixion, it says in the Gospels that He sweat blood because of the anguish He experienced in the Garden of Gethsemane during prayer.

 

In the book of Hebrews, it tells us that Jesus understands us completely because He became a man, but He was completely filled with the Spirit of God. As humans, we can experience an infilling of the Holy Spirit at times, but we have to seek God for more of the Spirit. It takes work because we’re in a spiritual battle and our flesh wants to do what the body wants to do.

 

It’s the same with writing as a career. I find that I can’t give up trying to learn more and trying to face down a tired mind and a weary body when I need to get something done for a client or a deadline. Also, keeping up with technological changes and industry standards and marketing takes stamina and using more brain cells.

 

To me, staying the course in Christianity and keeping on track for writing are worth the effort and bring me joy. The latter is a lesser joy, but if I give up there’s something within me that urges me back to the creative endeavor.

 

For a while in college and then for another seven years, I pushed God aside and lived as I saw fit. As a newlywed and a new mom, it should have been the happiest years of my life. Things and people satisfied for a short amount of time; selfishness caused discontentment and frustration and sorrow.

 

When we moved to another town, God allowed me to run into Christian neighbors and at first, I resented them. Then, they were so stinking nice. One said to me after I started to argue about a Christian public figure whom I knew nothing about, but I’d been hearing newscasters bashing him, “I thought you said you were a Christian? Can’t we agree to disagree?”

 

What could I say to that?

 

More than thirty years later, I’m still following Jesus and even in the hard times, I’d never turn back.  That’s my fervent prayer and hope. I don’t trust myself, but I’ve prayed, “God keep me.”

 

When I first read the Scriptures where Jesus said if they persecuted Him they’ll persecute His followers, I stopped and pondered that a while. I’d rather be persecuted here on earth for a short time than to be in hell, tormented forever.

 

Christians are persecuted more now than ever before in history.

 

I heard the stars and planets are lined up exactly as they were when Jesus came to earth. Some folks believe Jesus is coming back for His church on Saturday. My daughter said when they start saying the day and time, then we know that won’t be the day or time, because Jesus said we won’t know the day or hour.

 

With all the earthquakes and hurricanes and tumult in the world, it seems closer than ever. I guess we’ll wait and see.

 

May God bless you. I’m grateful for the opportunity to write. Thanks for reading this if you stuck around for the whole thing. I didn’t expect to say so much.

Creating for Fun

 

I looked through a booklet I received when my children were born, entitled NAMES FOR BOYS & GIRLS with an advertisement from Enfamil baby formula in the center.

 

I wanted to name some characters with their heritage and personality in mind. To me, that’s fun. I got online for names that didn’t make the book.

 

When I see people, animals, plants, rock formations, clouds, forest, bodies of water, the stars and moon, etc., I get amazed all over again by the creativity of God.

 

Gen 1:1, (KJV):  In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

 

Gen 1:26  Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

Gen 1:27  So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

 

God told us to take care of the earth and the animals in Genesis 1:26.

 

Well anyway, we’re all so different. I got thinking of a guy I went to high school with; he was a pretty good student.

 

He was in my English class and afterwards he’d tell me how much he hated that subject.

 

Math tripped me up and he excelled in that. I’ve found over the years that the more I use math, the better I get at it. In high school, math was like a foreign language to me that I’d never encountered before. I learned it all through elementary school, but it didn’t register in my brain. I did just well enough to be average.

 

In New York State back in the day, if you were on a certain track in school, you didn’t get to take art or photography unless you worked diligently with your counselor to put it in your schedule. Those classes filled up quick, too. One of my best friends was an exceptional artist, so she took the same courses I did but majored, so to speak, in art.

 

I learned to crochet during my lunch hour with a teacher and two other girls. I signed up to work on the school newspaper and took gymnastics after school as well, but the writing grabbed my attention and the sport lost out.

 

Another guy I knew from high school absolutely hated conjugating verbs for French class. I took German and that’s got a lot in common with English, some of the time. I don’t remember struggling with the verbs, although their word placement is different than ours. One fellow in class went to Germany over the summer with his family and he came back with a strong accent. I never sounded like anything but an American trying to pick up another language.

 

A family friend went to school near Geneseo State University and she learned Spanish, I think, at a very young age because they learned that children pick up language easily the younger they are. She might have started in pre-school or kindergarten.

 

I had intended to write about some creative writing books I’ve been working through tonight. So, I hope to do that tomorrow.

 

What things did you try in school that you’ve incorporated into your life as an adult or young person?

 

I hope you are well! May God bless you!

 

 

God Versus the Devil

 

God is good and the devil is not. God is all powerful and the devil is the defeated foe. Why then do Christians fall under the devil’s limited power?

 

 

Our Friday afternoon Bible study read through Mark 11 yesterday, in the New King James Version.

 

 

After each section, I’d teach what it meant with God’s help and I also listened to the others’ opinions.

 

 

When we came near the end of the chapter at verse 19, we’re told they left the city in the evening.

 

 

In the beginning of the chapter Jesus looked through the leaves of a fig tree hoping for figs because He was hungry. It wasn’t the season for the fruit but I’ve heard that occasionally there is a second growth.

 

 

When the tree proved to be unfruitful, Jesus cursed the fig tree.

 

 

Mark 11:20  Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots.

Mar 11:21  And Peter, remembering, said to Him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.”

Mar 11:22  So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God.

Mar 11:23  For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.

Mar 11:24  Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.

Mar 11:25  “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.

Mar 11:26  But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”

 

 

I stopped a minute to think. How often do I pray with absolute, unshakable faith?

 

 

A few years back, I prayed for a pastor set to go in for surgery by the end of the week. In full faith, I told him God could heal him so he wouldn’t need the procedure. When he asked me to pray, my faith wavered. I did pray but he knew my confidence had fled.

 

 

Every month now, we pray for healing at our church. My faith rarely wavers and if it does, I ask God to give me faith, right in the middle of the praying and receive it. Sometimes God moves and answers our prayers. Other times, it seems as though people leave with their illnesses intact.

 

 

I don’t doubt God’s ability. I’ve seen too many answers to prayer and many healings.

 

 

Perhaps our sin hinders God’s response or we harbor bitterness against others. Maybe we’re in a Job situation.

 

 

When King David asked God to cleanse his heart and renew a right spirit within him, I believe he received what he asked for, a right standing with God. He also lived a life filled with consequences for previous sins.

 

 

When King David ignored his son’s sinful behavior and failed to punish him, as noted in 2 Samuel 13, Absalom, another son of David’s with a different mother, took vengeance. Things got worse from there.

 

 

I believe when we Christians live for ourselves and disregard God’s commands, we empower the devil to come against us and God allows consequences so hopefully, we’ll wake up and commit ourselves to follow God with all our being. The devil is defeated but he’s crafty and he lays traps for people.

 

 

May God bless you and me. I need Him more all the time.

 

Created Beautifully

Search Me, O God, and Know My Heart

Psalm 139:1, (NKJV):  For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. O LORD, You have searched me and known me.

Psa 139:2  You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off.

Psa 139:3  You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways.

Psa 139:4  For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.

Psa 139:5  You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me.

Psa 139:6  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it.

Psa 139:7  Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?

Psa 139:8  If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.

Psa 139:9  If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

Psa 139:10  Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me.

Psa 139:11  If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,” Even the night shall be light about me;

Psa 139:12  Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You.

Psa 139:13  For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.

Psa 139:14  I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.

Psa 139:15  My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.

Psa 139:16  Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.

Psa 139:17  How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them!

Psa 139:18  If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You.

Psa 139:19  Oh, that You would slay the wicked, O God! Depart from me, therefore, you bloodthirsty men.

Psa 139:20  For they speak against You wickedly; Your enemies take Your name in vain.

Psa 139:21  Do I not hate them, O LORD, who hate You? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?

Psa 139:22  I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies.

Psa 139:23  Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties;

Psa 139:24  And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.

I was reading through some of the Psalms today and I saw this one with a notation: “Bernice’s favorite verses.”

I thought I’d share it with you because it uplifted my spirits. Not the hating part, those are King David’s sentiments.

May God bless you!

 

 

Elections

I ended up working the New York State Primary election yesterday in a small town.

I got to meet a few people I never knew before. The last election I worked drew hundreds of voters.

This time with lower positions in government and less people running for offices, the turn out was decidedly smaller.

I think citizens take our government system for granted. For those who are cynical, my husband says a vote not cast definitely doesn’t count.

In Proverbs it says that God sets princes on the throne. In America, I figure that means presidents in office. To God be the glory, He has everything under control.

Enjoy your day.

 

Blogger Recognition Award

Thank you so very much, https://dandelionsacre.com, for giving me an award for blogging. I appreciate your kind comments and your follow.

I began blogging over seven years ago after attending Montrose Christian Writers Conference in Montrose, PA near Binghamton, NY. I didn’t really know what to expect and it was a slow start. I am still learning, especially about importing pictures.

I so enjoy your photographs and learning about bits and pieces of your life.

Advice I’d give to new bloggers: As a writer, it’s important to be vulnerable so people will relate to what you are saying, but it’s important to use wisdom. Whatever you write will be out there for whomever to read for a long time, maybe forever.

I needed to learn to show up more consistently so people following me would take the time to stop by the site.

I began to understand the importance of following other bloggers. It’s a community and I really enjoy reading other people’s thoughts and opinions. I’ve learned from folks across the world or across my country. How awesome is that?

I’d like to nominate the following bloggers for a blogger recognition award. I saved dandelionsacre.com’s beautiful award on my computer to copy and paste on my site and it told me how to paste it in language I couldn’t understand. So, with no pretty award picture, here they are:

  1. For wisdom and beautiful poetry: lifecameos at wordpresscom7862wordpresscom.wordpress.com/
  2. For insights into science and faith and intrigue: endatymes.wordpress.com/
  3. For a blog by a husband, father and man of faith being real: afracturedfaithblog.wordpress.com/
  4. For cooking and beautiful gardens and family love: indianeskitchen.com
  5. thedaddyblitz.wordpress.com by a Christian dad and husband and a thinking person with some great advice
  6. texaslawstudent.com by a young fellow sharing his love of Texas and ideas worth reading
  7. savannahhardcastle.wordpress.com/ writes with compassion for sufferers and gives wisdom that offers comfort

I could choose many more, but it’s late and I’m losing the ability to think and to craft intelligible sentences. Thanks for stopping by my site and I hope you’ll stop at these blogs as well.

This is a copy of Elizabeth’s instructions to me:

“So, congratulations, guys, for receiving the Blogger Recognition Award, nomination! If you’d like to pass the love along, here are the rules:
Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
Write a post to show your award.
Give a brief story of how your blog started.
Give pieces of advice to new bloggers.
Select 5-15 other bloggers you want to give this award to.
Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them and provide the link to the post you created.”