Changes Discussed

 

Image result for how many lightbulbs does it take to change a person?https://www.newhopepublishers.com/shop/how-many-light-bulbs-does-it-take-to-change-a-person/

 

In our Ladies Bible study yesterday, we were on Chapter 12 in How Many Lightbulbs Does It Take to Change a Person? with the subtitle: Bright Ideas for Delightful Transformation. It’s written by Rhonda Rhea, published by New Hope Publishers, Birmingham, AL and copyrighted in 2011.

The title of the Chapter is “Sometimes the Key to Change is…Change”. I almost anticipated her talking about pennies and dimes throughout the whole section, but I guessed wrong.

One of her favorite things is chocolate and it made the pages once again. She mentions candy bars and the various sizes available nowadays, but she got to the point of the title. We can’t change unless we’re willing to change. We have to shift gears and think differently, she tells us at one spot. God helps us with that, if we’re willing.

Then she quotes Jeremiah 29:11: “‘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.”

I love that Scripture. There are days when I need lots of hope, maybe more for others than myself, when I hear of losses and diseases from friends and on the news. Not that I don’t have stuff rear its ugly head, but I’m blessed with support from my family, our church, and friends. Scripture gives incredible comfort and prayer does, too.

I know some folks that sell or own essential oils and they’ll offer me a chance to inhale whatever fragrance that might help my mood to improve. I’m not against that, but today I anticipated someone saying, “Oh, you’re stressed. Let’s pray.”

They didn’t. They kindly opened first one bottle of diluted oil mixture and then another, suggesting I give it a try. I did feel better, but I think it was more because the person listened to me and the stressing agent wasn’t nearby. The aromas probably helped some, but it wasn’t a scientifically proven result.

Now I’m home, ready to continue my day. I haven’t written much lately because of housework and working on a story for children and babysitting grandchildren and practicing guitar for Sunday’s service with a pianist friend, etc., etc.

I hope this finds you well. May God bless you!

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Encouraged, Exhorted and Rewarded

I went to a writers’ group last night. I left feeling encouraged with a plan for marketing and ideas for further chapters. That’s gotta be why the Apostle Peter wrote to Christians about not forsaking the fellowship of believers.

We need each other. Sometimes people can see we’re under spiritual attack and then they’ll promise to pray.

Besides, friends will listen to us and if they’re frowning, it prompts us to ask, “What’s wrong?”

Usually, I pray, “Lord, give me ears to hear what I should hear, and discernment to know what isn’t of You.”

When I used to volunteer at a ministry, I prayed the above plus asking God to limit what the other party said so I didn’t hear yucky things. Then, I’d pray I wouldn’t say things I shouldn’t say. That’s a prayer I ought to pray every time I interact with people. As a sanguine, my greatest gift can be my greatest weakness.

I was reading in the gospel of Matthew today and Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. Matthew 16: 24-27, (NKJV)

I never heard the lie when I came to Christ that everything would be better and that prosperity is an entitlement for those who give money to certain ministries. I heard that God wanted me to be in relationship with Him; that was news to me. I heard that when you go through the deep waters, God would go with me. I heard that if I cast my cares upon Jesus, He would care for me. If I’m having cares to cast, that means things aren’t going my way.

One prosperous lady I knew lost her husband in their sixties after he became a born-again Christian. She stayed at the church, and made many friends. Then, she became a born-again Christian. She told me immediately, things got worse. She fell at a grocery store and broke both wrists. That made her helpless and vulnerable. She needed basic human compassion and care. Her son kept making lousy decisions and she would bail him out, time and again. Talk about family strife. The last major blow, she contracted Parkinson’s Disease. Yet, she had more joy over the latter part of her life than when I first met her.

She made friends that stuck by her for years. She had an incredible sense of humor. She was loyal to me and others. She knew heaven afforded her the closest contact with God and a reunion with her husband. She would have a new body in heaven. She wouldn’t ever sin again in heaven and Jesus said those who loved Him would have a mansion up there.

I moved away before the disease got worse. I would imagine she grew closer to God through the pain. I’ve seen some suffering saints glow with the love of God. I wouldn’t choose hard times, but I’ve seen the radiance and the peace afforded by them. So, there are compensations for those believers suffering on this side of eternity.

May God bless you!

Stretching

Is God asking you to do something that stretches you? Sometimes, stepping outside of our comfort zone gives us a zest for life and may help others in their quest for fulfillment.

 

What might the Lord be asking you to do that seems beyond your abilities?

 

There’s a Scripture that helps me, from the Apostle Paul’s writings: 2Corinthians_12:9,10, (ESV): But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

 

If He wants you to take a chance and do something different, He’ll confirm it through others and it won’t contradict His rules for proper behavior.

 

I rely on His strength!

 

Care to share if this resonates with you?

 

I am placing ads for writing services beyond my normal reach. I have been trained but not tested.

 

May God bless you!

Scurrying Fast and Furious

I’ve been like a hamster let out of its cage with bits of hamster food here, there and cast afar with me scurrying fast and furious.Marshmallow's Avatar

Running to appointments for me and my sister, shopping for better footwear to satisfy the doctor so I’ll have the correct support, and writing articles with a January 10 deadline.

(Pro 11:29): (ESV):  Whoever troubles his own household will inherit the wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise of heart.

Unfortunately, I didn’t read my Bible early in the day and all my best laid plans got set aside so I could do the urgent instead of including the necessary habits that help my house stay in shape.

Thankfully, my husband and my sister helped so the place didn’t fall apart, but I felt like I took some major steps backwards.

Now, I’ll wait months to find out if the articles get accepted or not.

We’ve also been getting ready to start the new ministry at our church. We may get a man from a Bible College near a city north of us to give a teaching one night on overcoming hurts, habits and hang ups.

Is your new year a hasty pursuit of new responsibilities and endeavors? Or has it remained the same as last year and you’re content with it? Or none of the above?

I started reading through the Bible in a year again, but I never seem to stay perfectly on course. It’s amazing when I read things I’ve read before – maybe many times and get to see something I’ve never seen before.

My sister started as well, and she never realized Abraham got married to Keturah after Sarah died.

I hope you are staying safe and well if you’re in a place expecting severe storms as we are in New York State.

May God bless you!

 

 

Favorite Activities

Two of my favorite activities are writing and reading the Bible, not necessarily in that order. Yet, in striving for order at home, holidays, lots of company over, a new housemate and those demands, a ministry about to embark, and regular activities, the writing and Bible time have flown to the wayside.

No writing, no blogging accomplished. Little Bible reading, less peace. Eating in excess, plus adding junk foods in, less energy and less of a feeling of well-being.

Tonight, I’ve determined to set a new nighttime routine so I get better rest. So, this will be a small blog, but Praise God, at least it’s being done. I miss reading others’ blogs when I don’t blog. I wonder how they’re doing, what they’re learning. I miss researching for my blog. I like to learn.

I enjoy the holidays and I really enjoy it when they’re over!

Ecclesiastes tells us in A Time for Everything that:

Ecc 3:1  For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

Ecc 3:2  a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;

Ecc 3:3  a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

Ecc 3:4  a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

Ecc 3:5  a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

Ecc 3:6  a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

Ecc 3:7  a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

Ecc 3:8  a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.

Those verses were from the NKJV of the Bible. I remember a song based on those verses from the 1960’s sung by The Byrds and written by Pete Seeger in the late 1950’s.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4ga_M5Zdn4

May God bless you!

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.

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!

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!

 

 

Momentum in Life

 

I did some writing for a lady a few years back. She was a woman on a mission. She went to Washington, DC to speak before the legislatures to implore them to do something on behalf of families with brain diseased members.
She told me that 25 % of the population will deal with mental illness, either in themselves or in the lives of their loved ones and/or acquaintances. She also told me that when the patient is taken to the Emergency room at the hospital, they are the only ones offered the help of an attorney. Family is basically shut out of the process and because the person’s brain is not working properly, they can be easily persuaded to accept treatment that is not to their benefit.
I understand the dilemma. Sometimes wrong behaviors in a family may cause the mental disease, but usually, the family cares much more about a person than a stranger does.
How do people recover from brain distress without the love of God in their history?
I read Psalms 116-119, and they are filled with promises from God to watch over His children and to deliver them from evil. I knew a lady in church over twenty years ago, and she told us, once she recovered, that depression made her feel so hopeless she thought she’d never get out of the lowest moments in her life.
Sometimes, I think people must take small steps toward wholeness by focusing on others and crying out to God.
A favorite Scripture of mine is 2 Timothy 1:7, (NKJV): For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

When my youngest son battled for his life as a newborn, whenever I got close to the hospital I would get hit with tremendous fear because I’d driven about forty minutes by then without a cell phone. What if he’d died on the way there? I heard a preacher on the radio encouraging us by saying that speaking the Word of God allows us to hear the Word of God and in Romans_10:17, (NKJV) it states, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

I spoke 2 Timothy 1:7 and the overpowering fear lifted as if it had been a vise squeezing my shoulders and then it released and disappeared.

I thought, the Word of God is powerful!

Then I memorized the Scripture: Hebrews_4:12: For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

The Word of God is alive. Imagine that. Someone I love is in the depths of despair and I told her to hold on to the hope of Jesus Christ. I know it’s hard, but there will be an end to this hopelessness and I reminded her that she is loved.

It’s in her court, the course of her life. No one can live it for her. She asked me to pray and I said I would. That’s the best thing anyone can do. God alone is a perfect help in times of trouble and He alone satisfies our deepest longings.

How do I know? Because I’ve been in hard times over the years and He’s never let me down. Sometimes I wished His timing matched mine, but then I’d be glad He delayed, because when He did show up, the need had changed and it helped that the prayer got answered later. He gave me momentum to move along and live with new thoughts and with fresh horizons.

God knows everything.

May God bless you.

Decisions 101

Tonight, I spent possibly two hours working on a resumé from a template that comes with Microsoft Office 2016. I finally gave up in frustration because I wanted to delete certain items from the formatting and it replaced the empty space with descriptions of other things I may want to include elsewhere. After highlighting and deleting and then seeing other information show up, I’d move my cursor over to that offending entry and highlight and delete until it became apparent that the program was winning and I was continuing in a losing activity. So, I gave up.
I then went to a blank Word document and using an older resumé. I made up a new one with the homemade format. That probably took me half an hour or more of the two hours I mentioned above. The template may work for people that are more computer savvy than I am.
After all that work, I wondered if I will need the resumé soon or not. I saw an ad for a part-time job that sounded good to me. I told my grandson and a few others that I’m interested in it. At the end of a long day and after working on a resumé that mostly highlights writing, I began to think about this step I might take. When I told my husband about it he sounded enthusiastic about it, but he asked, “Do you want to take this job?”
I changed my schedule around in case I send the resumé out so I’d be available for the employer. Now, I need to think about the opportunity, pray about it, and consider my calendar. I’ve already prayed that if it’s not a good idea, don’t let them hire me, but that’s not exactly the way I want to pray.
I’m thinking of going to visit the place and check out the drive. It’s not right around the corner.
I have until September 13 to send out my information, so I have time to ponder. I don’t like to commit to something and then figure out I need to quit.
When I wasn’t sure about becoming a pastor’s wife, a young pastor gave me a Word from the Lord at the altar of the church we were attending. I was praying quietly about it and suddenly he showed up at my elbow and told me something to the effect that the Lord was saying you will be a pastor’s wife, you’re already acting in that capacity.
Friends gave me a plaque with the Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 5:24, “The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.”
What relief that gave me!
May God bless you.