The Shack—What It Is and Isn’t

the-shackI ‘ve seen several rumblings over the newly released movie, The Shack. I’ve read posts from those who sob because of the brilliance in addressing forgiveness after staggering intense pain and I’ve seen comments about how these slices of information are wrapped in the devil’s web.

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2016: A Year in Review

indeedThe year 2017 is in full swing. Have you reviewed the plans you had made for 2016? How did you do?

I didn’t meet all my goals. In fact, I only met a few.

I wanted to publish my book, Ten Days to Live, but it didn’t happen. Additionally, my speaker’s calendar didn’t fill as much as I had hoped.

But I’m excited because I’m seeing God at work. I see reminders of that every time I sit at my desk. I trust that God’s word is good.

Unanticipated opportunities came before me. Different people crossed my path during 2016 that I believe were divinely lead. For these reasons, I have hope and excitement as I enter 2017.

Are you focused on what you missed or on the serendipitous events that blessed your life last year? It’s a choice … and I choose blessings.

What say you?

 

Jesus and the Beanstalk – A Lesson in Life

jesus-and-the-beanstalkLori Roeleveld has done it again with her book, Jesus and the Beanstalk: Overcoming Giants and Living a Fruitful Life. Once again she’s tapped into my person—my being—and wrote thoughts I only dared acknowledge to myself. Reading this book, it’s as if she’s given a voice to my fears and challenges, and allowed them to the surface where I can see them for what they are. Time after time I’d cover a portion of her book, only to stop reading and ponder not only her words but marvel how God has used this person to tap into different areas of my life and address them scripturally.

I particularly liked the section, The Christian You Don’t Know. Affirming and challenging at the same time, only in the way that Roeveleld can do. And her ability to wrap a point in humor is uncanny. Thou Shalt Pray Like Sheldon Cooper is just one example of many of how she offers wisdom with humor.

I can’t wait to read this book again.

Don’t be afraid to start Jesus and the Beanstalk with an open mind. You will not be disappointed.

Write What You Know

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I always thought being a Christian fiction writer was the next thing to sainthood. Not only did the author write the most entertaining story possible, but they also left the reader with a message. Their story had a purpose.

When I decided to write fiction I struggled with all the criteria I felt I needed to meet. Would my story be believable? Could I show Christ like I wanted to? Would my words sound preachy? I stressed over my fears for months until I remembered a simple quote from Mark Twain that set me free.

“Write what you know.”

I am a Christian. I live a Christian life because of my love for Christ. I strive to do good, but so often fail. I know what it means to live in a fallen world. I know heartache and other emotions—sorrow, joy, fear, disappointment, struggle with vengeance—all the makings of a great novel.

So I write what I know.

Nowadays my challenge has changed. Writing has taken on a different meaning. I need to be selective in sharing what I know. What experiences do I know that could connect with readers? What emotions can I express on the page that would connect with a reader to pull from them their own emotions? Sorrow? Joy? Disappointment? Struggle with vengeance?

I still read novels by others so I can learn more about my craft. I go to writers conferences to sharpen my skills as well as participate in critique groups to stay connected with like-minded people.

But I always come back to what I know.

I challenge you to do the same. Attend this fall’s writers conference. Connect with fellow writers on Facebook and share your ideas. And write what you know. You’ll be a blessing to others when you do.

 

 

Surviving the Unknown World

August 1983
The cool air and the long rays of morning sun greeted the three of us as we traveled the long driveway. It took everything in me not to start crying.

“Today’s a great day!” I said, with too much pep in my voice. I wanted to make sure I told him all he needed to know for this special day. “You’ll meet new people and it’ll be terrific!”

We continued to walk, hand in hand as we always had in the past. He stopped, looked up into my eye, and with a sober voice, “It is a great day, right, Mommy?”

Little Sis skipped along singing Great day, It’s gonna be a great day … She had no idea the somberness of this moment. But how could she? How could she know what it felt like to lose a baby into an Unknown World?

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This is Because of You, Aunt Opal

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 (KJV)

Michelle CountsFor those of you that read Michelle Count’s post, Nothing to do with Baseball from May 19, 2015, you will remember she survived the brain surgery. Here’s a followup on her story.

Funny, even my own neurosurgeon said it would take a miracle to bring me through my surgery. But if you’re like me, it is sometimes through our greatest struggles that we feel Christ the most. I think this experience has left me with a gratefulness I will never be able to repay. It has been three years since my surgery and with every passing month I feel stronger. As I reflect on this experience I realize how important my faith is to me.

Recently my husband was reading from one of our bibles. He asked me, “Do you remember the date July 14th in the early 1980’s?” Continue reading

Memories of Treasures Long Ago

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J. G. Gilbert & Robin Gilbert Luftig at Lake Lavine, MI, Summer 1958

Even though my family of origin was pretty dysfunctional, one of my favorite pastimes when I’m feeling a bit low is to remember stories about my dad and how he honored my feelings and held them close to his heart.

I always jumped at the chance to be with Dad in his room—the Gun Room. It was a treat to steal away with him when he went upstairs to his room. He kept guns, cameras, family photos and film equipment, and special sentimental pieces from his childhood there. I am certain he kept us out for our own protection when it came to the guns. We were all told the only time we were allowed to go in there by ourselves was if the house was on fire and we could safely get the family’s 8mm films out and save them from being destroyed. Other than that, the Gun Room was strictly off limits. Whenever I saw him in there, I would beg to join him. And he always obliged. While he worked away on whatever project he was concentrating on, I looked around his private sanctuary with marvel. I would fold my arms behind my back holding tightly on to my wrists, just to make sure I did not touch anything. I did not want to run the risk of inadvertently grabbing for something and causing harm.

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When Suicide Hits Close to Home

Beth headshost 24Those of you who know me know I have a heart for those who deal with various forms of brokenness. Most forms of brokenness come when Life veers from what’s perceived as normal. A year ago my path briefly crossed with Beth Saadati, and I counted the days until we could meet again.

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Using Words that Count

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Our hearts are full of love as we set a course full of good things when we hold our swaddled babies in our arms. We never want heartache and pain to enter their little worlds.

But it does, and sometimes we can’t save them.

Take a moment and read Beth Miesse Saadati’s latest post, It Shouldn’t Have End This Way: The Epilogue to My Daughter’s Suicide Note. Beth has felt pain no parent should feel. Maybe her words can be used to reach that special person, letting them know that they are loved.

Our children need to hear us–really hear what we say–when we tell them bad situations don’t last forever. They need to know they matter; that they fill our lives with joy every day.

Love you, Beth, and am praying for you and your family..

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I Just Want to be With Him

A great question for all Christians … why did you choose to be a Christian? A great post.

Separated by 12 hours, my entire mind and body ached for James. Newly engaged, I felt only half of a person waiting for my wedding day to be complete. My life was one thing:  waiting.  I …

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