Highlighted Feature

Inspirational quote of the day:

“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”
~ Will Rogers

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy Independence Day!

I pray for all my viewers a happy Independence Day. May your 4th be blessed with family, friends, and the American flag flying high where you celebrate.


Friday, July 3, 2015

How does nature speak to you?

To me, it's like God calling my name and inviting me to stop awhile and visit.

I especially love flowers. My family knows they can always please me with flowers or even clothes or accessories with flowers on them. The saying goes, "stop and smell the roses." Well, unfortunately, I have very little sense of smell, but roses, or any flower give me a feast for my eyes.

Sneeze wood (Bet I know where it got that name.)

This May in Colorado showed brilliant displays of wildflowers while we were visiting. Our daughter took us to Castlewood State Park near her house. She and my hubby laughed as I poised my camera over one more beautiful flower and went snap.

Blue flax

I also love hearing little known facts about places I visit. Did you know rocks around Castlewood wash down from as far away as Pike's Peak, thirty miles away. This state park is a spot of beauty after you leave the mountain majesty and before the land flattens into the Midwest's plains.

Though nature can be enjoyed alone, everything is better with loved ones.

My daughter and hubby in front of the dandelions

On this Wednesday, how does nature speak to you?
What does it say?
What is your favorite of God's creations?

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Interview with New Pen-L Author, Lily Iona Mackenzie

I'm excited to introduce a new author, Lily Iona Mackenzie, She teamed up with my publisher, Pen-L Publishing, for her first book.

Now, ta-da! Fling released today. isn't it beautiful!

In honor of her book's release, I interviewed Lily, so that my viewers and I will know more about her. For those who follow the "Writing with God's Hope" blog, this isn't a Christian book. It is a humorous one, and I believe you'll find Lily's story interesting.

First of all, what is your book, Fling, about?

Is it possible to come of age at 60 or 90?

Is it ever too late to fulfill your dreams?
When ninety-year-old Bubbles receives a letter from Mexico City asking her to pick up her mother's ashes, lost there seventy years earlier and only now surfacing, she hatches a plan. A woman with a mission, Bubbles convinces her hippie daughter Feather to accompany her on the quest. Both women have recently shed husbands and have a secondary agenda: they'd like a little action. And they get it.
      Alternating narratives weave together Feather and Bubbles' odyssey. The two women head south from Canada to Mexico where Bubbles' long-dead mother, grandmother, and grandfather turn up, enlivening the narrative with their hilarious antics.
      In Mexico, where reality and magic co-exist, Feather gets a new sense of her mother, and Bubbles' quest for her mother's ashes-and a new man-increases her zest for life. Unlike most women her age, fun-loving Bubbles takes risks, believing she's immortal. She doesn't hold back in any way, eating heartily and lusting after strangers, exulting in her youthful spirit.
Has Bubbles discovered a fountain of youth that everyone can drink from?

Where did you get the idea for your book?


Fling? I think it began because I was curious about my mother’s mother, someone I had never met. My grandfather, a former Scottish schoolmaster, had immigrated to Calgary, Canada, hoping to find a better life there for himself and his family. Meanwhile, WWI broke out, and his wife and four kids couldn’t join him for seven years. When they did, my grandmother couldn’t adjust to the brutal winters or to her husband. After being there a year, she moved out, refusing to put up with my grandpa’s meanness, and became a housekeeper for a wealthy family. The story is that her boss took her to Mexico with him. She never returned. I wanted to try and recreate what life might have been like for her once she left Canada, and that then brought in a number of other characters that inhabit the novel.


Definitely an interesting starting point.  How did you find your publisher?


Pen-L? Endurance, many queries, doggedness, and good luck.



Are you working on any other projects that you can tell us about?


Fling is just one of four novels I’ve completed. Another publisher has contracted to publish Bone Songs in 2016. Freefall: a Divine Comedy and Tillie: Portrait of a Canadian Girl in Training are the other two.  I’m also a poet, and All This, a poetry collection was published in 2011. When I hit a dead-end in a novel, I write short stories and essays. I have enough of both to fill two books. I’ve done all this while helping to raise two stepchildren, teaching writing part-time at the University of San Francisco, and serving as vice-president of the part-time faculty union. I try to allot one hour a day to writing on most days of the week, and it’s amazing how much one can accomplish in just that period of time if it’s consistent.


What kind of books do you enjoy reading?


I like books that challenge me intellectually and offer me new horizons as a reader and writer: that make me see the world differently. I’ve read most of W.G. Sebald’s work. I also love Roberto Bolano. Marquez is a great favorite, as is anything from the magic realist vein. I’ll read anything by Anne Enright, an Irish writer. And so many more. It’s hard to state how varied my bookshelf is.


What has your writing journey been like so far?


I didn’t begin writing seriously until I was in my mid-thirties. I had been a high school dropout and a single parent. I was in my late twenties when I finally earned a GED and was able to attend college. It took a long time to discover and trust my voice. But it’s all been worth it.

Where is your favorite place to vacation?


My husband and I wish we had more time (and money!) to travel as we love to investigate new cultures and to visit great museums. We try to take a BIG trip every two to three years. We’ve been to Morocco, Spain, Portugal, Istanbul, Russia, and Scandinavia in the past few years. Now, we’re off to Italy for a month’s immersion.


Wow, what a trip. Enjoy. Tell me a fun fact about yourself.


A friend and I created a children’s radio show modeled after “Let’s Pretend.” It aired for two years on a Marin County California radio station, KTIM (no longer in existence). We both enacted and created the scripts for the show. Many of them are available on my blog.


Give us you contact info.





Where may we purchase your book?
A Canadian by birth, a high school dropout, and a mother at 17, in her early years, Lily Iona MacKenzie supported herself as a stock girl in the Hudson’s Bay Company, as a long distance operator for the former Alberta Government Telephones, and as a secretary (Bechtel Corp sponsored her into the States). She also was a cocktail waitress at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, briefly broke into the male-dominated world of the docks as a longshoreman (and almost got her legs broken), founded and managed a homeless shelter in Marin County, co-created THE STORY SHOPPE, a weekly radio program for children that aired on KTIM in Marin, and eventually earned two Master’s degrees (one in Creative writing and one in the Humanities). She has published reviews, interviews, short fiction, poetry, travel pieces, essays, and memoir in over 145 American and Canadian venues. Fling, one of her novels, was released today, July 1, 2015 by Pen-L Publishing. Bone Songs, another novel, will be published in 2016. Her poetry collection All This was published in 2011. She also teaches writing at the University of San Francisco, is vice-president of USF's part-time faculty union, paints, and travels widely with her husband. Visit her blog at: http://lilyionamackenzie.wordpress.com.

Thank you, Lily, for visiting with us on the "Writing with God's Hope" blog. I wish you lots of luck with your writing now and in the future. I appreciate your sharing your walk with us.


Saturday, June 27, 2015

How Can You Battle Depression and Overeating?

Being depressed means you can spend all day in bed, and still not get a good night’s rest.


I feel inconsequential, unimportant, empty.                       
                                                            My personal journal from 1984

Overeating is a symptom.
It isn't the food. It's the fix.

The devil hits us with a double-whammy of depression and overeating.

The compulsion brings on depression.
The depression fuels the compulsion.

The 1-2 punch renders many Christians ineffective for God's work, or even to our family and friends.

The first quote described my oldest daughter during her rough time. She slept all day every day but could never get enough. Panic attacks struck my middle girl when she lost her daughter. My quote revealed my self esteem. I believed my family would be better off without me because I was fat and fussy. 

Symptoms of depression are many and varied; not only being unable to sleep, but unable to make decisions, detached from activities you usually enjoy, or like in my case, stuffing my face until I was sick.

In the Bible, David gave us his description of depression.

    I am weary with my groaning, all the night make I my bed to swim; water my couch with my tears.
    Mine eye is consumed because of grief. It waxeth old because of all mine enemies.
                      Psalm 6:6, 7

Elijah fought depression just after his mountain top experience confronting the prophets of Baal on Mt Carmel.

Let’s discuss some of the answers to help us with depression.


1.     Sometimes we need a psychiatrist and medicine.

2.     Christian counseling

3.     Praise music – This was one Tara Johnson recommended in her book “Hollow Victory.” She’s a musician, so that makes sense.

4.     Prayer

5     Read your Bible if you can, or quote Scripture you have memorized if you can.

6.     Make small goals. (leave the house, call your mother/daughter, eat 3 fruits that day)
7. Get out in God's great outdoors.
Mountain waterfall
8. Let go and let God.
To "let go" is not to deny, but to accept our powerlessness.
To "let go" is not to regret the past, but to grow and live for the future.
To "let go" is admitting we can't do it by ourselves and ask for help.

       9. Ask if you need to H.A.L.T.
     H - hungry
     A - angry
     L - lonely
     T - tired

“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”
C.S. Lewis

That's one of my favorite quotes.

 Remember, what the devil means for evil, God can use for good just like He did for Joseph.

Is Satan using this weapon on you?

What do you need right now to help?

Feel free to contact me at Janet.hope@att.net if you need someone to talk to.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015


The Story of a Writer: DIVINE DINING BY JANET K BROWN: Welcome Wednesday. How is your week so far? After the beautiful rains over the past couple of months, we now have lovely sunshine, temperatu...


We expect to be derailed by grief or fear, but perfectionism? That one slips up on our blind side. This problem is deceitful. What causes it?

I know I never measured up to what my mom wanted of me. Perhaps I’m still trying to make her proud. Beginning at the beginning helps overcome the urge to err on obsession.

What started your obsession with perfectionism? For that matter, how do we distinguish between trying to be the best we can be and worrying over being perfect? This can be a delicate balance with falling over the line, easy.

In her book Hollow Victory: How to Identify & Disarm 5 Landmines that make Victorious Christian Living Feel Like a Lie, Tara Johnson gives us this checklist of warning signs that you're out of balance.

1. Never satisfied with your performance
2. Negative recurring and persistent thoughts
3. A constant state of awareness about the lack of perfectionism in yourself or others.
4. Refusing to deviate from guidelines or the 'way things are supposed to be'
5. Constantly fearing rejection
6. When your mistakes feel like a death sentence
7. Refusing to change unhealthy behaviors because you might fail at the change
8. Thinking "I have no value in life unless I'm successful."
9. Thinking that love = good performance
10. Overt competitiveness
11. Persistent low self-esteem
12. Guilt over perceived failures
13. Depression
14. Rigid, inflexible, non spontaneous
15. Obsessive-compulsive behavior
16. Lack of motivation
17. Eating disorders
18. General unhappiness and comparing yourself to others.

If you read this list and decide you're there, the danger comes from deciding what you've been doing is a failure. Let me tell you a story of mine.

When I was losing my weight, our teacher left. I continued his class for several months but then stopped. About 7 years ago, encouraged by others to start a weight loss class, I did. I wrote my own curriculum. It was all about me and how great I had done. The class began with about fifteen members but, within four months, went down to four faithfuls (which isn’t unusual with people with weight problems). However, I started overeating, often crying in class, doing more damage than helping. I began to regain weight. I felt condemned and quit the class before the first semester was over. I felt such a failure.
God has given me 3 books, 2 on something about weight loss.


My daughter gave me some great advice. She told me, “Mom, that doesn’t mean it was a failure. God can use what you learned. Who knows but what He’ll use you to teach again, or have you encourage others online, or who knows what. It wasn’t a failure. It just wasn’t’ the time or the avenue. You weren't ready. You were still learning.”


That was before God helped me write “Divine Dining."
Before He spoke through me to groups about right thinking and weight loss.
Before, He used me to help others lose weight online 
One part of my teaching now is it’s NOT all about me. Perfectionism is a killer.
In her book, The Freedom of Letting Go, Donna Clark Goodrich tells us "Ask yourself: Have I truly failed, or am I simply not meeting unrealistic expectations?"
Accept yourself as you are before you try to be anything different. Failure in a task doesn't mean you're a failure as a person. Relax. Give yourself a break."

Thanks to my daughter's advice, I stopped, learned, prayed, and started again. It wasn't a failure; just success delayed.

If those warning signs hit you between the eyes, think about what you're doing. Is it really a failure or is it just your perfectionism showing? Are you ready or still learning?

Monday, June 22, 2015


Thank you, Patti Shene, for helping me announce two free days to get Divine Dining: 365 Devotions to Guide You to Healthier Weight and Abundant Wellness. Don't miss this: http://www.pattishene.com/theover50writer