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Mountains, music, and mighty waters calm a man's soul.











Saturday, May 23, 2015

A Visit with James R. Callan

One of my favorite authors, Jim Callan, released a new book, Over My Dead Body, this month. I'm so excited for him. In honor of this new venture, Jim agreed to write a post for Writing with God's Hope blog viewers. I know you'll enjoy this cute, homespun story.



Grandmother and the Red Blood Cells

 

I sat down to write this post on Mother’s Day, so naturally I thought of my mother. She was a very special person, as most mothers are. Her formal education didn’t extend beyond high school, but nevertheless she had the best diction of any person I have known. She believed that how a person spoke reflected who they were and she taught herself to speak beautifully, with no regional accent, no mispronounced words, no grammar goofs.  She developed a superior vocabulary through extensive reading. Without formal training, she became an accomplished librarian.

But, once, she exhibited one small flaw – to me, at least. She took the doctor’s word as gospel.

But another mother straightened things out.

Sometime in my early years, I became anemic . Who knows why at that particular moment I had less healthy red blood cells than usual. I certainly was now suffering from malnutrition.  In fact, I had none of the conditions one might associate with anemia.  But for whatever reason, some of my red blood cells had gone walkabout. 

The good doctor said my mother should feed me rice. There are many ways to fix rice, but mother came up with the least acceptable way.  She put it in front of me, I took one look and said, “Mush.”

And I refused to eat it.

As I had never refused to do things my mother asked, she was flummoxed.  She called the doctor, who said, don’t give him anything else. Just put it back in front of me at each meal until I got hungry enough to eat it.

I continued to refuse to eat that mush.

Maybe my white cells would also reduce, thus getting them in balance with the reds. Not a good idea, but then, I was only eight.

There were rumors, some of which persist even today, that my older sister smuggled bits of nourishment to me at night.  I don’t remember that – today.  But I do remember my grandmother.

Several days had past, and the same old bowl of mush rice, or rice mush, sat in front of me at each meal. But this day, my father’s mother was visiting. 

Near the end of the meal, with the mush still untouched, my grandmother asked what was going on. My mother explained the instructions from the doctor.

Nana was a small woman, always smiling and cheerful. But she could be forceful. She looked around the table and ordered everybody out of the room. She would take care of this. Everyone left and her smile left also. 

She took a small spoon of the rice and gave it to me. “Eat this.”

Nana only had sons, and I was her only grandson. So I was her favorite.  I knew she would make things okay. I took the spoonful of awful mush, and somehow managed to get it down without throwing up.

Then, Nana took the bowl of rice and dumped it in the trash. She called my mother in. “He’s eaten some rice. Now, let’s give this boy some dinner.” From there on, my diet returned to normal.

My red blood cells must have been encouraged. The next time the doctor checked, my blood was back to normal also.

Nana was so sweet everybody tried to please her.  Personally, I think the red blood cells decided they would please her also.

 
Jim's book isn't near so sweet.
 
A large corporation is taking land by eminent domain.  Syd Cranzler stands in its way, threatening a court battle. After a heated meeting with the corporation representative, Syd is found dead from an overdose of heart medication.  The police call it suicide. Case closed.
 
But Father Frank, Syd’s pastor, and Georgia Peitz, another member of the church, don’t believe Syd committed suicide and begin to look for clues of what really happened. Will this affect Georgia’s romantic interest in the lead detective?
 
When the priest is almost poisoned, they convince the police to investigate further. Immediately, Father Frank becomes the target of rumors and speculation he might have had something to do with Syd’s death.
 
The more clues Father Frank and Georgia uncover, the more danger they find themselves in. Can they find the real killer before they become victims?  

Wow, that sounds exciting, Jim. Love who-done-its. Where can we purchase a copy?


Amazon Author Page:    http://amzn.to/1eeykvG
Over My Dead Body, is available at:   http://amzn.to/1BmYQ0Q



 
 
After a successful career in mathematics and computer science, receiving grants from the National Science Foundation and NASA, and being listed in Who’s Who in Computer Science and Two Thousand Notable Americans, James R. Callan turned to his first love—writing.  He wrote a monthly column for a national magazine for two years. He has had four non-fiction books published.  He now concentrates on his favorite genre, mystery/suspense, with his sixth book releasing in 2015.
 
Twitter:   @jamesrcallan
FB:  James Callan
 
 
 
Thanks for visiting the Writing with God's Hope blog again. I always enjoy having you as my guest. I loved your story and am eager to read the new book.

 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Forget About It


“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” Hebrews 8:12 NIV

 
 

     When I pull into my garage after going to the grocery store, I love to spot my husband’s car at home because I know, he can lift my burden of groceries and bring them into the house relieving me of that weight. Once I told him to pile everything on the sofa so it wouldn’t be on the kitchen counter where I needed to start dinner. Unfortunately, he didn’t follow my instructions. Imagine that? By habit, he placed every sack on the kitchen counter.

 

     I huffed, puffed, and transferred every item from the counter to the sofa, struggling against the weight of five pound flour and two milk cartons. When I’d finished, my back ached from the heavy-lifting, and my anger fomented against my husband.

 

     “Why didn’t you remind me?” he asked. “I meant to lift them for you.”

 

     Are we like that with God? Do we ask for our sins to be removed, but then pick them up again to carry?

 

     Satan uses past sins to disable our effectiveness. When I repented and asked Jesus into my heart, He took my burden of sin and cast it as the Bible says, “as far as the east is from the west.” Therefore, I can be sure that any condemnation I have over sins from my past comes from the devil.

 

     Leave them with Jesus. Talk to him about any anguish you feel. He means to relieve us of those burdens. Not unlike unwanted pounds on our bodies, resentment and anger are too heavy for us to bear.

 
 

Prayer: Lord, I leave my sins at Your feet. Help me to forget about them as You have done.



Today, I read this devotion in my own book, Divine Dining: 365 Devotions to Guide You to Healthier Weight and Abundant Wellness.
I decided to copy it here. I needed to hear it.


Perhaps, you do, too.



Saturday, May 16, 2015

FORGIVENESS

Do you have questions about what the Bible says about forgiveness? Here's my warning from the Lord.


    F-O-R-G-I-V-E

 
          Or

 
         D-I-E

 
 

In Christianity, forgiveness isn’t an option. If we are to live, we must yield all anger.

 

     The madder I get, the more I eat, the more I yell or pout, and the more I dive into other compulsive behaviors. You may handle anger in other ways, but anger left in your heart expands into resentment and resentment into unforgiveness. Let it go, or it will destroy your witness and eventually your life.

 

What did Jesus tell us about forgiveness?
 
"Then, Peter came to him and asked, 'Sir, how often should I forgive a brother who sins against me? Seven times?
 
'No!' Jesus replied, 'seventy times seven!'"
                Matthew 18: 21, 22 New Recovery Bible

How many of us come close to forgiving that many times? Jesus is saying we should always forgive. No room should be given in a Christian's heart for unforgiveness.

 

What does the Bible say about forgiveness in the Lord’s prayer?

  

Hint: (Matthew 6: 12)
 
 
Doesn't forgiveness mean I wasn't wronged?
 
No. A plaque that hangs on the wall of a local mental hospital uses these anonymous quotes:
 
to "let go" is not to deny, but to accept.
to "let go" is not to regret the past, but to grow and live for the future.
to "let go" is to fear less, and love more.

 
If we forgive, how do we get rid of the pain and hurt?

Like with any sin, we must first confess. God will never force himself on you. You must expose the hurt for Him to take it away.


 
"Before you can really begin the healing process of forgiveness, you must come to a point where you acknowledge that God is aware of every struggle you encounter. He knows that some of the hurts you have suffered are intensely painful. He understands that you need to grieve, heal, and be restored.
        Landmines in the Path of the Believer by Charles Stanley

 

 
Our red bud tree gives blooms of hope in March

To receive the healing that forgiveness brings, you must lift your head to the Lord and trust Him with judgment for wrong-doings. Then, pray for those who’ve hurt you or been unfair.

 

Sometimes, forgiveness doesn't come immediately. I remember one time with a "friend" that took advantage of us in a business venture causing us embarrassment, frustration, and a lot of money. I prayed and prayed for God to heal the pain, but every time I saw the man, anger reared its ugly head again and sent me back to my knees. After two years, I entered a party not expecting him to be there, but he was. I smiled and went into his open arms, all unforgivenss gone, never to return. Praise God. 

When we forgive, we receive the peace that passeth all understanding. It’s the only way can we live a healthy, Godly life, the only way we can bloom and produce fruit as God asks.

 

One extra note: Forgiveness isn't easy and only comes through God.
 
 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Is It Time to Move On?

  Jesus overcame the world for us. He walked victoriously in this life to show us the way. He’s already given us the land of power, self-control, and a sound mind. But we hold back, refusing to fight for what God wants us to have.

    Here, he spoke to the Israelites. “You stayed here long enough. Go
    and possess your victory."

 

     It was forty years ago, at Mount Horeb, that Jehovah our God told us, "you have stayed here long enough. Now go and occupy the country of the Amorites, the valley of the Arabah, and the Negeb, and all the land of Canaan and Lebanon--the entire area from the shores of the Mediterranean Sea to the Euphrates River.

 I am giving all of it to you! Go in and possess it, for it is the land the Lord promised to your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all their descendants.
                    Deuteronomy 1: 6-8 Life Recovery Bible
 
 
    Have you dwelt long enough on the same mountain? Have you taken
  forty years trying to make an eleven-day trip?
              Battlefield of the Mind  by Joyce Meyer
 
 
 
   In my own life, I finally had to wake up and realize that I was going nowhere. I was a Christian without victory. Many wrong mindsets and strongholds enslaved me. The devil had lied to me, and I had believed him. I was living in deception.
 
   New Year's resolutions may not work, but setting well-thought-out,
  written, and prayed-over goals do.
                   Divine Dining by Janet K. Brown
 
Old Faithful in 2013
    When I submitted my eating disorder to God, He healed me  
  emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I'm in awe of what He made
  of my life since then.  I would have never had the nerve to step out
  and write God's message of hope much less give workshops or teach
  without moving on at God's command.
 
   What could you accomplish for God if you moved out of the mountain and continued the journey God asked you to make?
 
 
    Is it time to move out of the mountain?
    Is it time to change your direction?
    Is it time to move on?
 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

REJECTION

Rejection requires patience.

Patience requires the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit gives nine fruits.

The fruit of love, joy, and peace gives freedom.


In Writing

When I retired from my medical coding and bookkeeping job, I set a goal to write and submit to agents or editors on a regular basis. I followed steps to make that dream come true. I joined Romance Writers of America (RWA) and a local group called Red River Romance Writers (RRRW). I wasn't sure what I wanted to write, but I knew all my stories included romance in some way. I attended a weekly critique group where my writing was torn apart verbally.

One of our speakers in RRRW that first year was a writer form Tulsa, Margaret Daley, who spoke on "Falling in Love without Falling in Bed." I loved it. Though I love romance in stories, I'm turned off by the overt sexual content that most publisher seemed to want. She introduced me to a group called American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). I joined and attended a conference. I pitched to agents and editors. I submitted and waited, soon receiving rejection after rejection.

Each rejection stalled my writing while I threw myself a pity party.
Finally, through the grace of God and the fruit of patience, I submitted again. I reached the point that I agreed with God to allow one day of self-pity, but the second day, I was required to submit something else, a short story, a query, something. Author, DiAnn Mills, taught at Blue Ridge Christian Writing Conference how to write as a ministry to God. I clung to that idea.

Through RRRW, I learned about another group called Oklahoma Writers Federated International (OWFI). At my first conference in 2011, I pitched to the publisher/owner of 4RV Publishing, Vivian Zabel, my one and only young adult. In a few months, I had my first contract. In 2012, my debut novel, Victoria and the Ghost, became a reality, almost seven years after my first rejection.


In Weight Loss

All my adult life, I exercised a yo-yo cycle of losing and regaining weight. One of those hundred pound losses prepared the way for me to purchase and run a Diet Center franchise. Even then, I faced rejection on a major scale. I became a closet eater. Because of teaching others in the community how to lose weight, I couldn't be seen eating a heavy meal or dessert at a restaurant or banquet. I regained every pound plus five.
BEFORE


Rejection nagged at my heels with every new diet, with every new exercise, with every new pill or shot. Once, taking shots from a doctor to lose weight plunged me into deep depression. Again, I failed.

My husband didn't mean to reject me. He loved me, but he couldn't face what I was doing to myself. I had no patience with anything that took the weight off slowly. The fruits of peace and joy eluded me. I wanted to die. Compulsive overeating bound me in unbreakable chains.

Rejection to patience. Patience to the Holy Spirit. The Spirit to the fruit. The fruit to freedom.
AFTER
God began to heal me. The more I concentrated on the Lord, the more the weight came off, slow, steady, but sure. The Spirit gave the patience. In two years and four months, I lost ninety-five pounds. That was nineteen years ago. God gave freedom over rejection and failure.

In Teenagers with Dysfunctional Families

I write the message of hope for compulsions, addictions, and hang-ups. In my YA book, a fifteen year old girl named Victoria faces rejection from a mother that she adores. The material world that Victoria lives in hasn't prepared her for feelings deeper than deciding on the latest pair of sandals or the biggest thing in jeans. She responds with anger toward the dad that moves her away from her Dallas home to Hicksville.

Anger rules this girl's life; anger at dad, anger at people that are kind to her, anger at God, angry at everyone except the person that rejected her.


 

That's one emotion she can't face.

Rejection to patience, patience to the Holy Spirit, the guidance of the Spirit to the fruits, the fruits to the freedom to love and conquer fear. Victoria learns to forgive without giving up love.


If you face rejection, failure, and bondage, the answer is the fruits of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit teaches about Jesus.

With eyes on Him, anything is possible; relief, success, and freedom.


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

PEACE

“If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 New Recovery Bible

 
Blue after the storm while we were in Kerrville, TX.

 
     Peace, ah, how we long for it in this busy age with the devil free to roam the earth and send forth unrest and turmoil. A lack of peace affects our entire life, but never more than when we're out of the will of God. If we don't submit one area of our lives to Him, the whole person suffers.
 
     God prepared a place in man's heart meant for worship of our Creator. When we fill that hole with anything else, there is bondage, there is captivity, there is NO PEACE.
 
     Over a four year period, God gave me 365 devotions in Divine Dining. I read them daily for my own encouragement and am amazed at His Words that once flew through my fingers on the keyboard. On May 3, I read this devotion.
   

     Recovery is a process. Many times we live for years in denial. We want freedom to do what we prefer. Because we’re adults and work hard, we think we should control our own destiny—with God’s help, of course.

 

     That’s the way I felt. I had freedom. I ate what I wanted; donuts in the morning at work and Reese’s candy stashed to eat whenever I was home, and no one was watching. Yeah, I controlled my destiny, all right.

 

     But, I had no peace.

 

     God’s peace is worth whatever we have to pay.

 

     For me, I had to give up forever some treats I loved. I had to give up the concept that I was free to do as I pleased. Anything I decided to eat, I had to eat it while others watched. I had to stop being secretive. The sinner lives in shadows.

 

     God’s peace keeps your heart at rest. We don’t know how to accept it and utilize it, but through the recovery time, God teaches us. Give up the selfishness. Reach for the peace.

Prayer: Teach me what I need to learn about your peace today.

 
 
 
If you have no peace, search your heart. Is God in control? Is every area of your life submitted to His will, or do you keep back in the shadows a small part? For you, it could be spending more money than you make, a bad relationship, or a critical attitude, but ask God to illuminate your weakness.

Peace is worth whatever you have to pay.