Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Failure or Success?

I prepare the feast

With heavy heart.

Faults bog me down

Fear sets me apart.

 

I stir the foods, but

Something’s not right.

My hands shake

As I take a bite.

 

I taste bitterness for sure.

What’s that ingredient?

Submission to God makes

Repentence expedient.

 

I bow before the heavenly throne

Knowing I’m unworthy.

On my own, I fall short

Cling to food that’s earthly.

 

I’ve worked for You,

I plead with God.

Did I misread your command

Wanting Your applause?



No, my child He explains.

You don’t know my thoughts

They’re higher than yours

So don’t be distraught.

 

Dessert will come later.

I view the whole meal.

Stay in the kitchen

Pray for the yield.

 

How say you, you’ve failed

When the dinner’s not ready.

The yeast is still rising

Now hold fast and steady.

 

At banquet time

I’ll sound the alert.

We’ll gather round the table

In me, you’ll have worth.
                      Divine Dining
                  by Janet K. Brown



This is God's view.

How do you measure failure or success?

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Perserverance

Not giving up may be the hardest lesson to learn if you're trying to lose weight. The road looms lengthy with many peaks and valleys. Stepping on a scale that doesn't move, or worse, goes up threatens the strongest motivation.

God's weight loss plan challenges us to rely on Him, not our wishy-washy self will that can turn on us with one step on the scale, or one roadblock to our carefully-constructed plan. While we immerse in God's Word and pray for His direction, He whispers for us to presist, to keep our eyes on Him, not the problem.

I love how God uses His creation to teach us lessons.

On a short trip with our grandchildren to Amarillo, TX., God provided two great examples.

The first I spotted at the Amarillo Zoo. In the educational building, one of the cages held a prairie dog. He so wanted to be out of that cage to roam free with his buddies. He jumped toward the door at the top, over and over and over. I couldn't help but admire his gutsy leaps. His stamina was strong.


How many times would I jump to escape a prison. Ninety-five extra pounds along with low self esteem imprisoned me as surely as those bars confined that prairie dog. I grew weary, gave up, and wallowed in failure. Will that prairie dog do that? "No," the young man in the room told us. The animal jumped most of the day every day, a tribute to its instinct for freedom.

The other example was a beetle. My hubby, the three grandchildren, and I hiked up to a cave in the Palo Duro Canyon. On the return trip, my grandson spotted a beetle the size of a dime pushing a rock the size of a golf ball up the hillside.
I obviously didn't zero in on the beetle that well.


We surrounded it watching. The rock fell to one side. The beetle repositioned itself and pushed again. The rock began to roll. The beetle moved out of the way and then circled back behind the rock. We tired of watching and left, but the beetle was halfway up the hill with his treasure.

The example of the prairie dog and the beetle might inspire us in any field. A writing journey requires much persistence. Any career can challenge or defy us at times. A road toward sobriety or away from drug addiction may seem long and tedious. With God in charge, He asks only that we keep trying, keep praying, keep submitting to Him.

If you're on a difficult path now, whether it's weight loss or something else, stop today and remember the prairie dog and the beetle that persevere.

If God is for us, who can be against us.
                        Romans 8:31

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

You Are Special!

Which is correct?

Lose weight to increase your self esteem.

or

Increase your self esteem to lose weight.


With my now 23 year old granddaughter
When I weighed two hundred, fifty pounds, my self esteem drug the ground. I had tried every diet known to the compulsive overeater,
pills, shots, grapefruit diet, Atkins diet, weight loss clubs, and hundreds of other remedies. I could lose weight, but I always regained it.

One day, I joined another group called Christian Weight Controllers. What I gained there was more than a diet or exercise club, more extensive than visualizing my success and using positive self-talk. I required healing, not only in the realm of the physical and mental, but I required a touch from my Heavenly Father.

Yes, I followed a prescribed way of eating called the American Diabetic Exchange Diet. Yes, I began a walking campaign with a friend. Of course, I attended a weekly support group. But, I went a step farther. I followed the twelve steps.

Here are the first three steps of the original Alcoholics Anonymous book. (with my personal spin).

I admitted I was powerless over food, that my life had become unmanageable.

I came to believe a Power greater than myself could restore me to sanity.

I made a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God.

Denton book fair with my 3 books
God healed me emotionally. I've maintained my ninety-five pound loss for eighteen years. God gives freedom, not bondage. When I lost weight previously, I obsessed over doing it perfectly as much as I obsessed over food when I was binging.

My problem, my sin, was control. Instead of God being on the throne of my life, I replaced Him with food.

I can now glory in my weakness.

God perfects my weakness with His strength.

God's truth gives freedom. He freed me not just from food. I eat what I want, but He frees me from compulsion.

In this day, we hate the word "slavery," yet compulsive overeaters live with slavery every day.

Don't believe me?

Have you ever planned on starting a diet one morning that you relinquished by lunch?

Have tears ever flowed because you were so heavy, but couldn't stop eating?

Have you believed yourself worthless because you were fat?

Now, go back to my original question.

Which is correct?

the second one - Increase your self esteem to lose weight.



My suggestion: Start by listing ten things about yourself that you like.

Hint: Remember, you're God's creation, so you are special.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

God's Amazing Love

God's love never ceases. God's love can not be understood.

My husband and I sat in our back yard last night ant watched four grackles fly up into a live oak tree that leaned over our back fence. The noise level exacerbated, more screeching, less song.



mockingbird
"There's a mockingbird nest in that tree," Charles said. "I'll bet those grackles are eating the eggs."

I was horrified at the thought.

Ear-splitting sounds continued from the direction of the tree. It stopped when four grackles flew from that tree to another.

"How sad for the mama mockingbird," I said. We mamas internalize that kind of pain.

Charles enlightened me. "The instinct of the mockingbird will be to nurture those eggs, and when they crack, to feed those babies."

My heart was saddened. "Why would God allow such cruelty and yet, not give the mockingbird thoughts of revenge?"

At that moment, I knew. God uses His creations to teach us. What an example of God's love!

grackle
I was like that grackle, thoughtless and hateful, envious and resentful. I trampled God's gift of love. Yet, even before I was alive, God poured out His love nature to me by sending His Son to die on the cross.

Amazing love.

Unfailing love.

Unimaginable love.

Today is my birthday, so I'm a bit reflective, but last night with the story of the grackle and the mockingbird, God gave me a picture of His love.

And, today, on my birthday, I want to say, "Thank you, Lord, for that unspeakable love that saves me and turns my life into something beautiful for You, despite my age."

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Love Hunger

In my weight controlling classes, I use quotes and examples from many books. In Love Hunger: Recovery from Food Addiction by Dr. Frank Minirth, Dr. Paul Meier, Dr. Robert Hemfelt, & Dr. Sharon Sneed, we read, "The first step to food addiction, Love Hunger, most often begins in childhood, but one can get on the addiction cycle later in life as well." 

Finding the root cause of our compulsion or addiction means discovering when and where it started. A baby isn't born that way. I wracked my mind trying to determine what gave me love-hunger.



I was very fortunate that both my parents were in my life, and both loved me. However, I will say that I never lived up to my mother’s expectations. She loved me, but more than that, she loved what she wanted me to be, only I wasn’t that perfect daughter in her mind. She complimented me a lot, but always with a but … .
 
“You’re such a beautiful girl, if you would just lose a little weight.”
 “You are so smart, but I wish you’d speak up more for yourself.”
 
Mother took me to my first weight loss place where I began a diet when I was fourteen. Thinking back, I guess this was my trigger (my love-hunger). I was embarrassed and felt insecure to need such a place.

To receive my total emotional healing from God, I began with that trigger time. Before I could heal, I had to forgive. By this time, my mother was gone. I didn't know how to express my forgiveness. One time, while I was taking a course on the book of John in the Bible, God spoke to me to write her a letter.

I did, writing to my mother and telling her how she hurt me with her comments, with her lack of acceptance of who I really was, then I told her that I knew she did the best she could do. I remembered her telling me about her mean-spirited grandmother. Compassion welled in my heart for the little girl who was sickly and unable to work in the cotton fields with her brothers and sister, for the taunting and harsh words that befell her though she was unable to change her health. The more I wrote the freer I became.


When I was bound in addiction, I could've never imagined that God would have me writing at this desk as He dictated. Praise God for His miraculous healing.

I'm not saying that you need to write a letter of forgiveness, but maybe you do. What I'm saying, is if you're bound with a food addiction, ask God to show you the root cause. Then, ask Him to heal that love hunger.

(See the way God does things and fall into line. Don't fight the facts of nature.) Who can straighten what he has made crooked?
            Ecclesiates 7:13 The Life Recovery Bible


Not everything is fair in life, but God is control.

And, God heals. My life is a testimony to that.



Saturday, July 11, 2015

To Covet or not to Covet and a Giveaway

Scroll to the bottom of this post to learn about an exclusive giveaway this week.


Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbour's.
                                    Exodus 20:17

 

I might add. Thou shalt not covet thy friend’s body or beauty.

 

This is one of the 10 commandments, so it’s important.

 

I adopt and promote the motto of the 4 Ss.
 
 
Strive toward a decision to follow Christ in all things.
 
Stretch toward God's excellence, not man's approval.
 
Surrender to God's will, not ours.
 
Succeed in keeping communication lines open with God for healthier living.
 
 
No inciting event is required for jealousy to rear its ugly head. Many times, our perception of that event is enough. To explain that, here’s my example from a few years ago. Nothing happened to cause the strong emotion, but my belief that it was true brought it about. For healing, I wrote about it in my journal.

     What actually happened:

     My mother-in-law complimented someone else, saying she needed help so much and was thankful to that person for supplying it.
 
     How I perceived that event:

     My mother-in-law was  berating me because I had not done enough, but this person had done a lot less, so I was jealous of her and angry at my mother-in-law.
                      --Divine Dining, May 8
 
 
You fill in the blanks with your own story.
 
God doesn’t want us to compare ourselves with each other. We’re all different. We should strive (remember that word in our motto)) toward what God desires for us.

Those feelings are real, and they hurt. With some people, we can't retreat. With others, as my mother used to say, "they know where my goat's tied," meaning they pierce us where we're vulnerable. What's our solution?


God

Give it to Him daily, hourly, or however often we require.
This is our way to find peace. Love RVing in God's world.


God says, "do not covet." Yet, we long for the acceptance or the ability to not gain weight of someone else. God can and will take those feelings away and give us peace.

With covetousness and comparison on our minds, we can't control our eating.

Seek the Lord, the Prince of Peace.


Now, about my giveaway:


For anyone who signs in to follow this blog by adding their e-mail in the area to the left of this post, I will send an ARC copy of Worth Her Weight up to six copies. (since that's how many of those copies I have left)

If you already get my posts by e-mail, leave a review of any of my books on Amazon or Goodreads before my six copies are sent, and you'll be in the running.

For information about Worth Her Weight, click on the blog page about it on the right side below all the pictures.

Hurry, remember, I only have 6 Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs) to give.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Welcome, Author Jennifer Hallmark

Today, I'm excited to introduce the Writing with God's Hope blog viewers to an online friend, Jennifer Hallmark. She writes, as she states it, Alabama Inspired Fiction. I met her on the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) online writing loop.

This month marks the time for a new release for Hallmark. The title is Unlikely Merger.


 
No longer needed as her father’s nurse, Mercy Lacewell attempts to step into his shoes at his acquisitions firm. That means travel, engaging strangers, and making final decisions—nothing she feels equipped to do. If her best friend has her way, Mercy will simply marry one of the single, available men she meets, but they overwhelm her. So handsome and kind. And so many. Even if she felt obliged, how could she ever choose?

Should she shove all attraction aside and focus on her father’s business, or is God warming her heart with the possibility of forever?



Jennifer, did you ever feel like giving up on your writing?  And how did you press through this?

Does today count? Seriously, the attacks of doubt surface often. I just remind myself how far I’ve come since I took that first writing course. I try to enjoy each step of the journey. No looking back, no regrets. Prayer helps also. Lots of prayer.

I love your answer, and so agree. What gave you the idea for this book?

Unlikely Merger is actually a multi-author collaboration. I was asked by publisher Tracy Ruckman of Write Integrity Press if I’d be interested in the opportunity to participate in this venture. It’s been fun!

How neat! How do you feel this book will encourage readers, or did you have something in mind like this when you wrote it?

Unlikely Merger shows the reader how one woman can overcome timidity and step out of her comfort zone. I feel it gives hope and encouragement through the difficult circumstances Mercy Lacewell deals with.

 How did you find your publisher?

I met Tracy in person at the Atlanta Christian Writers Conference. We had a mutual author friend, Fay Lamb. I received an email earlier this year asking me if I’d be interested in taking part in this compilation.

Oh, I love Fay.  I met her at one of the ACFW conferences.  Now, tell us.  If you were a song, what would it be?

How about some of the beautiful music found on the Lord of the Rings movie soundtrack? Beautiful, haunting melodies intermingled with light, refreshing tunes.

 What do you like to do when you’re not writing?


I baby sit my two granddaughters a couple times a week. I enjoy reading, shopping and dining out with my hubby, and hanging out with family and friends. Also various activities at church.
 
 
Jennifer Hallmark is a writer by nature, artist at heart, and daughter of God by His grace. She’s published over 200 articles and interviews on the internet, short stories in several magazines and been part of four book compilations, A Dozen Apologies, Sweet Freedom A La Mode, Unlikely Merger, and a non-fiction compilation on infertility and miscarriage, the latter to be released in early fall. website and the group blog she co-founded focus on her books, love of the South, and helping writers. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
 

Thank you for visiting this site today, Jennifer. I am honored and blessed that you took the time to stop by. I look forward to getting my copy of Unlikely Merger.

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.

 

lilyionamackenzie.wordpress.com

@lilyionamac


https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lily-Iona-MacKenzie/829244327113557

 
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.