Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Inspiration from the Past

Have you ever wondered if the desire to write began with you? Did anyone in your ancestry put words on paper for posterity? My question was answered when my mother passed away, and I shuffled through boxes of memories.

In one box, I found two small books, both titled "Mama's Book of Poetry." My great aunt Nannie Madden Foster wrote them. I've chosen two of her poems to share with you today, and pray that one or both ministers to you.

I was weary and lonely one evening;
And sitting at home by my hearth.
I thought of my life as a failure
And regretted the day of my birth.
For it seemed that with each undertaking
A failure I'd made of it all,
And the more I'd try to do better
The longer and harder I'd fall.
Some day the clouds will vanish,
And the sun will shine again;
Perhaps it will shine brighter
After the storm and the rain.
Just another heartbroken mother
January 29, 1928
A writer is never completely forgotten.
Any mother will understand the rhythm above.
Hope of Mine
Blessed Savior, Hope of mine,
Consecrate my life to thine;
Make me pure without, within;
Savior, keep my heart from sin.
Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee;
And may I linger near Thy throne
Thy precious name to call upon.
To give me strength
That I may bear
My burdens to Thy
Throne of prayer.
As I lay them down
At my Savior's feet
Who will hear them all
When conditions meet.
He gives me strength
And courage true
And helps me to be
What He would have me to.
How precious is the inspiration from yesteryear!
I pray that MY BOOKS will live on to inspire my progeny.
Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning

Lamentations 3:23 New Living Translation
What a memory from the past that God's faithfulness is timeless. Blessings today on all those who view this post.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter

It is finished.
      Jesus proclaimed from the cross as told in John 19:30

3 days later, women came to Jesus' tomb to add spices for preparing the body, something they didn't have time to do before the Sabbath day began. They found an empty tomb and panicked.

Then the angel spoke to the women, "Don't be frightened," he said. "I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified, but he isn't here! For he has come back to life again, just as he said he would.
                   Matthew 28: 5, 6 Life Recovery Bible

And, to this day, we Christians honor this Easter Day because our Savior lives. Unlike any religion on earth, our Lord is alive!

Happy Easter to all my viewers.
Thank you for joining me in honoring the Lord at this time.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

How to Inspire a Healthy Meal?

When meals just happen, overeating or unhealthy choices are often made.

So, how might you inspire a healthy meal?
Would a bouquet brighten your dinner table?

Preparation of mind and meal

Begin before you're ready to eat.

1.      Pay attention to food choices. Planning meals ahead of time eliminates some of the last-minute temptation to overeat. But even if you're in a hurry, stop first to ask yourself whether you have options that help your weight loss or maintenance.
     One way to look at it is whether the proposed food is worth the calories. Will you be exercising? Where are you eating? If it's at a restaurant, take time to google the nutritional values of possible choices. If it's at home, might you add an extra vegetable, or cook the meat without much oil?

2.     Set a smarter table. At home, use smaller plates and tall, thin glasses whenever possible. At restaurants, ask if you can have your meal served on a salad plate. Or simply divide your meal into a sensible portion for now, and ask the waiter to put the rest in a to-go container.

3.     Take a quiet moment. Before you dig in, stop to reflect on your mood. A prayer of thanksgiving to the Lord for the meal might be a good time to again ask God to have His will for your choices.

 While you're eating:

1.      Take it all in. Engage all your senses. How does the food look and smell? Anticipate that first taste and savor each mouthful.

2.     Downsize your bites and slow yourself down. The meal shouldn’t be a race to the finish line. Take smaller bites, chew each one thoroughly, and take a sip of water before raising your fork again.

3.    Be sociable.  Dining out with friends and family is one of life’s pleasures. Put appropriate servings on your plate, and then concentrate on your friends or family.  Stimulating conversation might cause you to forget your food, and fill up quicker, so that you don't even want all that's on your plate. If this happens, take it home, or leave it. Add it to the waste, not to your waist.  Limit the time spent around food pushers, or at least, learn to hush their efforts.

After your meal

1.      Do a quick check-in. What would you do differently next time? How could you better prepare? What did you do right? Always find something you did right.

  1. Give thanks.  Thank the Lord for helping you.
  3.  Take a walk.  After more talking or perhaps doing the dishes, take a walk outside if it's still daylight, or play a game of volleyball, or take a line dancing class inside. This raises your metabolism and adds to family fun. 
Do you have other ideas to make your meals more healthy? Please share.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

10 Steps to Good Health with Author, Eleanor Gustafson

On this day, I wish to introduce you to author, Eleanor Gustafson. I write a lot of posts about weight loss and nutrition. I thought you might like to hear another person's view on the subject. Eleanor graciously agreed to share her ten steps to good health, plus a little extra. Be sure to scroll on and learn about this author's exciting books. Take it away, Eleanor.

I’m 82. Been at this health things a few years. While I can’t jump hedges or ride horseback anymore, I still walk a pretty good clip and climb stairs two at a time.

What have I learned about health? In the order of importance, here’s my short list:


1. The very best tool for healthy living is self-discipline. Without that, you’re doomed!

2. The next-best tool is vitamin C. I have beaten back multiple health problems from colds to serious bladder infections. The trick is to attack the very first symptoms. If you bruise, you’re low on C.

3. Best advice: knock out sugar. Did you know that cancer feeds almost totally on glucose?

4. A healthy spiritual life helps promote bodily health. The reverse of that: Don’t expect good health if you harbor anger, resentment, and self-indulgence.

5. Get out and move it—walk, swim, play, bike.

6. Eat healthy—organic when possible, lots of veggies, fruit, whole grains, fish, non-red meats, omega-3 oils.

7. Sleep 7 to 8 hours, especially if stress claws at you. That’s my ongoing problem!

8. Find ways to relax, especially if you work compulsively like I do. My thing is Sudoku.

9. Avoid environmental pollutants—weed and insect killers, microwave (radiation), food additives (MSG, nitrites, bad sugars) Lots of nasty stuff out there.

10. Indulge daily with a square or two of 70% or more dark chocolate. Even 90% is edible.


Over all the above, however, is a life commitment to love, worship, and follow our Lord Jesus Christ. With that in place, our bodies can function as the Designer planned, running on the joy of the Lord. Without him, nothing works well in the long run.

If you’d like more detail on any of these, please email me—  I have this goop recipe that’s nasty but real good for you. Requires a bit of courage. Want to try? Just ask.


One final word: Good health is not a given, and bad health happens. If you are dealing with health issues that seem intractable, please don’t let my list discourage you. Do what you can of the above, see a nutritionist (pricy), or find a doctor who’s not just a pill pusher. And of course, health nuts like me are generally happy to give cheap advice.


May God supply the health and strength you need to fulfill the task he has assigned you in particular.

Thank you so much, Eleanor. I love your list. So much of it jives with my 10 best tips for weight loss. See this at:
I do have one question. What is Sudoku?
Okay, now tell us about your books.

My novel Dynamo is a horse-and-God story, with characters you won’t forget. Here are a few review squibs:


·         Dynamo is the most spell-binding book I've had the pleasure to read in years! The writing is superb. The story is captivating. The characters are believable. God’s power is evident.  ~Deb Haggerty


·         Love horses? Love God? Love a good read? Then you will love Dynamo! A wonderful story about love, redemption and how God interposes Himself in our lives in the most unexpected ways! ~Barbara Bertolino


·         Nothing is common about this story. It is so full of love, peace, forgiveness, life and loss. It is really, really a book to read. Eleanor Gustafson is a new author to me, but she is now a new favorite. If her other books are half as good as Dynamo they would be worth reading. I highly recommend Dynamo. ~Trinity Rose


The Stones: A Novel of the Life of King David has equally good reviews. Check them out on Amazon.



Ellie Gustafson began thinking up stories at a young age but did not begin writing and publishing until 1978. A graduate of Wheaton College in Illinois, she has been actively involved in church life as a minister’s wife, teacher, musician, writer, and encourager. Additional experiences include gardening, house construction, tree farming, and parenting—all of which have helped bring color and humor to her fiction. One of her major writing goals has been to make scriptural principles understandable and relevant for today’s readers through the undeniable power of story.

Find Eleanor Gustafson online at:



Twitter: @EgusEllie

Facebook: Ellie Gustafson

Oh, thank you so much, for visiting the Writing with God's Hope blog today. I loved your list of 10 healthy steps, and I absolutely must check out those books. My oldest daughter is a real horse lover and a reader, so I'll be sure to tell her, too.

I voiced my question for Eleanor. Do any of you viewers have questions?

Saturday, March 19, 2016


     In two days, spring officially arrives. This hasn't been too bad a winter around North Texas. Still I long for spring's new beginnings. Winter strips green from trees. Our lawns are dull and brown. Plants wither and die.

   God is the author of new beginnings. Each spring He provides an example of His mercy and grace in the form of the newness of life. With God, we become new creations, get second chances, and sing new songs.

   Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
                                 2 Corinthians 5:17

   His mercies are new every morning.
                                 Lamentations 3:23 

    He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God
                                    Psalm 40:3 NIV

From this:
our dead oleander           

To this:

Texas is alive with red buds & Bradord pear trees.

Thank you, Lord, for spring.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Be True To Yourself

      During spring break, we enjoyed time with our two grandsons. The oldest is a senior in high school and plans on beginning college in the fall. We pray for the many decisions he will need to make in the next few years.

My husband told our grandson. “When you go off to college, be true to yourself.”

Though our grandson is a Christian, he will attend a secular college. His values, even his worth, will be tested. Many of us fight these issues. The devil is the prince of this world.

In the early church, they struggled with feeling some were more important than others. We know this to be true because of what Paul wrote to his mentees.

 Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body.  And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body?  If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything?

 But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it.  How strange a body would be if it had only one part!  Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.”                                      1 Corinthians 12:14-21 NLT

Young people must find their part in the kingdom of God. When they launch out into this world for their first attempt to face adulthood, everything will be challenged. Our churches help us on Sunday, but most of us deal with non-Christians on our job, at our school, and in our neighborhoods.

My grandson isn't the only one who might need this reminder. At times, I need to be told, "be true to yourself." Perhaps, you do, also. We shouldn’t try to be something we’re not. God created us special. He planned our lives while we grew in our mother’s wombs.

I recently read a story about being the person God created us to be. I wanted to share it.


Don't forget to sign in to follow my blog before the end of St. Patrick's Day to win a free book!

Traveling together, a horse with a shiny coat and a fancy saddle trotted beside a mule with a heavy load and a matted coat.

“Oh, how I wish I could be as beautiful and graceful as you,” the mule told the horse. “I wish, too, that I was unburdened and carefree.”

A few days later, a great war broke out, and the horse went to battle, while the mule carried supplies. During a skirmish, the horse was wounded and lay dying. The mule plodded to the front carrying guns and medicine. His burden helped save the horse’s life. It was then that the mule realized that in being himself, he fulfilled his purpose and kept them both safe.

I minister to many who deal with low self esteem, often resulting in weight gain. I hope this story reminds you to walk as God directs. Follow your gifts. Be secure in who you are. Give thanks to the Lord, for making you uniquely you.


Today, I appreciate who I am and what I have.

Thank you, Jesus.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

A Visit with Cherie Burbach

I wish to introduce you to my new online writing friend, Cherie Burbach. I first met her on the loop for American Christian Fiction Writers. She started an excellent blog site intended to give readers a devotion each day. I joined the group of writers taking part in this. If you're looking for a good daily devotion, I highly recommend the blog called Putting on the New.

Go to
or click on the square to the left of this blog just under the e-mail subscribing slot.

I asked Cherie to visit us today and let us know about her book. She agreed and even shared one of her wonderful devotions. Thank you, Cherie.

We love because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19

I found God very early and have always been glad for that. My life could have been so much different, so much darker, if I didn’t have God. He came to me around the age of three, before I even knew what was happening. We didn’t go to church, we didn’t pray as a family, and yet, even at that young age, I felt His presence and His love.

The verse from 1 John 4:19 I shared above brings home the gift of God’s love. He loved me first so I didn’t have to think and wonder about what real love was like. I could experience it through Him. And once I had that love, I had an example I could follow in loving others and accepting their love in return.

This wasn’t so easy. My dad was an alcoholic and I was told I was worthless a lot. And yet, despite his verbal attacks, my dad couldn’t break me. No matter how bleak it was, there was always a part of me that was safe, separate from his abuse, because God loved me. My spirit was whole.

My upbringing formed me into a young woman who didn’t quite know how to love. I couldn’t accept goodness from people, but welcomed bad thoughts and actions. Even then, my spirit belonged to Him, and God didn’t let go. I didn’t always know that then. It’s only with time that I can look back and see how prominent His influence was in my life.

God’s love covers us, calls to us, and fills us with all we need. I am grateful of this as I live my life now, years of distance between me and my alcoholic dad. Now, I have a happy marriage, good friends, and relationships that buoy me. I have Jesus’ example on how to love others and accept their love. I have all I need, all because He loved me first.

He loves all of us that way, and to have Him all we need to do is open our heart to Him, believe in Jesus, and embrace this gift.

Think on these words today:

We love because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19

Dear God, thank you for coming to us first, always, and showing us the way to truth and love. Thank you for holding on to us no matter what.

Oh, that is beautiful, Cherie. What an inspiration to young people who struggle with low self esteem. Thank you for that.

Cherie Burbach's book is titled Art and Faith.

In Art and Faith, Cherie Burbach shares original mixed-media paintings that contain a positive, faith-filled message. There are times when a Bible verse you’ve read many times suddenly becomes clearer to you with a meaning and message you haven’t realized before. Many of the paintings in Art and Faith are inspired by a particular verse that stood out for a variety of reasons. Celebrate your faith with this collection of verses and art that represent hope and encourage belief.





Cherie Burbach is a poet, mixed media artist, and freelance writer specializing in lifestyle and relationships. She's written for, NBC/Universal,, Christianity Today, and more. Her latest book is: Art and Faith: Mixed Media Art With a Faith-Filled Message. Visit her website for more info,

Thank you so much, Cherie, for visiting Writing with God's Hope blog today. The book sounds fascinating, and I love the devotion.

Any questions or comments for Cherie?

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Anniversary Giveaway

On the San Antonio River Walk, 2015
On Saint Patrick's Day, my husband, Charles and I celebrate 54 years of marriage, and you get the presents!

Anyone that puts their e-mail address in to follow Writing with God's Hope blog before midnight on March 17 wins a free pdf or kindle version of any one of my books.

Which book in the list of MY BOOKS do you wish to receive?
Just below the pages on the left, see the slot where you may leave your e-mail and hit submit to follow the blog.

 Then e-mail me at or leave a comment at the bottom of this post, or leave a comment on my Facebook page at to let me know which book you wish to receive and to what e-mail you want it delivered.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Why do I Like Libraries?

Wichita Falls Library

Click on the link to find the Hood County Library site for my post about why I like libraries. I list 5 reasons. How about you? What do you like about libraries?

Burkburnett Library

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Author Interview with Elaine Stock

Online, I meet a lot of excellent writers. I love that part of writing. Elaine Stock is a new online writing friend. I learned about her newest release and wanted to know more about her and her book. She agreed to visit the Writing with God's hope blog today. I asked her lots of questions. You may have questions of your own. If so, leave a comment, and ask away.


Where did you get the idea for your book?


One facet of human behavior I’ve always had trouble coming to grips with is how people treat each other in the negative sense. I’ve grown up with a lot of prejudice hauled at me for a myriad of reasons and have tried my best to beat the drum of respect across the lines of faiths and races. With that in mind, the basis of Always With You began on a light note during a workshop…


Years ago, as part of a writing workshop in Saratoga, NY (a horse racing Mecca), I was given a horse’s name and assigned to develop a story idea. Racehorses have long names! My horse was named Don’t-Tell-Isabelle, which became my story’s original title because so many people have kept family secrets from Isabelle. Throughout her childhood Isabelle had always heard her dad and grandmother whispering Don’t Tell Isabelle. A BTW: I don’t go to the track or gamble on horses!


But then, what really fueled the passion for this story happened when 9-11 occurred. I felt compelled to write a story of how love and faith could conquer horror, and how we all need to love each other no matter our races or faiths.


Always With You was slowly written and re-written a few years after these two influences. It’s faith premise is: A mighty big God can lead people to overcome evil in this world, and that this same powerful faith can help one to overcome past or current trials. The title change came about when my sharp editor, Deb Haggerty, suggested the change and I agreed, believing the title now not only reflects more about the love between the two central characters, but even better—the love between an Almighty God and His believers.


How did you find your publisher?


Always With You is published by Elk Lake Publishing. It was submitted by my fabulous agent, Linda S. Glaz, of Hartline Literary Agency. I’m blessed that both my agent and publisher believe in this story!


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


I’m finishing up a story that involves 3 different family members that all need rescuing within 1 week’s time and for different reasons.


What kind of books do you enjoy reading?


I love a story that can sweep me away from every day life—full of tension and life truths revealed by the characters, and plots full of suspense. I tend to read more contemporary these past few years than historicals, and definitely more fiction than non-fiction.


What has your writing journey been like so far?


Long, and I won’t even try to disguise that into something more pretty. Looking back, I think I’d begun in the wrong genre—it took years of trying different formats, learning craft, attending writing conferences, interacting with other authors socially, and learning the art/magic of revision to point me in the direction I’m most comfortable in writing. Honestly though, that’s not to say that when I sit down to write the writing comes at a snap of the fingers because I’m so talented and a genius… Not! It’s a lot of hard work and now that I’m published I’m learning that it does NOT get easier.


Where is your favorite place to vacation?


Some years ago my husband and I went to Nova Scotia and loved it. I’d enjoy going back there, but would also like to visit British Columbia in Canada sooner than later. My husband is dreaming aloud lately about traveling to Ireland, and he’s not a lover of planes. We shall see.

If you could be a song, what would it be?


I’d be a Bach oratorio. LOL—not that anyone would want to hear me sing!


 Find Elaine online at:


website/blog: Everyone's Story




Can she move forward without knowing her past?

Will he enjoy his present if he can’t free himself from what he left behind?

In the heart of the Adirondacks, Isabelle lives in the shadow of a dark family secret whose silent burden strips her family of emotional warmth and faith in God. Tyler belongs to the religious sect called The Faithful, which Isabelle’s father dislikes immensely. Yet, because Tyler belongs to this group, Isabelle sees only a man devoted to his family and faith.

She wants it; she gets it; they marry.

And when the truth comes out, Isabelle faces two choices:


Staying could endanger her child.

Leaving could cost her life.

That sounds fascinating, Elaine. I need to read that one.
Purchase Elaine's book at:

Barnes & Noble

A former Brooklyn gal, Elaine Stock lives in the Northeast with her husband where she enjoys spring, summer, autumn, and puts up with the winter. A member of several writing associations, she also is a contributing author to the international “Happy Sis Magazine.” In addition to Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads, she hangs out on her active blog, Everyone’s Story, dedicated to uplifting and encouraging all readers through the power of story and hope.

Thank you, Elaine, for visiting with us today. I enjoyed it. Your books sounds amazing.
Okay, now any questions or comments?

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Is Willpower Enough?

Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.

                                   John 8:32

If there is one truth I’ve learned since the Lord healed me of compulsive overeating, it’s that I must be honest and real.

Me at 250 pounds
That truth provides the basis for my book Divine Dining: 365 Devotions to Guide You to Healthier Weight and Abundant Wellness.

     Despite the trusted belief to the contrary, will power isn’t the answer for weight loss. My strong will power fueled my disease. I reached two hundred, fifty pounds. By then, I was an emotional wreck with thoughts of suicide. Food dominated everything I did.

     I was a Christian, so I prayed for God to help me, to stop the cravings, to take away the desire to overeat. Nothing lasted. I rose from my knees to try another diet, to do it for myself. I could tell you the caloric content of foods, what to eat and what to avoid. Knowledge did not translate into success. My will power would last for days or for months, but then it turned on me and pushed me to eat what I wanted, so that I regained the weight, plus some. Nothing worked until I truly gave up trying and told God if He didn't heal me, I was doomed. Desperation drives divine dining.

     Every week during a Christian weight loss class, I soaked up the lessons presented. When the teacher moved, I continued to teach the class. I lost weight in direct proportion to my reliance on Christ. God healed me emotionally. While teaching this class, I also attended a twelve-step Overeater’s Anonymous group. I tore down the idol of food and put God on the throne of my heart.
Showing off my 3 books including Divine Dining in the center.

     In Divine Dining I teach principles from my weight loss journey. Even now, after eighteen years, I read books and literature over and over to keep me inspired, and keep off the weight.

     I have several daily devotion books, some specifically for compulsive overeaters, but Divine Dining is the first one I’ve found that combines a twelve-step approach with drawing closer to Christ and allowing Him to take His rightful place in our lives.

     A few years ago, the Lord woke me in the middle of the night. My mind popped with devotions. I wrote fourteen before I went back to bed. For four years, ideas came to me. Sometimes I wrote one a day. Other times I wrote one a week.
Now, at 150 pounds, 100 lbs. less
By the time I had finished 300 devotions, I knew this wasn’t meant just for me. God wanted me to share it. I started submitting. Pen-L Publishing released it in December, 2012.

It remains my best seller.
Soon, I’ll be releasing a workbook as a compliment to the devotion book. Keep tuned for further information.