Showing posts with label #writing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #writing. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Cynthia Diamond Stevison Talks About Mental Health

Today I welcome author, Cynthia Diamond Stevison to Writing with God's Hope blog. Stevison and I met at the Oklahoma Writers Federated International conference in May, 2016.  Since the mental component involved with fighting addiction is of interest to me, I loved discussing this topic with Stevison. I asked her to tell us about it and to also tell us about her book. Since I met her, I have read her book. Scroll to the bottom for my review and disclaimer.

Take it away, Cynthia.


There is a mental health crisis in our country today.
Few people realize mental disorders can be treated and managed.
Recovery is possible.
The Tree of Happiness explores the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness. This story offers encouragement and empowerment to those willing to accept it and climb into their true potential. This book converts decades of personal and professional healing strategies into a proven process that equips readers with the tools to create their own Tree of Happiness.
Readers will
  • Discover how to unveil the roots that bind them.
  • Find answers to help those that suffer from mental illness.
  • Experience comfort that they are not alone.
  • Discern how mental disorders can be managed. Unpack how recovery is possible.
My book offers personal stories. I hope it inspires others to find their purpose and expand their potential. This book highlights the fundamental strategies for a successful recovery.
The Tree of Happiness unites human spirit and the mental health crisis in our country today. It uncovers the secret that mental disorders can be treated, managed and recovery is possible.
The book examines the stigma and discrimination faced by many Americans today. This story offers hope and healing to those willing to accept it.
We can impact others by sharing our stories. Every day is an opportunity to share. You see everyone has a story. If you just take the time to listen, share, and be supportive.

One of my favorite quotes by Katrina Mayer:
“At the end of the day the only questions I ask myself
Did I love enough?
Did I laugh enough?
Did I make a difference?”

GettyImages-127637696

What is essentially the ‘correct’ mindset to combat the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness?
In my experience over the last 25 years there are several ways to reduce stigma and discrimination. First to combat the fears about mental illness is to accept that mental illness can’t be cured but can be managed with proper treatment. This treatment is up to the individual. This person is not broken and everyone’s success looks different. Many individuals want to end the stigma and open the door to opportunities for discussion.
What is offered in your book “The Tree of Happiness”?

“The Tree of Happiness” unites human spirit and the mental health crisis in our country today. It uncovers the secret that mental disorders can be treated, managed and recovery is possible. There are four phases to the book.
1. The Struggle
2. The Recovery Plan
3. The Healing
4. The Impact
 
In the book I open up my tool kit of and reveal the seven practical steps for educating, empowering and encouraging others with mental illness.
Who do you recommend this book for?
People with mental illness and their friends and family
NAMI Groups
Social Workers
Counselors
Department of Corrections
Suicide prevention centers
Alcohol and drug treatment providers
Grief Counselors, Trainers
Military Personnel PTSD
Law Enforcement
Department of Child and Family Services
Support Groups
Crisis intervention teams
Why mental illness called the invisible disease?
People don’t often look sick. Some individuals hide behind closed doors and use alcohol and drugs to medicate the disorder. Many individuals rather than seek help with their mental disorder, many hide, hoping that it will go away. They are unwilling to admit to their illness because they are frightened of society’s reaction. Those who most need support from others, aren’t able to find the support they need because of society’s view on their illness.
 
What is your advice?
My advice to caregivers is smile, sit and listen. Don’t pity the individual. Realize the person is trying on good days and bad days. I advise those that struggle with mental health to learn to ask for help. Remember, ninety percent of mental disorders are treatable.
How did you recover?
I want everyone to know things did not change overnight. It was a slow and steady pace. I have known my share of hardships and loss but here I stand continuously moving forward. I remember the days that made me strong. I asked for help and I never gave up on myself. I am now in control of my own destiny. I have a wellness plan and that I am faithful to.
Which is your coping strategy?
I have a wellness plan that involves medication, relaxation, yoga, supportive people, meditation, volunteering, journaling and creative writing.
Why read the book now?
• We can raise awareness for others that are still struggling.
• We could inspire hope, and help in others.
• We have to expose this invisible disease to others.
• Tell them we need to treat mental illness like every other chronic illness.
• We must invoke policies changes in our federal and local government.
• If we better understand ourselves and others, conflict will decrease.
• Healthier relationships inspire peace, forgiveness and new beginnings. They build value and worth.
• We must advocate for each other.
 
Message in three words or less.
NEVER GIVE UP.


Order Tree of Happiness on Amazon








Cynthia Stevison is a midwest writer, advocate, blogger, traveler and entreprneur. She is a great storyteller. 
Cynthia earned her Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Northwestern Oklahoma State University. Cynthia resides in the state of Oklahoma with her family.





Thank you for visiting us, Cynthia.


 My Review and Disclaimer

The Tree of Happiness supplies a wonderful resource for those who have ever dealt with mental illness through family or close friends, or in themselves. This author has experienced both things. Her brother is bi-polar. Written in the form of creative non-fiction, Stevison gives her brother's account as through his eyes. Her own story is a memoir or journal entry of her experiences during her stay in a mental hospital as well as struggling though years of recovery. Often, people shun those ill mentally unlike those with physical ailments. I found Stevison's steps for recovery not unlike much of my findings written in my book, Divine Dining. The Tree of Happiness asks questions, giving space to provide answers, utilizing thought processes that a mentally ill person can work through by themselves or in a support group. The book offers much common sense wisdom. Stevison believes in 12 step programs, as do I. She calls on help from her Higher Power, a mixture of God, as preached in churches, and humanism or spiritualism whereas my Higher Power comes from Jehovah God of the Bible, His Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, three in one.

****Disclaimer: Though this book can definitely help the mentally ill, and those dealing with one who is mentally ill,  be aware, first of all, that the journals give realistic language including a little cursing or crude words. This doesn't happen a lot, and is mostly at the beginning. Second, Stevison promotes a lifestyle that the Bible preaches against. Because of this, anyone reading this must be strong in their Christian beliefs, so as not to be influenced in the wrong way. As a believer in Christ, I love Cynthia Stevison. I applaud her recovery success. She's doing much good with her life. What a blessing that is. I do not advocate her sin, merely the wisdom she brings to the mental health issue.

Thank you, Cynthia Diamond Stevison for introducing us to this resource. I pray for your continued recovery and writing.



Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Author Julie Arduini on Surrender

I am blessed to welcome author, Julie Arduini to Writing with God's Hope blog today. With my history of food addiction, the topic of surrendering to the Lord is my hot button. Like me, Julie teaches and writes about surrender.

Julie tell us how it affected your new release.
 
 
 
Surrendering Regret

The Theme Behind ENTANGLED
by
Julie Arduini

 

            Earlier this year I took the plunge and followed God’s call to start my own imprint and speaking ministry. As much as I enjoyed being part of a publishing family, I felt the stirring to do this was to tie everything together that I do under surrender issues and chocolate. All my fiction contains a surrender theme, and characters usually have a fondness for some kind of chocolate.
I am blessed to welcome author, Julie Arduini to Writing with God's Hope blog today. With my history of food addiction, the topic of surrendering to the Lord is my hot button. Like me, Julie teaches and writes on that topic.

Julie tell us how it affected your new release.

            ENTANGLED is my new release and it contains a surrender story readers are relating to. Carla Rowling is a single mom and sheriff in the Adirondack village of Speculator Falls. When ENTANGLED begins, Carla’s been given the means to leave her job and start cosmetology school, something she’s always wanted to do. She has the support of the entire town, including her teen son Noah, and her boyfriend, truck driver Will Marshall. The only person who isn’t excited is Carla.

            She feels unworthy to receive such a gift because of choices she made in the past. Her guilt consumes her, and in return, she makes choices that puts all her relationships in jeopardy. The cycle continues when Carla fears Noah will repeat her mistakes. Instead of creating highlights, Carla’s causing consequences worse than a bad perm.

            I think holding on to the past is a tool of the enemy. My mom has a saying, “It’s okay to look in the rear view mirror, but don’t stare.” Carla’s entire focus is on the past. By concentrating on what’s already been done, including forgiveness she long ago asked for, she’s ruining her future. Sadly, I’ve watched this play out many times.

            My passion is to encourage readers to find freedom through surrender. That freedom can only come through Christ. Whether or not Carla has a happy ending, I can’t tell you, but I can say this, God wants His kids to have happy endings. If there is anyone struggling with guilt, shame or regret, my prayer is they surrender those things to Jesus and watch Him do a great work through you.



Entangled: Surrendering the Past

Book #2, Surrendering Time Series

“You need to leave me alone. It’s the least you can do.”
 
Carla Rowling has been given her dream of attending cosmetology school. The gift is so generous she feels unworthy because of choices she made as a teen. The pressure mounts as Carla juggles school, is a single mom, helps her best friend Jenna plan her wedding, spends time with boyfriend Will Marshall, and deals with the fact that her son's father is back in their lives.

Will Marshall is the one Speculator Falls resident everyone can count on. His truck deliveries are reliable. He's the first to help friends like Ben Regan with boat work or be a card partner with Bart Davis. Will's ready to settle down with Carla, loving her is natural. He's bonded with her son, Noah. But when Carla starts cosmetology school, she puts emotional distance between her and Will.

Can Carla release her past and create a future full of highlights, or, will she burn her options worse than a bad perm?

Purchase Link: 


 

Entangled is book #2. Although it can standalone, if you’d like to read Entrusted: Surrendering the Present first, click here: https://www.amazon.com/Entrusted-Surrendering-Present-Time/dp/0692709177?ie=UTF8&qid=&ref_=tmm_pap_swatch_0&sr=




Julie Arduini loves to encourage readers to surrender the good, the bad, and ---maybe one day---the chocolate. She’s the author of the  re-release, ENTRUSTED: Surrendering the Present, as well as the sequel, ENTANGLED: Surrendering the Past. She also shared her story in the infertility devotional, A WALK IN THE VALLEY. She blogs every other Wednesday for Christians Read. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Learn more by visiting her at http://juliearduini.com, where she invites readers to subscribe to her monthly newsletter full of resources and giveaway opportunities at JULIE ARDUINI: SURRENDER ISSUES AND CHOCOLATE and the weekly e mail. SUNDAY’S SURRENDER AND CHOCOLATE.

 Find Julie at:






Snapchat: @juliearduini



Monthly Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/dCFG

Weekly Sunday’s Surrender and Chocolate: http://eepurl.com/bJ5yHP

Surrendered Scribe Media Promotions: (Book release info sent as needed) http://eepurl.com/bXAW0L

 Thank you, Julie, for visiting with us today and teaching about surrendering regrets. Through God comes freedom.  Good luck with your writing. God bless.
 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Debut Author Jean Ann Williams Shares Her Story

For years, Jean Ann Williams has blogged and wrote a message of hope. She stopped by this blog once before to tell us about her battle with grief. Now, I'm excited to introduce her first novel, her debut release. Congratulations, Jean Ann. Tell us what it's about.


One mother damaged. One family tested. One daughter determined to find her place.

ClaireLee’s life changes when she must take charge of her siblings after her mother becomes depressed from a difficult childbirth. Frightened by the way Mama sleeps too much and her crying spells during waking hours, ClaireLee just knows she’ll catch her illness like a cold or flu that hangs on through winter. ClaireLee finds comfort in the lies she tells herself and others in order to hide the truth about her erratic mother. Deciding she needs to re-invent herself, she sets out to impress a group of popular girls.

With her deception, ClaireLee weaves her way into the Lavender Girls Club, the most sophisticated girls in school. Though, her best friend Belinda will not be caught with the likes of such shallow puddles, ClaireLee ignores Belinda’s warnings the Lavenders cannot be trusted. ClaireLee drifts further from honesty, her friend, and a broken mother’s love, until one very public night at the yearly school awards ceremony. The spotlight is on her, and she finds her courage and faces the truth and then ClaireLee saves her mother’s life.

Downloads available at Amazon: http://ow.ly/XmCJ5







Twitter: https://twitter.com/JeanAnnWilliams


Jean Ann Williams has published over one hundred articles and short stories for children and adults. JUST CLAIRE is her first book.


The book sounds so good, Jean Ann. It's on my soon-to-read list. Thank you for visiting this Writing with God's Hope blog today. Any questions or comments for Jean Ann?

 

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Praise!



The LORD [is] my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD [is] the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
                                                                
Psalm 27:1



This morning I woke up with this verse on my mind.  This week has filled with anxiety over my granddaughter's health, my middle daughter's stressful move, and the million and one things I need to do. With this writing stuff, God pushes me so far out of my comfort zone that I can't even view it from here. Can I hear an "Amen!"

The verse continues to float through my mind with everything I do. Isn't that just like the Lord?


Growth in depth and strength and consistency and fruitfulness and ultimately in Christlikeness is truly possible when the winds of life are contrary to a person 's comfort.
                                                              Anne Graham Lotz


Here's a verse I memorized awhile back and quote often.

Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed," says the LORD, who has compassion on you
                                                                                   Isaiah 54:10

Praise Be to the Lord!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

A Christian Writer's Goal

 We will accomplish little unless we set goals. At the beginning of the year, the beginning of a month, the beginning of a week, all are great goal setting times. Today, we will focus on goals for writing, but the same criteria works whatever you do.

 
Success requires goal setting
A shot will be way off target unless we know where to aim. If a sailor shoots a torpedo at the enemy but doesn’t set coordinates, the weapon might return to start. We can’t measure our progress if we don’t know which way we’re to travel.


A goal motivates us,
guides us,
and inspires accomplishment.

 
What is the criteria for a God-ordained goal?

Isn't that what Christian writers should be aiming for? 

 

 Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, The watchman keeps awake in vain.

                               Psalm 127:2

 

 

After the Israelis return from captivity in Babylon, Nehemiah set out to build a wall around Jerusalem. Enemies jeered and vandalized. Nehemiah set guards over the work even while they built. Working to follow God’s instructions, the Israelis built the wall to God’s glory despite all opposition.
 
 
A wide receiver is the goal of the quaterback

 

 
Writers face rejection, loneliness, deadlines, and balancing family, promotion, and writing. No one said it would be easy. We need a goal. But, if we're Christians, not just any goal; a God-ordained goal.

 

 

To please God with our writing, we should ask these questions.

 

Is what I write pleasing to God?

Do I spend enough time or too much time on writing?

Do my written or spoken words lift others up?

Do I do or say anything that offends?

 

 

Apply these same principles to any activity or career? Remember, if God doesn’t build the house, we labor in vain. If we work just for money or fame, without bringing glory for the Lord, it won’t last.

 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Saturday, June 18, 2016

When God Says Stop

     I love writing.

All my life I’ve written something. When my girls were younger, I sold a few short stories. During their teens, I wrote one full length manuscript, submitted it to one publisher where it was promptly rejected, and then I put it aside for twenty years. In fact, it’s still in a drawer unsent.
Pretty blooms on sticky cacti

Life intervened with a demanding job, daughter’s weddings, and not enough hours in the day. The only thing I wrote for years was my prayer journal and one unfinished teen short story, and it drove me crazy. I would plan to write, but then not get home in time.

With the close of 2005, I retired from the job, the girls had moved away, and I decided to write full time. I joined a local writing group called Red River Romance Writers. It was a RWA chapter. Through them, I learned a lot and improved my writing. Through them, I learned about conferences and workshops.

I continue to belong to American
Christian Fiction Writers
From 2006 to 2009, I attended one or two conferences a year, many other workshops, took online classes, and submitted and faced rejection over and over. In 2009, I attended the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writing Conference in the beautiful North Carolina Blue Ridge Mountains. This group enlarged my vision and my places to submit. I came home ready to hit my new career at peak push.

I was nearing my sixty-fifth birthday and worried about the short time I had in life to get my work published. I worked long hours and prayed a lot. I fought bitterness at myself or the situation that caused me to waste my youth in not writing. An obsession to be published filled my mind. I gave it everything I had.

 

Then, God said, “stop.”

 

“Lord,” I prayed. “What should I stop? Should I stop going to conferences? Should I write only short stories? Are you saying I’ll never be published?”

 

The Lord told me, “Stop writing. Period. I don’t want you to write anything. I don’t want you to submit anything. I don’t want you to ever think about it. Nothing. Stop.”

 

I sat in what I call my prayer chair, limp as a delicate orchid that had been trampled. Giving up writing was like giving up my baby. Writing consumed my world. What would I do if I didn’t write? Who would I be?

 

But, I knew God had said, “Stop,” so I stopped.

 

For over three months, I wrote nothing, not even a journal. My quiet time with the Lord extended into longer periods of time. I read His Word more. Slowly, He revealed how obsessed I had become over being published. Strange how the devil blinds us to his sneaky ways. Though I was still a Christian, I had put publication on the throne of my life. It had become everything to me.

 

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.                  Phil. 4:7

 

God’s peace entered my heart. I no longer missed the writing. No longer did my thoughts turn to publishers or conferences or advice I’d been given. God gave me rest. He sparked my mind with His Word. He carried me around like a queen. It was so exciting following Christ.

 

One day during prayer, God whispered, “Why don’t you work on that teen story some more?”

 

“What? Did I hear you right, Lord, you want me to write something?”

 

“Just a little. Finish that story.”

 

I did.

 

“Send it off,” God told me.

 

I did.

 

The editor wrote back that she liked the story, but why didn’t I try making it chapter one of a teen book? I could do that. I asked the Lord, and He agreed.

 

In this way, God led me back to writing, slowly, prayerfully, with concentration on Him first. He still gave me the desire of my heart, as He promises to do.

 

That teen book became my debut novel, Victoria and the Ghost. Since then, my publisher has released two other books, and I have three others in contract.

 

God is on the throne of my life. I’m a compulsive person that likes to be in control. I suffered a similar problem with food, but always I must put God first.

 

Examine your life today. Is the Lord in first place, or something else? God might say, “stop.”

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

A Reposting of My Popular Blog Post on Emotion

EMOTION
Joy at my grandson's high school graduation
Emotion permeates our actions, body language, and words.

My emotions spur me to better living or worse reactions. Some people appear grounded in fact instead of feelings, but are they really? Facts can be altered to meet our worldview, our beliefs, or our interpretation.

WRITING TIPS Regarding Emotion

Emotion deepens our writing. Until we make the reader feel for our character, he or she won't like what we write.


Understated emotion in our stories hurts worse than allowing us to see the character cry unless we've proven that the character never cries.

Withhold the showing of emotion. Wait. Wait.

Tantilize us with episodes of fear that turn out okay. Produce a longing for love that remains unfulfilled. Build the anger to a fever pitch.

Name several things that would sadden your character. Bring to pass the worst things on your list. Make the reader sense the full brunt of shock.

In my family, we have a saying, "Murphy's Law." That means if it can get worse, it does. Be mean to your protagonist. Put them in a maze, and watch them crawl out in their own power.

In writing inspirational fiction, the writer takes the form of the devil seeking to tempt the protagonist beyond their ability to stand. Then, show God overcoming the devil through that person.

COMPULSIVE OVEREATING - Overcoming Emotions

Emotion is tied to compulsions and addictions. For other compulsive overeaters out there like me, how many times have you binged because you were sad, anxious, or happy?

Each day give your life, your will, your choices to God.

Allow God to heal your emotions. Bouncing from the highs to the lows wears you out and prevents God's control.

Reward yourself with a non-food item when you conquer a difficult situation.

Thank God as soon as you realize you've had a God moment where His power took over your compulsion.

Spend quiet time alone with God every day.

Pour out your emotions (fears, anger, resentments) like Mary's costly perfume at Jesus' feet. Giving them up can cost more that monetary involvement.

How do your emotions affect your eating?
How can using those emotions on paper improve your writing
 
 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Insights into Writing with Author, Leeann Betts

Today, I wish to introduce multi-published Christian author, Leeann Betts. Her insights into writing ministered to me. I think this will inspire you, as she asks "Is my book fit for The King?"

 
 

I wrote my dad’s memoirs a couple of years ago. Because we don’t live near each other, we spent time together at Christmas or Thanksgiving working on the book. I used a digital recorder and had a list of questions I needed answered. Once I got the story down, I’d send him several chapters at a time for him to review. Then I sent the final book, printed out in a binder, and he called with changes and corrections. Even once we sent it to a printer, we found errors in the galleys which we corrected.

 

My father held his book in his hand a month before he passed away.

 

He boasted to several people about his life story. The intake counselor at the hospice he went to was astounded he had a book, saying that many people came to this point in their lives wishing they’d written a book. She said she’d never known anybody who had.

 

I was so pleased to have been part of that process, to give my dad a book he was proud to hold in his hand. A book he was proud to have his name on.

 

Which got me to thinking about my other books. Would my Heavenly Father be proud to hold my other books in His hand? Would He be proud to have His Name on those books?

 

That changed the way I looked at my books. Because I realized they weren’t mine at all. He is the author. I simply transcribe the stories for Him.

 

And as such, it’s my job to be as accurate as I can. To show up for work every day. To do the best I can to listen and not inject myself into the story.

 

God’s job is to create the stories. To communicate them to me. To correct me when I get off track.

 

I like the partnership I have with Him. It takes a lot of pressure off me. When I’m staring at the blank page, I simply pray, “Lord, thank You for letting me be the first person you’ve ever shown this story to. Help me hear You correctly and do the work of transcribing.”

 

Knowing what I need to do and what I don’t need to do makes the job a lot easier which means I’m having a lot more fun. I’m working on the next book in my dad’s memoirs, and although he’s with Jesus now, I hope he’d be just as proud to hold this book in his hand as he was with the first one.

 

And I pray God would be proud to have His name on every book I’ve written.

 

Leeann Betts writes contemporary suspense, while her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, pens historical suspense. No Accounting for Murder and There Was a Crooked Man, books 1 and 2 in her By the Numbers series, released in the fall of 2015 Book 3, Unbalanced, released in January. Book 4, Five and Twenty Blackbirds, is due in April, with more planned for later dates. If you like accountants or are an accountant, check out Counting the Days: a 21-day devotional for accountants, bookkeepers, and financial folk.
Leeann and Donna have penned a book on writing, Nuggets of Writing Gold, and Donna has published a book of short stories, Second Chances and Second Cups. You can follow Leeann at www.AllBettsAreOff.wordpress.com and Donna at www.HiStoryThruTheAges.wordpress.com . All books are available at Amazon.com in digital and print, and at Smashwords.com in digital.
 
 
 
 
Thank you, Leeann. I love the thought of God letting us see the words first. We pen His Words. Great thought.
 
I recently received my copy of Nuggets of Writing Gold and am anxious to read it. Watch later for my review. It looks like just what I need.
 
Any questions or comments for Leeann Betts/Donna Schlachter?
 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Renee Blare Asks What Matters?

Let me offer a hearty welcome to Christian author, Renee Blare. She ponders "what matters" for our Writing with God's Hope blog today.

Have you ever wondered if people care? If anything really matters?
You could shout from the rooftops or scream at the top of your lungs, but in the end, would it make a difference? Maybe you should whisper? It’d probably save the sore throat.
After all, nobody really cares, nothing really matters. Right?
            Wrong. God cares. You matter.

I remember the moment I was saved.
No, not the day I heard of Jesus Christ. I’d heard His name my whole life. That name really didn’t mean much to me. It was just another name in a book. True, it was a very special book…but alas, it was merely paper and ink to me.
Now that I’ve made some ears burn and caused a few deep gasps of horror, stay with me.

As I said, I’d heard the name of Jesus, my whole life. What do I mean by that? Before I could walk, I played to songs of His name in the church nursery. I cut my teeth on the Holy Bible…literally. In addition to gum relief, I discovered certain rules came with it. Such things as when to use it, when not to, and most important of all, how to use it. And I learned well.

In other words, I could “talk the talk.” I even managed to improvise on a few occasions and “walk the talk”, so to speak. Right down the aisle into the baptistery. After all, that’s what a good “Christian” does, right?

Then came adolescence. Acne, glasses, braces…all in one year! The world hit with a bang. We’d moved to a brand new one too. World, that is. From the bayou of Louisiana to the high plains of Wyoming, culture shock rocked me to my very toes.
           On the outside, I remained the model “Christian.” I went to church every Sunday, and youth group on Wednesday. I even managed a camp or two. But God remained a complete stranger and it showed I used the language more conducive of a long-haul trucker or oilrig hand. I actually made a verbal agreement with my high school principal. “Keep it clean in the halls. Free reign at the games.” No, I’m not joking.

After the strain of adolescence snowballed into high school, (appropriate connotation for Wyoming, wouldn’t you say?) life took on new challenges. Migraines, my father’s business issues, and family health crises made days in my household interesting, if not dangerous. A lot for a teenager to handle, but unavoidable. But I made it..
I graduated and threw myself into church with a passion. Choir, Sunday Worship, Wednesday Night Bible Study, Singles’ Group, all to no end. I was still confused and miserable. What was I missing? What was the point to all this anyway?

Then it happened.

One cold Thursday night at Singles’ Group, we were studying Galatians. Afterwards, we began to pray, and it was like something or Someone slammed a two-by-four into the side of my head. All of a sudden, the years of Sunday School, all the children songs, hymns, sermons—everything I’d heard for the last eighteen years—made sense.

I asked Jesus into my heart that night. I knew Him at last. I realized He’d always been at my side, waiting…knocking. And that night, I let Him in.

I was…finally…a Christian, and my life changed. Instantly. It has never been the same.

 

If you’re asking yourself if God cares? He’s standing by your side right now. Waiting.

Ask Him into your heart and find out. You’ll always matter to Him.

 

Gal 2:20 (NKJV)  “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

 Oh, thank you, Renee. That was beautiful. I think many of us Christians will be able to identify with at least some of your story. Until we find Christ, religion isn't enough.
 
I love your humor, Renee. Tell us about your book:

To Soar on Eagle’s Wings


Spring’s in the air. While the sun shines in Timber Springs, snow falls on the Snowy Range, and trouble’s brewing in the meadows. The area’s new game warden, Steve Mitchell launches his first wildlife investigation of the season but the trouble follows him—straight to town.

Rachel Fitzgerald’s on Spring Break. Or at least she’s trying. Between paperwork, and harassing phone calls, she may as well have stayed in her classroom. So much for relaxation. A ‘chance’ meeting with her brother’s old roommate offers her weary soul a shred of hope, but she discovers love, like life, isn’t easy.

He talks with the wisdom of the Lord but rejects the future. She wants to soar with the eagles but walks alone. And trusting God proves to be more of a challenge than ever before…

 

 


Raised in Louisiana and Wyoming, Renee started writing poetry in junior high school and that, as they say, was that. After having her son, a desire to attend pharmacy school sent her small family to the University of Wyoming in Laramie, and she's been counting pills ever since. While writing's her first love, well, after the Lord and husband, she also likes to fish and hunt as well as pick away on her classical guitar.
Nestled against the Black Hills with her husband, crazy old dog and ornery cat, she serves the community of northeastern Wyoming as a pharmacist and pens her Christian stories, keeping them interesting with action and intrigue, of course. She loves to interact with readers and invites you check out her website, blog, and social media.
·         contact@reneeblare.com

·         Website: www.reneeblare.com



·         Group Blog: Putting on the New: http://puttingonthenew.com/

·         Group Blog: HeartWings: http://www.heartwingsblog.com/










 
I am honored by your visit today, Renee, and I thank you. Does anyone have questions or comments to make?

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.

Alone
 
 
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.