Saturday, August 4, 2012

Guest Devotion by Amanda Stephan

This morning I welcome a guest on my blog. Amanda Stephan, a multi-published Christian fiction writer. Since she's known also for her devotions, she's agreed to share one with us.


Regrets By Amanda Stephan


The Free Dictionary.com defines regret as:
v.tr.
1. To feel sorry, disappointed, or distressed about.
2. To remember with a feeling of loss or sorrow; mourn.
v.intr.
To feel regret.
n.
1. A sense of loss and longing for someone or something gone.
2. A feeling of disappointment or distress about something that one wishes could be different.



Each one of us deals with some sort of regret about something in our lives. Perhaps it's a mistake we made when we were younger. We can wish all day long that particular incident was different; that you'd made a different choice. Yet all the wishing in the world will not take it away. Neither will self-condemnation.

I've got quite a few regrets under my belt. There are times I'm a little embarrassed to tell someone from my past that I'm a Christian romance author. Why? Because of some infraction I've committed that they'll remember. Oh goodness, just ask my mother-in-law. Scary, I'm telling you!

In fact, I've found that the longer I live, the more regrets I rack up. Not because I'm necessarily stupid, but because...well...I'm human. And we all know what that means. Human = mistakes!

But, let's reflect for a moment. Can worrying about something in our past erase it from our history? Absolutely not. You can pretend it never happened, but all the pretending in the world won't take it away. It's still there. The only options I see? Ask for forgiveness and move on. Get up. Admit you're wrong, brush yourself off, and keep going. This may seem a little simple, but really it's not. We humans have a tendency to remember every mistake (whether it's our own or someone else's) and that is what keeps us down. It impairs our ability to move forward.

I've got a news flash for you.
You're going to make mistakes. In fact, some of your friends are going to make mistakes. They're going to let you down. Someone is *going* to hurt your feelings ~ whether intentional or not ~ it's going to happen.

My advice? Consult your Bible. Read it. Pray over the situation. And if you have a problem with regretting things, ask God to help you get over it. Why?

So you can move forward.

Do you see this picture?

I'm sorry - Amanda- tech-challenged woman, here - Amanda had a picture of a rear view mirror with dice hanging on them. I tried to get it on my blog, but errors prevented it. Readers, try to visualize here your car's rear view mirror.

This is a rearview mirror.
And rearview mirrors have one job.

To show what's behind you.

And we need to be looking ahead.
Not the past.

So next time you're tempted to concentrate on the past, remember the rearview mirror. Its only job is to give you a *small* glimpse of what's already behind. Why is this important?

James 4:14
King James Version (KJV)
14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.




Next time you feel someone has done you wrong, don't waste time on holding grudges and heaping up regrets while you stew about it, let it go. Pray about it.

Because we're only here for a little while.

Only one life will soon be past
Only what's done for Christ will last.

Amanda, tell us about your recent release:



The Price of Trust blurb:
Beaten and betrayed by the one who was supposed to love her, Carly Richards is on the run! ~ Christian romantic suspense





Amanda Stephan is a multi-published Christian romance author who loves sharing God's love with others. A homeschooling mother and stay at home wife, she finds pleasure in many things from sewing, to baseball and karate, to writing. She is currently working on a three book Christian romantic suspense series and resides in Columbia, TN, with her real-life hero husband of 18 years and two children.

You can find Amanda at her website - http://www.BooksByAmanda.com
Her collaborative blog - http://www.thepriceoftrust.com
Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/amandastephan and
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/creativehomemomma



Thank you, Amanda. I, for one will remember that rearview mirror in my car when I start entertaining regrets. Thanks for visiting with us today.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Attitude is Everything - A repost

I get "Today's Thought" through e-mail every day from Hazelden Publications. I buy their books to help me control my compulsive overeating problem. A sweet handicapped friend reminded me this week that for her, everything she does is a challenge. I wanted to repost this "today's thought" because it bears repeating.


Just because you have a . . . handicap . . . doesn't mean that you can't be happy; it just means that it takes a lot of work to figure out how to do that.
--Jodie Foster

One day a blind woman prepared to cross a street. But as she did, her cane made contact with a car parked in the crosswalk. "Who owns this car?" she demanded in a loud voice. "This car is in my way. Can't anyone notice I am blind?" A man tapped her on the arm. "I am blind, too," he told her. "but my dog and I would be happy to take you across the street."

The woman drew her arm back from his touch. "This is not right," she snapped. "Yes it is wrong," agreed the blind man. "But my dog and I would be happy to take you across the street."

Having a visible handicap, or an invisible one such as an addiction, can be stressful. You have to work extra hard doing things most people take for granted. Yet rather than bemoan the difficulties and challenges you face, you can be thankful for those who offer help by providing a guiding arm, holding a door open, or offering a seat in a crowded meeting.

Today I will accept the assistance of those who reach out to me.

I say "thanks" to Hazelden for another reminder. It made me think. I pray it does for my readers, too.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

My Top 10 Blessings from Letting God Control My Food

10. Pride in success or achievement
9. Look better in my clothes
8. Have more energy
7. Helps with leg or back pain
6. Learn to like new foods that God has provided
5. Lowers blood pressure
4. Can board any ride at fair or Six Flags without worry
3. Able to hike up mountains
2. More self esteem
And my all time favorite blessing
1. Never again be embarrassed because I can’t sit in a tight-fitting restaurant booth.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Setting Priorities Again

At least twice a year, my life bogs down with stuff. To keep my mind and my time focused on the truly important and less on the trivial, I pull out paper and pen and redo a list of priorites.

Some goals remain the same:
The first thing on my list is daily quiet time with God. This doesn't change, yet it becomes increasingly difficult. I prefer time in the morning before the day's cares disturb me, but sometimes the morning holds an early Bible study, or writers meeting or getting off super early for a trip to see family.
Personally, I believe God talks to me while I drive in the car. He must. Sometimes, it's all the time I can find, but I do feel His presence.

My second goal is always my family; my husband first. God sends me little signals like when Charles sits down before my computer and starts talking. Especially, when I'm in the middle of a good part of my story, my first reaction is irritation. "Priority list," I scream to myself. I turn, take a deep breath, and look at my handsome husband and focus on his needs. I'm not saying this is easy. I'm not saying I always do this. I'm just saying (as my granddaughter says). My three daughters and their families and my mother-in-law live within a one day traveling distance so trips factor a lot into my plans.

After those two things, other to-dos fill my mind. Right now, with trying to market my first novel and continue to write another while editing something else, ideas pop across my brain faster than the sportcar that passed us yesterday when Charles was driving seventy on a Dallas freeway.

Things like guest blogs, booksignings, answering e-mails, tweeting & friending everyone I know. Something like critiquing friends' chapters, editing mine and sending them for critique, and stewing over a scene that isn't working. I won't even go into paying bills, reconciling three bank accounts, washing, cleaning, friends, exercise....

Often, things on my list never get done, but the line-up of what comes first keeps me on target. If something remains unfinished, it won't be the most important things.

How do you handle a busy schedule? I'd like to hear from you.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Roughing-It For Wimps

A few years ago, my husband and I bought a travel trailer and began our adventure. I'm a city girl so it was understood that I had certain requirements for my style of camping.
Electricity - check
Water and sewer - check
Clean, workable trailer - check
Air conditioning - check
Free internet - check
Cable TV - check
Good cell phone service - check

Was that too much to ask? Did I mention I was a wimp?

Last week, I had completed the last read-through (I thought) on my story, Victoria and the Ghost, and sent it off to be formatted into book form. I did this despite losing all my e-mail folders, addresses, and inbox due to virrus. I needed a break, and so did Charles.

We left early Tuesday for Lake Murray State Park, Oklahoma and planned to return Friday glad the June temperatures were staying mild. Just a few days of R and R before we hit it again. Charles sprung it on me that we didn't have cable TV or internet. Not to worry, the lodge had internet, so I could check in once a day. I could handle that.

Did I mention I was a wimp?

Later Tuesday, I got on internet at Ardmore, Oklahoma library as we drove through and stopped for lunch. My book had been returned to me for another read-through.

Did I mention I was also a newbie to publishing?

This is the first book I've sold and published. Periodicals don't require all these read-throughs for short stories. I was learning through experience. Knowing I didn't have internet in my trailer, I asked and was able to print my book out there. I was in business. I could read the hard copy while sitting on my trailer "patio." I can do this.

Wednesday, we drove to the lodge, spent an hour trying to get on internet without success. We then drove the 20 miles back to an Ardmore McDonalds. I logged in. The publisher's editor-in-chief, the art director, another editor and the publisher herself were sacrificing important things to get my book completed and out in July. I, on the other hand, had been out of touch and on vacation. I needed a swift rapping across my knucles, or at least, time-out in the corner with a dunce hat.

Did I mention I was in trouble?

Before I could answer, power depleted to my laptop. I headed back to the library. We returned to our trailer and then to lodge for dinner. One hundred and fifty middle school band students invaded the lodge. Forget dinner. Forget a place to sit in the lobby. We found a place nearby that only cost an arm and one leg to eat there, but it helped. We made a decision to drive the two hours home to Wichita Falls.

Wednesday night I stayed awake and read my story. I'm a slow reader, so I finished it about one Thursday afternoon. I e-mailed it back to the publisher with changes. We drove the two hours to our trailer. We sat outside until nearly dark and went in. Surely, something was on our TV. Yeah, it was Friends reruns. I didn't care for the show when it aired the first time.

Did I mention I'm a wimp at this roughing-it stuff?

I received a call that my aunt died. The funeral would be two and a half hours farther east than where we were, so we extended our stay two more days to be closer for the funeral. It just made sense.

Thursday, I tried the lodge internet again with no luck.

Friday, we headed to Ardmore. Thank you, dear library for allowing me to use your internet. I seemed to be constantly spending time logging into a strange computer. One of them would delete my return messages before I could send. I typed one message three times.

Another thing: I'm rather tech-challenged.

As much as we searched for internet, we also drove around several times a day looking for BARS.

I'll leave you thinking about that a moment.

Friday night, we went to register for the Sunset cruise. We wanted something fun out of that trip with all the time and expense. That night's cruise was cancelled. They could take us Saturday night. We can do that. We can make it back. Or die trying.

By this time, my husband aimed for doing something, anything to make me happy. Any husbands identify?

We flopped from exhaustion Friday night at ten o'clock after two nights of little or no sleep. Unfortunately our spot blocked the entrance to the campground.

Did you realize everyone heads to a lake with their RVs between ten and eleven on Friday night?

Yep, that's the truth.

Saturday morning we left early and drove to the funeral. We drove out of the way to my daughter's house to take our grandson's birthday present. He turned ten Sunday. Guess what? I checked her computer while I was there.

We had lunch with the family. Nice time, but sad. She was my daddy's baby sister. I had good memories of her and hadn't seen her since last summer. We left the lunch as soon as possible since we had a drive back to Lake Murray and a sunset cruise. We WERE going to have fun. Of course, we had to make a quick (NOT) stop at a Starbucks to check e-mail in case I was in trouble again.

The hour and fifteen minute cruise was nice but we came in twenty-five minutes early. No explanation. No refund.

Now, my husband is mad.

Charles manages property and the air conditioning went out on one on Saturday evening, of course. He's scrambling to find someone to fix it that evening or Sunday. Between that and fighting anger about the cruise, he couldn't sleep, so I didn't either since I was reliving all the things I said or did wrong while with family I rarely see.

Did I mention our propane ran out and our air conditioning quit during the night?

Charles and I were glad to get off vacation yesterday. It about killed us. Not for sure when I plan on camping again.

Oh, and the bars we chased?

Cell phone coverage. That's all I'm going to say about that.