Saturday, April 26, 2014

A Decision to Lose Weight

Make a decision to let God be God.

God wants to guide our steps. He wants to comfort us and give us peace. He longs to hold us in His arms and take the load off our shoulders.


But sometimes, we won’t allow Him to.


O, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

Lucy Park in Wichita Falls, TX.

     "Success can be as simple as making a decision. Ask God to take over your eating, decide on purchasing and planning healthy choices, then leave your food in His hands. Many things we do for God we do out of habit.

     With any addiction or compulsion, there is an element of habit involved. We turn to the same foods, the same friends, the same haunts that have tripped us before and made us fall.
                                                                 from Divine Dining, April 21 devotion

God gave human beings free will, and He will not cross that barrier. Everything that God does for us including salvation comes first with a decision. On down in the devotion from Divine Dining above, I tell about realizing that I needed quiet time but wasn't able to work it into my busy schedule. At that time, I went to work early and worked long days. When I got home, I was hungry and tired but needed to get dinner on the table. When the day's chores were done, and I sat in my chair, I soon fell asleep.

One day, I made a decision to use my alarm clock and have quiet time before breakfast. At first, I had a hard time forcing myself to get out of bed, but I had made a decision. I stuck to it until it became habit.
Even an elephant-sized problem is solved with a decision.

Fort Worth, TX. zoo

The rough part is our strong will power.

Our desire for our own will makes it hard for us to submit to God's will.

A man's mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure.
                                                                         Proverbs 16:9 Amplified

1.     We make decision

2.     God shows us the strategy to fulfill the decision

3.     When we flounder, we reinforce our decision to God.

4.     God provides the strength to make it.

Do you need to make a decision to trust God for weight loss?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Traveling Texas

I live in Texas, a big state with various terrains. Experts break it into seven distinct regions. Each builds on advantages. Each gives challenges. Each has beauty. I got this map from a site online which points out the boundaries.
How many of you have traveled all 7 areas?

I have, and I've lived in two.

I was born and raised in and around Dallas. Dallas and Fort Worth are both located in the Prairies and Lakes region. Down through the center of Texas cuts  a swath of rolling green land with sparkling lakes, and pastoral scenes.

Along with my husband and three daughters, I moved years ago northwest to Wichita Falls. We loved the kind people and business friendly community, so we stayed. As you can tell on the map, I live in the eastern and northern edge of the Panhandle Plains. We're lower in elevation than cities Lubbock and Amarillo on the high plains, but our land is flat, dry, with gorgeous sunsets.

A popular vacation spot is the Texas' hill country including Austin and points west until you drop to the desert.

This month, my husband and I took our travel trailer to between Johnson City (home of LBJ) and Blanco in the hill country. Miller's Creek makes a delightful camping spot. Five miles away the Blanco River winds through the country and gives lovely waterfalls. The Guadalupe River invites summer-time water rafting less than an hour away..

This region gives us magnificent hills, drop-off cliffs, huge oaks, peaches, wine country, and the ever favorite spring wildflowers. I couldn't resist stopping several times for shots of bluebonnets (the Texas flower) and Indian paintbrushes.

My middle daughter's favorite vacation spot is the Gulf Coast shown on the map above in blue all along the curve of the state and also including a long Padre Island. Who doesn't like the beach in the summer? Cities include Houston, Galveston, and Beaumont-Port Arthur.

A trip to Jefferson, Texas gives a history lesson, a ghost tour, and gorgeous homes deep in the Piney Woods of east Texas. Named for its many huge pine trees, the traveler also finds cypress trees, dogwood, and azaleas with lakes and streams plentiful. Texarkana tops off this area, but most towns are picturesque, smaller, and nestled in woods.

Texas begins with our Panhandle plains where I live and ends with the southern plains west of the gulf coast. The biggest city in the area is San Antonio. Wide-open land gives rise to big ranches and areas that stays warm even in the winter. Snowbirds (campers who travel south to escape the snow) love the South Texas plain climate and openness. Their favorite stop is McAllen, Texas near the Mexican border.

One last region remains; the Big Bend Country, Texas' version of desert with colorful rocks, unusual plants, summits or rugged drop-off grandeur. The biggest city is El Paso with the second largest being Midland. In the bottom half called Big Bend, population is sparse, cities few, but the beauty spectacular.

Since our recent trip across Texas, my pride swells once again, and I desire to share on my blog.

Sunday is Easter. My gratitude to God expands with travel. The sacrifice of God's son, Jesus, for my sin gives me freedom to love, to enjoy earth's beauty, and to look forward to eternal life in a place a hundred times more beautiful than my home state.


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Connie Almony and Her Character Interview

Today, I've invited Connie Almony and her new friend, Carly Rose, to visit with us here on the Writing with God's Hope blog.  First let me introduce Carly.

Who is Carly Rose?

I'm glad you asked.

Carly Rose stars in her own novella, At the Edge of a Dark Forest, a modern-day retelling of Beauty and the Beast.
Janet: How exciting for you. Tell us something about yourself.
My name is Carly Rose. I develop prosthetics to help people who’ve lost limbs. I work mostly with veterans. Though I grew up in the business, helping my father who started Rose Prosthetics, I wanted to learn all aspects of the field so received training as a physical therapist as well. Right now, my dad and I are trying to start a new company, since my brothers ruined the one he’d originally created.

Janet: What is the quirkiest thing you’ve ever done?

I don’t know if you’d call it quirky or downright crazy, but I moved in with a very bitter disabled Iraq-war vet, Cole Harrison, to help him rehab with my prototype prosthetics. I was hoping to get him to invest in a new company and redeem the Rose family name. Only I didn’t realize the guy would be such a … oh well … Let’s just say he’s not all together pleasant (cough) a-beast. Ahem. Excuse me, I had something in my throat.

 What are three things we might not guess about you?

1)      My favorite part of my work is wielding a blow-torch. Yes, a blow-torch! We use them to heat molds for prosthetic sockets during the fitting process. I don’t know why I love that part so much. I guess it just makes me feel a little dangerous.

2)      I’m not real good filtering what I say, especially if I’ve been insulted. I tend to lash out. Dad says I got my temper from my mom. She’d been a little fiery when she was alive. Dad always smiles and winks when he tells me that.

3)      I’m not afraid of much, but I’m deathly afraid of horses, especially Cole’s horse, Lightning. No reason. No childhood trauma involving the big brutish creatures. I think it’s just because they are big, and I am not. Oh yeah, and they don’t talk so you can’t reason with them about not stepping on you, kicking you, or galloping off with you at top speed. And they’re big. Did I mention that yet?

Oh, I so understand that part. Victoria Peterson who starred in her own YA novel, "Victoria and the Ghost" was afraid of those big animals, too  How was it that your life got complicated?

Things had been going slowly down hill since my brothers took over my dad’s prosthetics company, but it really hit the fan when a disabled vet fell down some stairs while using a prosthetic leg created by the Rose company that had a seriously defective screw. Between the lawsuits against the company and the recalls that followed, my father’s mood had become very dark. It was his dream to help amputees since his brother killed himself years ago, but his own sons have destroyed that dream.

Still, my life changed dramatically when I moved into Cole’s manor. Our arrangement gave my father hope, so I didn’t have to worry about him so much. But now I traded that concern for the man I live with—a man who wrestles many demons, though I’ve been increasingly aware, has a softer, generous side. If only he didn’t feel such a great need to shield it from vulnerability.

I'll bet you despise that Cole, or at least your brothers.

Oh, I can’t say I actually despise anyone, though I’m really angry at those wretched, selfish, beasts of brothers I have—Ahem—I mean, I’m not too happy with my siblings. Sometimes I’d like to wring their scrawny necks and throw mud on their former-model wives’ sequined gowns … but I couldn’t say I really despise them. I know, since God has forgiven me my sins, I need to forgive them theirs … someday … I hope.

I'd like to see you throwing mud at sequined gowns, but forgiveness is a must when God forgave us, isn't it? What stands in the way of your current life goal?

I guess that would be my family’s reputation for creating inferior products that can injure rather than help. That’s why I started developing prosthetics on my own. However, I need to find a way to distinguish my work from theirs, but no one will invest in my new designs. Except, maybe Cole. I don’t know why, because he’s made it painfully clear he wanted nothing to do with prosthetics again. But for some reason, he’s trying mine.

In three words, describe yourself.

Tenacious, hard-working and plain.


Yeah, well, next to my brothers’ former-model wives, I think most people would call me plain.

Does Cole find you plain?

Yes, I believe he does. He often mocks me by calling me Beauty. Only sometimes I wonder … well … never mind. Yes, he thinks I’m plain.

Do you trust yourself in your work or do you rely on the wisdom of others, feeling they may know more than you do?

I know the business of prosthetics inside and out. I’ve been trained in all aspects of the job from fitting patients to the right product, to rehabbing them. My father taught me to do everything as if for God, so I take my work seriously.

However, that doesn’t mean I don’t remain open to suggestion. I’ve been very fortunate to have Cole’s horse trainer, Joe Sakamoto, give me advice about how to deal with the ornery owner of the manor. And Sam, the horse trainer’s son, has taught me the benefits of therapy with horses (hippotherapy)—even if they do scare the daylights out of me. We now use this therapy to help Cole heal both physically and from the psychological trauma of PTSD.

That sounds interesting.

Yes, it really is. But don’t tell Sam or Joe I said that. I’d get a tag-team attack of I-told-you-so from the two of them.

Thank you, Carly, for joining us today. I hope Cole decides to invest in your new company.
Now, I turn to Connie Almony. I want to learn more about her since she is the creator of Carly Rose.

Connie Almony is trained as a mental health therapist and likes to mix a little fun with the serious stuff of life. She was a 2012 semi-finalist in the Genesis Contest for Women’s Fiction and was awarded an Honorable Mention in the Winter 2012 WOW Flash Fiction Contest. Her newest release, At the Edge of a Dark Forest, is a modern-day re-telling of Beauty and the Beast about a war-vet, amputee struggling with PTSD.

You can find Connie on the web, writing book reviews for Jesus Freak Hideout, and hosting the following blogs: and

You can also meet her on the following social media outlets:

Back Cover

Cole Harrison, a war veteran, wears his disfigurement like a barrier to those who might love him, shielding them from the ugliness inside. He agrees to try and potentially invest in, a prototype prosthetic with the goal of saving a hopeless man’s dreams.

Carly Rose contracts to live with Cole and train him to use his new limbs, only to discover the darkness that wars against the man he could become.

At the Edge of a Dark Forest is a modern-day retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Only it is not her love that will make him whole.
I love the sound of that last sentence. Congratulations, Connie on the release of At the Edge of a Dark Forest. I look forward to reading it.  The way you've intertwined your career and Carly's problems must make for an interesting read. Thanks for visiting with us today so we can get acquainted.

Saturday, April 5, 2014


How long has it been since you cleared out a closet or reorganized your kitchen? Yesterday, I plunged into cleaning and reorganizing my kitchen. That grimy oven is still calling my name, but I haven't got the energy to start it yet. Now, is when I long for a self-cleaning one.

One step at a time.

At the first pantry shelf, I pull everything out and place it on the counter. I peruse and inventory each item. 

Basil leaves - date 2008 - throw out
Corn starch, haven't used that in a while. It smells okay. - keep
Extra box of tea bags. Ooh, I didn't know I had that. - need to put in front and use soon
Two sacks of sugar How did that happen? - pour one into almost empty canister, and put the other in front where I'll remember it.
Result of this hard work is a kitchen that looks nice, serves me better, and saves me time and money.
A weight loss journey requires an inventory from time to time. Clutter builds up. We lose focus.
1. Review the food on hand and maybe your utensils.
A friend suggested this as a method to cook without much oil.
Snicker bars - no one but me is eating them - throw out
Light soup - I forgot about that - pull to front and eat today
Refrigerator holds only milk, leftover McDonalds, and pickles. -
       Make a list and go on grocery-buying trip for fresh produce,  yogurt, or lean protein.
2. Think over your exercise habits.
Sit all day at work - must start walking on lunch hour
Favorite pastime is TV - purchase a mini-trampoline to do while you watch or do exercises to the tempo of music at the beginning of Hawaii-Five-O or CSI
3. Make sure you're balancing your food intake for healthy living.
    Most important is water. Your body is 90% water. I like that water is cooling and filling.
    Next in importance for good health is lean protein. Protein provides the building blocks for muscles, blood, skin, hair, nails, and internal organs. I like that protein keeps my blood sugar more stable, so I don't feel weak and fainty.
    Healthy fats They give energy and help digest fat-soluble vitamins. What I like best is it keeps me less hungry.
    Vegetables and Fruits - Fiber-filling, energy, needed vitamins and minerals. For me, fruits make the foundation for super desserts or snacks. I'm not much of a veggie eater, but I like them because they keep down the hunger and cravings.
    Dairy also provides vitamins and minerals. It's best known for building bones. I like it because I lose weight better when I dine on dairy 2-3 times a day.
I like a book, Nutrition Almanac that lists everything about nutrition and digestion you ever wanted to know.
4. Consider a support group.
         Inventory options in your area or online.
Don't forget new spices to add flavor to your food

I read in Food for the Hungry Heart by Cynthia Rowland McClure this quote. One definition of support is to provide a person with the means of sustaining life. I love that. When we falter, a friend lifts us up. When they fail, we encourage them. That way we both sustain a healthy life physically, mentally, and spiritually.  
5. And most important:
       How's your relationship with the Lord?
Quiet time - neglected or routine?
Who rules? You, your husband, your friends, or God?
My husband used to manage retail stores. Once or twice a year, he took an inventory. Without it, the store would dwindle into chaos overrun by unsalable merchandise, or empty with nothing to sell.
When we inventory our lives, our weight loss journey, our walk with God, we unclutter the trip. The scales respond. Our energy returns. Our mind clears.
Does your weight loss journey need an inventory?

Saturday, March 29, 2014


A few years ago, Garth Brooks sung a song, "I hope you dance." I love that song. Dancing signifies enjoying life, taking time to smell the flowers, and singing in the rain.

There, is that enough clichés for you writers trying to avoid them.  As psychologist, writer, teacher Margie Lawson warns her students, "Cliché Alert."

Still, I'd like to remind my followers to dance.

Line dancing with friends

Young people assume they're invincible. I hate the term elderly, and yet, advancing age does teach us to live life one day at a time, to enjoy every phase even if it's getting old.
This week again has reminded me of that. My husband and I went to visit his mother in West Tawakoni, Texas and took her to eat in Greenville. My husband got sick at his stomach. His illness progressed and by Wednesday landed him in the hospital. I stayed with him most of the time. We waited and watched for each new doctor to give us the latest report. Even in that situation, I found opportunities to thank God and enjoy some laughs with my beloved. Metaphorically, I danced and sang praises to the Great Physician and Comforter.

I enjoy family and special events with them.

Granny's 90th birthday with 3 daughters & 1 grandson 

I love flowers.

I like football especially when we win. P.S. I like baseball, too.


Grandson who plays for Leonard Tigers.

I like God's sense of humor. Have you looked at the animals lately? We took our youngest grandson to the zoo on spring break this year.

Fort Worth zoo

Today, after worrying all week over my husband, my heart is filled with gratitude.
Today, I want to say thank you to all who follow my blog.
Today, I want to thank God that I can put my thoughts on paper, or online.
For all of you, I hope
that you stop and smell the wildflowers and notice the different colors and textures
that you sing in the storm, on the merry-go-round, and in the hospital
And, that you dance and laugh wherever your feet start tapping.
Margie, how's that for changing up clichés?
And now, the winner of last week's contest for a copy of my book, Divine Dining.
The winner is Jean Ann Williams.
Thanks to all who left a comment. I hope your daughter enjoys the book, Jean Ann.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

You Might Be a Christian if ...

I love meeting new friends. What a special treat when they are Christians. Now, how could I tell that? Do they tell me, "I've been saved by Christ." No, that's not necessary. Then, what's the test?

By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
                     John 13:35

Recently, I was asked to speak to the Healthy Living class at First Baptist of Dallas, Texas. What a humbling experience that these people would ask me to give my testimony based on reading my book, Divine Dining. A week before the date, a Sunday school teacher called to invite me to also teach her class on discipline in general while I was visiting their church.

the door where I entered

I arrived at the big, downtown church wondering what I would encounter, but the phone calls from three different ladies encouraged me that they were warm, caring people.

They had directed me to a door where there was a fountain. One lady told me, "You won't miss it. The fountain is huge." And, she was right. Many people take photos here. I borrowed this one, since I forgot to snap one of my own while I was there. Scripture verses surround the base. Pictures of this fountain flash on the screen in the worship service while the choir and orchestra lead the congregation in song.

Two ladies waited inside the door with smiles and handshakes for my husband and me. We followed them through halls, up an elevator, and into a magnificent auditorium. Many people greeted us, some ushers, many just those coming to church like us. We took a seat near the middle where more and more greeted us and made us welcome.

A full orchestra played a majestic melody. The choir on a floor rising above the instruments began to sing. To the sides, flashed videos of the fountain and scenes around the church.

This picture was taken in our church's lobby at Christmas, 2013
Somewhere about that time, I realized Jesus was right there with me, letting me know these were Christians, just like the wonderful congregation I left behind at Heritage Church, Wichita Falls, Texas.

Pastor Ron Jeffers preached a thought-provoking sermon reminding me of the messages I get from our pastor, Ron Barnard.

Jeff Foxworthy has made a fortune by stating that "You might be a redneck if ... "

I propose that "You might be a Christian if ...
   the Spirit of Christ shines in your smile
   the beauty of Christ lights up your eyes
   the kindness of Christ shows in your actions
   the truth of Christ's witness is revealed in your words
This was 7 of the ladies that organized and made that event possible for me. I saw Christ in their devotion and kindness. Thank you, ladies.

These four things were evident in the ladies of the Billman Sunday School class and the Healthy Living class and many other at First Baptist, Dallas, on March 9, 2014. That same Spirit hovers in Heritage Church's lobby, and pews, and platform every Sunday. I pray that I would be charged with acting like Christ.

Do new people see Christ in you?

Time to check out ourselves.

Meanwhile, thank you ladies at First Baptist, Dallas, for exemplifying Christ to a scared visitor.


In honor of these sweet ladies, I'm offering a giveaway of my book Divine Dining: 365 Devotions to Guide You to Healthier Weight and Abundant Wellness. All you need to do to enter the drawing is leave a comment below giving me your e-mail, so I can contact you if you're the winner. If you have trouble getting past my privacy code to leave a comment, send your comment to the e-mail:  I will post it for you with your name and you'll still have a chance to win. Good luck. I'll draw on Friday evening, March 28.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

An Inspirational Interview with Christine Lindsay

How exciting! I have the privilege of having another multi-published author to interview today. Welcome to Writing with God's Hope blog, Christine Lindsay.  I find her story fascinating and inspiring. I believe others will, also.
Christine, tell us something about your writing journey.

My journey began shortly after I was reunited with my birth-daughter--the child I relinquished to adoption when she was 3 days old. Sarah and I were reunited 20 years later. This was wonderful, seeing my heart's desire at long last. However, seeing Sarah again renewed my original loss of her and sent me into an emotional tailspin for a few years. One day when I was crying over Sarah, my husband gave me a brand new pen and journal, and said, "Here, honey, write it." That was the start. God turned that journalling into a writing ministry where I use fiction to help others know how much the Lord loves them. A fuller story is on my blog  And I've attached a photo of my first two books that have as the cover models, my two daughters, Sarah and Lana.
What motivation! Do you write in more than one genre?
My first love is Inspirational Historical novels. My series Twilight of the British Raj has its first 2 books out. SHADOWED IN SILK has won several awards, Book 2 is CAPTURED BY MOONLIGHT, and  I am currently writing Book 3 VEILED AT MIDNIGHT. But this past February I wrote my first contemporary romance. Pelican Book Group was looking for stories in international settings for their Passport to Romance line. One of those cities was Londonderry which is not far from where I was born in N. Ireland. I simply had to write that book, which is called LONDONDERRY DREAMING.

Well, of course, you did. Tell us something more about Londonderry Dreaming.

Acclaimed New York artist, Naomi Boyd, and music therapist, Keith Wilson, loved one another five years ago, until her grandfather with his influence over Naomi separated them.
That root of bitterness keeps them apart until a letter from Keith’s grandmother, Ruth, draws Naomi to Londonderry to find she’s too late. Ruth has passed on. After the death of his beloved grandmother, Keith has also come to Londonderry only to open the door to his past…Naomi...beautiful as ever, the girl who broke his heart.
A mysterious painting in Ruth’s attic brings up questions about their grandparents’ entwined past and their own broken romance. But more comfortable with the unspoken languages of art and music, Naomi and Keith find it difficult to share their old hurts and true feelings.
Will the majestic coastline of Northern Ireland inspire them to speak the words to bring peace to their grandparents’ memory and to rekindle love?


Love the trailer. Great authentic scenes.
Christine, I'm a Texan, born and bred on the flat plains of North Texas. Canada fascinates me. Tell us what your part of Canada looks like.
I live in a truly beautiful part of the world. Best state I can compare British Columbia to is Colorado. I live in a valley surrounded by mountains. Within 6 hours drive from here, we are in the Canadian Rockies, which are stupendous. I've attached a photo of a mountain lake near where I live. 

That is beautiful. Thanks for the picture. We love to go to Colorado and last summer went, for the first time, to Wyoming and Idaho. Mountains and rivers entice us every year. I'm jealous you actually live near this scene.
What occupies your time besides writing?
Last summer my husband and I bought a tiny little travel tailer, big enough for only 2 to go camping in. It has a cute little gas stove, sink, countertop, bathroom and cozy bed. Also, in the summer I love to garden. Working with God's nature and enjoying it, our the ways I relax as a busy writer and also give me inspiration.
I can identify with the camping. We have a travel trailer. That's what we take to the mountains or the Texas hill country or seaside.

Most writers have good times and bad. Have you ever felt like giving up? If so, how did you press through that?
I've thought of giving up many times. Each time I do though, God does something to encourage me. The biggest time I was really going to quit was in 2009. After writing for 6 years by that point nothing was happening. Then I won the Genesis that year for Historical novel. That was SHADOWED IN SILK, which was titled Unveiled at the time.

What gave you the idea for your newest release?
  As I mentioned I have been to Londonderry. But while visiting St. Augustine's Chapel in Londonderry, I was also struggling with my emotions over Sarah, and over some of my daughter Lana's heartaches. This was when I saw the lovely stained glass windows of the biblical Ruth and Naomi. Here were 2 women brought together by heartache and loss, and a mother-daughter relationship grew between them. I wanted this sort of relationship with both of my daughters. I've attached a photo of that stained glass window, and it sort of forshadows the photo of my 2 daughters as my very own bookends.

The window is gorgeous. What an inspiring thought. With my having three daughters, I can sure understand wanting that special relationship. I love the story of Naomi and Ruth.

Do you write every day? If so, what does that process look like?
I must write every day just to keep up on all my committments. However, I do try to take time to rest. Sometimes the Lord forces me to take a rest though. 

I love music. If you were a song, what would that song be?
When Irish Eyes are Smiling.

Oh, I like that. Tell us something more about yourself. 
Christine Lindsay was born in Ireland, and is proud of the fact that she was once patted on the head by Prince Philip when she was a baby. Her great grandfather, and her grandfather—yes father and son—were both riveters on the building of the Titanic. Tongue in cheek, Christine states that as a family they accept no responsibility for the sinking of that great ship.
It was stories of her ancestors who served in the British Cavalry in Colonial India that inspired her Multi-award-winning, historical series Twilight of the British Raj. Aside from being a busy writer and speaker, Christine is also VP of Christian Authors’ Network. She makes her home in British Columbia, on the west coast of Canada.

Please drop by Christine’s website or follow her on Twitter and be her friend on Pinterest , Facebook  and  Goodreads

Christine, it has been a pleasure getting acquainted with you. Thanks for answering all my tedious questions and sending such wonderful pictures. I know my viewers will enjoy getting acquainted, and I'm sure many, like me, are anxious to purchase one or more of your books.

Does anyone else have a question or comment?

Thanks for stopping by today to visit, Christine.