Saturday, March 7, 2015

What's the Solution for Depression?

Think depression is something new to the twenty-first century? Think again. Ever since God kicked Lucifer out of heaven, that mean-spirited, beautiful ex-angel has been using every weapon in his arsenal to defeat God. One of those is depression. Listen to Elijah's story back in the time of the Jewish kings.

     So, Elijah fled for his life; he went to Beersheba, a city of Judah, and left his servant there. Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day, and sat down under a broom bush and prayed that he might die.
     "I've had enough," he told the Lord. "Take away my life. I've got to die sometimes, and it might as well be now."
             1 Kings 19: 3, 4 Life Recovery Bible
        But the Lord said to him, "What are you doing here Elijah.
     He replied, "I have worked very hard for the Lord God of the heavens, but the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you and torn down your altars and killed your prophets, and only I am left, and now they are trying to kill me, too."
             1 Kings 19: 9, 10 Life Recovery Bible

Another prophet of old by the name of Jeremiah was called the weeping prophet. He wrote a whole book about his sadness. At one point in his ministry, here's how he felt.
      All hope is gone, my strength has turned to water, for the Lord has left me.
           Lamentations 3:18 Life Recovery Bible.

Symptoms of depression include:
     Insomnia or sleeping all the time
     Inability to concentrate or make decisions
     Loss of appetite or Inability to control overeating
     A feeling of emptiness
     Unconcern for normal enjoyments of life
     Change of habits
     Crying over inconsequential things
     Outbursts of anger
     Panic attacks
     Thinking about suicide
     Inability to pray

Not everyone will have all these symptoms. There are degrees of depression, anything from “a little down” to physical, chemical depression requiring medication. All form of depression brings a wedge between you & God.
My devotion book, Divine Dining: 365 Devotions to Guide You to Healthier Weight and Abundant Wellness, shows my depression at the time I wrote this.
     I call out to God but only trust in my own abilities, because He is far away. I lost thirty pounds with a weight support group, but put it back on, plus some. I whittled off forty pounds with shots and pills only to find myself in deep depression and succumbing to old behavior patterns. When I purchased a diet franchise after losing a hundred pounds, the stress of keeping off the weight drove me to underground eating and gaining, until I lost my business. I had failed. I couldn't lose. I couldn't maintain what I lost. I was worthless.
Like Jeremiah, the only remedy to depression is soaking in the Word of God, allowing His Words to soothe & encourage, & reminding yourself of His faithfulness in the past.

On page 843 of the Life Recovery Bible, this note tells us, "Turning our life over to God includes giving him our pain and suffering. In our times of grief and shames, we can hope for the time when God will overcome the problems we face. God is strong enough to lift our burdens and loving enough to mend our broken heart."

Lamentations 3:21-23 gives us the solution to depression.

     Yet, there is one ray of hope: his compassion never ends. It is only the Lord's mercies that have kept us from complete destruction. Great is his faithfulness; his loving-kindness begins afresh each day. 

Tara Johnson's book Hollow Victory: How to Identify & Disarm 5 Landmines that make Victorious Christian Living Feel Like a Lie tells us "Here's the thing about depression: you cannot operate based on how you feel. You have to cling to what you know." 

One Scripture that ministers to many of us comes because of Jeremiah’s struggle with depression.


“For I know the plans I have for you, saith the Lord, plans for good & not for evil, for hope in your future.”
                              Jeremiah 29:11


I look through the table of contents in The Freedom of Letting Go by Donna Clark Goodrich for all the things we must learn to let go of and deal with.
and the list goes on. One of the hardest things to let go of is control. Allowing God to take control.

I love Goodrich's quote from that book, "If God never sleeps, why should both of us stay awake."

Another promise from God to cling to:

When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up--the flames will not consume you.
                   isaiah 43; 2-3  Live Recovery Bible


Let’s list the things that verse says about what troubles we might face.


When we face waters – – He will be with us.

When we face rivers – We will not drown.

When we face fire – We won’t be burned.


Notice God says "when" we go through these things, not "if."

In life, we will go through bad things. So, we must remember God's solution that He gave us through Jeremiah.

Are you teetering on the brink of depression? Is the darkness calling you away from worship? Has there been a time in your past when depression has been a part of your life?

Do you need to remember the solution?

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


This has been a week of two contests going on here at Writing with God's Hope blog. I know, I know, it's Weird Wednesday, and this isn't weird, but it is fun.

Today, we announce the winners.

The winner of Stephanie Burkhart's children's book Brady's Lost Blanket is:

     ****Charmaine Gordon

The winner of Gail Kittleson's e-book is:

     ****Patti Shene

Gail, Stephanie, thank you for being my guests and offering a giveaway on my blog. Congratulations to the two winners.

Next week, I'll be back to Weird. In fact, I'm hoping to have a ghost legend from the stomping ground where I grew up, so stop back by when it's again, Weird Wednesday.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Stephanie Burkhart Talks about Inspiration, Blankies, and Her Latest Book

I added a P. S. from Stephanie at the end of this post. Hint: It pertains to a book giveaway, so don't miss it.

Inspiration comes in small packages

By: Stephanie Burkhart

One of my husband's relatives told me a story about her grandchild who was attached to his blankie.  He left it behind when he was visiting relatives and was having a hard time without it. That brought back memories of the time when I was a young girl and had a blankie.  My blankie was soft blue with silk blue trim.  I loved to rub it against my face. It was very soothing. My blankie was my security net. It was always there for me. I could count on it to relax my ruffled feelings or frustration – until it mysteriously disappeared.  One day, when I was five, my blankie turned up missing.  I had no idea what happened to it. I felt "out of sorts," "uncomfortable," and "anxious." (My mother hid it on me.  She decided it was time for me to learn how to get along without it.)

 Those first couple of days without blankie was rough, but I soon learned other age appropriate coping stragedies. I played with Barbie and her Beach van. I picked up a book. I began coloring. I loved playing with Matchbox cars.  Soon my imagination grew and I didn't need blankie anymore.

Giving up blankie was my first step to growing up.

Stephanie Burkhart was born and raised in Manchester, New Hampshire, but now calls California her home. She currently works for LAPD as a 911 Dispatcher. Stephanie has been writing since she was five, when she crafted homemade comic books on the kitchen table. Her previous books with 4RV Publishing include: The Giving Meadow, and First Flag of New Hampshire.  Stephanie enjoys coffee, adores chocolate and is currently the Den Leader for her son's Cub Scout Den.
And, now for my questions:

Writing with God's Hope                Tell us a little about yourself.
Steph: I grew up in Manchester, New Hampshire and joined the US Army when I was 18. I spent 7 years stationed overseas in Germany. I earned a BS in Political Science from California Baptist University. I left the military in 1997 and settled in Castaic, CA. I work for LAPD as a 911 dispatcher. I'm married, have 2 boys, love chocolate, adore coffee and I'm a den leader for my son's den. Love scouting, reading, and watching movies.
Writing with God's Hope                Did you ever feel like giving up on your writing?  And how did you press through this?
Steph: I can't say that I have. I have gotten frustrated when I can't find the time to write because the words won't come, but I never wanted to give up writing.
Writing with God's Hope                What gave you the idea for your book?
Steph: One of my husband's relatives told me about her grandson who was having a hard time giving up his blankie.  I drew on my own experiences and wrote Brady's Lost Blanket.
Wrtting with God's Hope                How do you feel this book will encourage readers, or did you have something in mind like this when you wrote it?
Steph: I hope it appeals to other young children who are faced with giving up their blankies.  I think giving up a security net like a blankie is a big step for a little child and their first step to growing up a little.
Writing with God's Hope                How did you find your publisher?
Steph: Honestly, 4RV found me! LOL!! I showed Vivian at 4RV Publishing my "Giving Meadow" story, and she said she'd like to publish it. I couldn't refuse.
Writing with God's Hope                If you were a song, what would it be?
Steph: I love anything from Duran Duran's Rio album. I love the word play on that album – and all the videos that came from it.
Writing with God's Hope                Anything else you’d like to tell us.      
Steph: It's Girl Scout cookie time. My favorite is Samoas. What's your favorite girl scout cookie?
         How long did it take you to write this book?

STEPHANIE: It took about a week to write the story. I have to thank 4RV Publishing for publishing Brady's Lost Blanket.  It took about 2 weeks back and forth with the editing.

       Did you pick the illustrator?

STEPHANIE: No, I did not.  4RV Publishing selected the illustrator.  I think Bridget McKenna did a great job with the illustrations.  They have a very whimsical feel and compliment the story well.

       How long have you been writing children's books?

STEPHANIE: About 5 years now. My first children's book, "The Giving Meadow" was published with 4RV Publishing in 2010. It has a great message about sharing and caring for young children as well as telling about Caterpillar's transformation into a butterfly. It's perfect for Easter as it helps young children  to understand Jesus' story.

BRADY'S LOST BLANKET is available in print from 4RV Publishing.

 Brady is a sensitive young boy who takes his blankie wherever he goes. After traveling with his parents to visit his new cousin, Brady accidently leaves his blanket behind. Can Brady learn to get by without his blankie?



















Thank you, Stephanie. I loved getting acquainted. The book sounds precious. I believe many a young child will be encouraged by Brady's Lost Blanket.

I still have the tattered blankie used for years by my youngest daughter.

Now, I have a question for those of you reading this. Did you have a blankie when you were a child? Do you know someone who did?

P. S. Stephanie  tells me she plans to give away a free copy of Brady's Lost Blanket. She will draw a name on Tuesday, March 3 from the list of commenters who give us their e-mail address. So click on "post a comment" below & make sure we know how to contact you.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Is Wichita Falls haunted?

This Weird Wednesday, while I'm waiting for the release of my new YA, I got to wondering if my home town, Wichita Falls, TX had a ghost legend? To my surprise, it does. Here's what I found out about it.

A hang-out for a group of boys fifty years ago, brought about the ghost legend of Pinky's Cave. The spooky tunnel is actually a three-mile concrete drainage ditch that snakes under neighborhood streets between Ardath and Kell Boulevard. Running clear under Kell, it was built by the city of Wichita Falls in the 1960s to prevent flooding in the Brook Village area. A teenager by the name of Robin Pinkman lived near there then and claimed the tunnel as his own, forever branding it as Pinky's Cave.
Photo by Claire Kowalick was featured in the Wichita Falls Times Record News on 4/10/2010

Reading about that reminded me of two things. One: As a teenager along with my cousins, I explored a concrete drainage ditch in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas. What fun, what mystery, what carelessness. Two: one of my favorite authors, Bonnie Lanthripe, wrote the middle-grade book, The Ringleader, about teen boys who solve the mystery of the drainage ditch in their home town. I could envision ghosts in a tunnel like the one where I played.

Pinkman, who is now a local teacher and rancher, says he remembers the ditch as being his and his neighbor friend's private clubhouse. They often spent the night there and told ghost stories. Now, I never had the nerve to do that. Of course, my aunt wouldn't have let us, anyway.

The boys told one tale of a man who lived in the cave and would "get you" if he found out that you doubted. The roar of the wind and the rumblings of cars overhead created echoes and thumps that complemented the made-up stories. Sometimes, the boys hid in the drain pipes built into the tunnel and would jump out and scare the girls.

In the tornado of 1979 that blew away much of Wichita Falls, many people were saved by hiding in the ditch. My husband and I moved to the city two years after this storm. I still remember the fear exhibited by the residents every time a strange cloud would form.

Nowadays, the entrance to Pinky's Cave is heavily spray-painted. Lewd words and drawings sprawl across the walls belying the early-time innocence. In the days of drugs and gangs, neighbors worry about what goes on in the under-the-street cave.

Still, many Wichitans remember the days of ghost tales and harmless fun and wonder if the ghost of Pinky's Cave is real.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Barn Door Book Loft: Worth Her Weight by Janet K Brown

The Barn Door Book Loft: Worth Her Weight by Janet K Brown: How can a woman who gives to everyone but herself accept God’s love and healing when she believes she’s fat, unworthy, and unfixable? Can s...

Saturday, February 21, 2015

A Visit and Giveaway from Author, Gail Kittleson

Gail and her husband Lance delight in their grandchildren in St. Ansgar, Iowa.
Winter months find Gail in Pine, AZ, writing and editing like crazy. She has facilitated workshops 
and women's retreats in various hospice, parish nurse, and church venues. She's available for
speaking engagements for book clubs and women's groups, and usually shares on the
writing process, women's spiritual and emotional growth, and transition and loss.
I enjoyed recently getting acquainted online with Gail Kittleson and knew the viewers of Writing with God's Hope blog would, also. Gail has a special giveaway today. Find out how to qualify for the drawing by scrolling all the way to the bottom of this post.
Gail, where did you get the idea for your latest book?
 "From my life" would be the obvious answer for a memoir, but a lifetime of reading paved the way. Other authors' honesty (The Diary of a Young Girl, Tuesdays With Morrie, Julie and Julia, The Glass Castle and many more) affected my understanding of memoir.
But a powerful assignment in a workshop back in the summer of 2003 got me started. This kind of writing goes deep, and a supportive group made all the difference. I use that same pivotal assignment often in facilitating workshops and retreats. 
By the way, I didn’t plan to write a memoir that day in that class—I just started writing, kept on, and the result, years later, was Catching Up With Daylight.
Many of us long for rest, as the author did while renovating an old house after her husband's 
first deployment to Iraq. Yet a different hunger undergirded that desire: a hunger for wholeness
How did you find your publisher?
I read about WhiteFire Publishing, did some research, and submitted. This company’s editors are professional, generous, and reliable. I've been delighted with their work and so appreciate the camaraderie of WhiteFire’s author family. 
Are you working on any other projects that you can tell us about?
Yes, several. I’m awaiting the next edits for my contracted women's fiction and my World War II series is being considered by a publisher. I also keep working on a pioneer series.
What kind of books do you enjoy reading?
Anything World War II, fiction and nonfiction, fascinates me. I read Women's Fiction (Jane Kirkpatrick is one of my favorite authors), Biography, of course Memoir, and lately, a mystery or two. I’ve always enjoyed poetry, especially Emily Dickinson and John Donne. 
Oh, I like Emily Dickinson, too. What has your writing journey been like so far?
Full of starts and stops. Then a big re-start at that writers’ workshop, and pretty steady since then. I always knew writing was my vocation, yet it took a long, long time to believe I had anything worthwhile to say. Some of us have to grow into our calling, and wonder “why all those wasted years?”
But I can also say the journey has been necessary—expressing oneself on paper requires believing in yourself, and that sort of turn-around doesn’t happen overnight. The kind of writing memoir demands can be painful, and I didn’t necessarily realize the effect until after the fact.
Years ago when I prayed for inner peace, I had no idea how much I was asking!
I can so identify with that, Gail. I agree that to express ourselves on paper requires self confidence. Must've been why God delayed my writing for years.
Do you have another book due to come out soon?
Yes. Do you hear my YIPPEE!? I’m not someone who always wanted to write fiction—my first story surprised me to pieces. There have been many since then, but my first contract (with Vintage Rose) is for a women’s fiction titled In This Together.
I don’t know the release date yet, but hopefully this year. It’s the story of Dottie, a Gold Star mother and widow, set in 1947. Having come through a lot and successfully reared three children, she now works at a boarding house, deals with her grief, and expects life to continue in a hum-drum way. Boy, is she in for a surprise!
Oh, I must read that one. Congratulations. Keep us posted.
Where is your favorite place to pray or reflect by yourself?
 Walking, almost anywhere, but preferably in nature. We live in an Iowa small town, so there’s plenty of space, and in the winter I walk in an Arizona Ponderosa pine forest.
Tell me a fun fact about yourself.
I’ve lived on three continents (not for very long periods!) and visited a fourth. Also, I have a title addiction. They pop into my head consistently, like certain melodies that take over your mind.
Oh, that's funny.
Now tell us where we can purchase Catching Up with Daylight. 
Now, how do you qualify to go in the drawing for an online copy of Catching Up with Daylight?
All you must do is click on "post a comment" below and leave a comment or question for Gail. Make sure to leave your e-mail address. We'll draw from the comments at midnight on March 3.
Thank you, Gail, for stopping by the Writing with God's Hope blog today. Happy writing.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ghostly Excerpt from My Upcoming YA

It's Weird Wednesday, and I have no new ghost legends to tall today. I've chosen to give you a ghostly excerpt from my upcoming YA. Watch for details later this year.

     “Shelley, go to that small closet on the other side of the wall and bring down the huge screens. The city will be running pictures of Lincoln and Washington.”

     She opened the side door, flipped on a light, and stepped into a closet. Wind swirled her giving an instant chill. Wisps of her hair tickled her cheeks. The sleeves on her paisley shirt molded to her arms. Wind moved rubber edging back and forth. She searched for the switch to the picture screens and turned it. The wind roared in her ear. She took one step back and searched for an air duct. This was crazy. There was no outside wall, no fan or air conditioning vent. She left the closet, and the wind stopped.

     Now, her heart was pounding like she’d jumped to the ground after a fast gallop on Trophy. She swallowed attempting to rein in her runaway pulse. Overhead florescent bulbs gave off light enough to highlight anything out of place except for dark corners. No wind blew in the storage room now.

    Curiosity got people in trouble, but never let it be said Shelley played it safe. She rode her horse like there was no tomorrow and won play-days when others feared her speed. She inched the door open and moved ahead with her right foot, bringing her left one beside it. Wind plastered her shirt to her chest.

     “Shelley, turn it off. We don’t want that. Turn it off.”

     Dad’s voice was calling from the party room. Turn what off? She took a deep breath and eased away from the closet. Too afraid to stop watching, she backed out to where Dad and Victoria waited. “Turn what off?”

     Dad stood just over her right shoulder. “We don’t want that video going on. I don’t even know where it came from, but turn it off.”

     Shivers raced up and down her spine and exploded at the base of her neck. She did a half swivel to face him. “I didn’t turn on any video. I just hit the switch to bring down the screens.”

     “It had to have come from you. Why didn’t you answer? I kept calling.” Dad’s face reddened. His jaw looked tight.

     What was he talking about? She marched into the party room to the other side of the screens and looked for herself.

     Victoria slid to her side and pointed. “Those words keep flashing, one at the top, then one at the bottom, then the middle overlaying the others. What does it mean?”

     “Save me. Help. Lost. Grain. Husband. God.” One word after another spread across the screen in some weird-had-to-be-haunted pattern reminiscent of the screen at the people’s entrance.

     “Where did you find that? Show me,” Dad demanded and stomped his foot. “Maybe you hit another button close to the switch for the screens.”

     “I’ll show you." Would there still be wind? Goosebumps on her arms broke out like measles. Tiny hairs on the back of her neck stood out like they’d been spray-netted. She formed an o with her mouth and blew out air. With Dad at her elbow, she reopened the closet. “All I did was mash that switch.” She touched it.

     He pushed past her. His brown hair waved in the breeze. He quickly stepped back hitting his elbows on the side. “What ̶”

     “I don’t know,” Shelley said. “It happened to me too.”

     The red on Dad’s face drained away like rain into a dry ground leaving paleness. “I’m pulling up the screens.” He entered and flipped the switch down again. Before she could count to two, the wind stopped, the screens in the next room cranked up to the ceiling, and Shelley caught hold of her dad’s arm with a death grip.

     His face was still colorless. “I don’t know what happened there, but we’re leaving those screens alone.”

     “Sounds good to me.”

Hope I've increased your interest. Watch for the release date of A Ghost for Shelley, due out later in 2015.

Post a comment, e-mail me, or shoot me a Facebook post or a tweet if you know of a ghost legend anywhere that you're willing to share.