Saturday, March 19, 2016

Spring

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

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

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


   His mercies are new every morning.
                                 Lamentations 3:23 

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



From this:
our dead oleander           

To this:




Texas is alive with red buds & Bradord pear trees.

Thank you, Lord, for spring.


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Be True To Yourself

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

 

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


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

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

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

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

 

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

Thank you, Jesus.
 

Saturday, March 12, 2016

A Visit with Cherie Burbach

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

Go to http://puttingonthenew.com/
or click on the square to the left of this blog just under the e-mail subscribing slot.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Think on these words today:

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

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

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

Cherie Burbach's book is titled Art and Faith.

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

 

BUYING LINK:   http://amzn.to/1WNXckX

 

 

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

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

Any questions or comments for Cherie?
 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Anniversary Giveaway

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

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

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

 Then e-mail me at Janet.hope@att.net or leave a comment at the bottom of this post, or leave a comment on my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Janet-K-Brown-Author-143915285641707/?ref=bookmarks to let me know which book you wish to receive and to what e-mail you want it delivered.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Why do I Like Libraries?

Wichita Falls Library
http://www.hoodfol.com/five-reasons-this-author-likes-libraries-by-janet-k-brown/

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

Burkburnett Library

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Author Interview with Elaine Stock

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

 

Where did you get the idea for your book?

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

How did you find your publisher?

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

What kind of books do you enjoy reading?

 

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

 


What has your writing journey been like so far?

 

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

 
 

Where is your favorite place to vacation?

 

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



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

 

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

 

 Find Elaine online at:

 

website/blog: Everyone's Story  http://elainestock.com

Twitter  http://www.twitter.com/ElaineStock

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AuthorElaineStock

Goodreads  http://goodreads.com/ElaineStock

 
 
 
 
Can she move forward without knowing her past?

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

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

She wants it; she gets it; they marry.

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

 

Staying could endanger her child.

Leaving could cost her life.

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


Barnes & Noble   http://bit.ly/1PfRyXX

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

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

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Is Willpower Enough?

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

                                   John 8:32
 

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

 
Me at 250 pounds
That truth provides the basis for my book Divine Dining: 365 Devotions to Guide You to Healthier Weight and Abundant Wellness.http://www.pen-l.com/DivineDining.html
 

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

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

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

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


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



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


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