A Morning Prayer

Do you struggle with the right words to pray sometimes? I know I do and this Psalm out of The Message is one great way that I have found to focus my heart and mind to start the day. Write it on an index card and read it every morning!

Psalm 119:169-176

Let my cry come right into your presence, God;
    provide me with the insight that comes only from your Word.
Give my request your personal attention,
    rescue me on the terms of your promise.
Let praise cascade off my lips;
    after all, you’ve taught me the truth about life!
And let your promises ring from my tongue;
    every order you’ve given is right.
Put your hand out and steady me
    since I’ve chosen to live by your counsel.
I’m homesick, God, for your salvation;
    I love it when you show yourself!
Invigorate my soul so I can praise you well,
    use your decrees to put iron in my soul.
And should I wander off like a lost sheep—seek me!
    I’ll recognize the sound of your voice.

~Amen

Have a blessed week!

Christian Romance?

People often talk about perfect matches like macaroni and cheese, peanut butter and jelly, or salty and sweet. But what about terrible combinations – like for me today a crayon and the clothes dryer. As I WD40ed my clothes trying to salvage some of my husband’s work shirts, I thought about this.

Specifically, I thought about how often I see the doubt on people’s faces when I say I write Christian romance. Can there be such a thing as Christian romance? Since I write it, you can probably guess my position but let me take a moment to explain why.

One argument I have heard is that it is not good for one’s faith. That reading such literature will make women discontent in their marriages, long for a more romantic husband, or tempted to seek the experience in an affair.

I have a friend who recently shared her story with me. After her husband died at forty-five she had a difficult time but God provided and her second marriage is truly novel worthy. After she told me did I long for what she had? NO! I loved her story. I loved the sweet feelings it gave me about love and romance and I was reminded of God’s truths and goodness. After talking to her, I went to my husband and hugged him and said, “Stay alive, honey! I am happy living through just one romance novel.”

I like to read romance because I love a good story with compelling characters and I like watching them fight for love. I like reading Christian romance because not only do they fight for love but they are reminded of a godly truth, that probably, I need reminded of as well.

Jesus used story in his teaching and I can see why. I know he didn’t use romance but his used stories of life to teach valuable biblical truths. I have been a christian for 30 years. I have heard a lot of sermons, attended a lot of bible studies, and read a lot of non-fiction books. But some of the images and truths that impacted me most came from a fiction story where I saw the truth of God played out before my eyes in the characters every day lives.

Why do I write Christian romance? I write because story just spills out of me. I write romance because it is the story I find most compelling. I write Christian because I can’t not help but share the truths of the gospel. After all- the Bible is one big story of God’s redeeming love. And I combine them all into one because that is the call I feel God has put on my life.

So, is there such a thing as Christian romance? This lady says there is – and I like it.

What are your thoughts? Have you ever read a Christian romance novel? Why or why not?

Disobetient Daughter

Obedience seems so simple when I am asking it of my children. I instruct – they listen. Right?

However, it seems a lot trickier when I am the child and God is doing the asking.

A few months ago I was really struggling with obedience to God with a particular issue. I clearly knew what he wanted me to do and I repeatedly disobeyed. During this time, I really struggled with doubt. Not doubt in God or in my faith but doubt that my God would continue to love me as I failed to obey.

One day in the midst of this on going struggle, my daughter taught me a lesson I will never forget.

I had a special surprise outing planned for my four year old daughter and I was so excited. An hour before we were supposed to leave she decided to dig in her heals and defy me at every turn. I was so frustrated. Couldn’t she see that I had her best interest at heart. I wanted to scream, “I want to do so much for you, if you just obey.”

It hit me. My daughters actions don’t effect my love for her. There is nothing she could do to make me love her less. However, I can do so much more for her when she chooses to obey. My disobedience won’t change God’s love for me but I may miss out on what he is trying to do in my life.

Like a loving parent, God really does have our best in mind. Like a stubborn four-year-old, I occasionally fight those instructions believing I know best.

Are you letting God lead in every area?

Living with Pollyanna

We can learn a lot from our kids. My daughter has a strong case of Pollyanna-ism. Not all the time – believe me when I say she can have her grumpy moments but she never ceases to amaze me with her sweet disposition and positive outlook when I think she has every right to be mad.

A few minutes ago she walked up to me with small special box in one hand, a bow in the other, and a frown on her face. “The boys ripped my bow off my box.”

I sighed and reached for the bow trying to determine if fixing was a possibility when she smiled. “That’s okay. It looks pretty without the bow and I can use the bow for the present inside.”

What? What about justice? What about fairness? What about the box being the way you originally wanted?

Nope she just pushed it all aside and accepted what she had and found the good in that.

This isn’t the first time either. A few weeks ago she brought to me one of her Polly dresses that the dog had managed to chew off an arm. She held it up to me as her eyes filled with tears. “Mom, look…”

Growing frustration without puppy boiled over in me. How could something so adorable cause so much grief? (BTW – my frustration wasn’t about the dress as much as the compiling of the dozens of thing he’d already chewed.)

Before I could react, she snatched it from my hand and smiled. “That’s okay. I have always wanted a dress with just one sleeve.”

Oh sweet girl you teach me so much about justice, fairness, and most importantly grace. May I be better about accepting the situations I am given, even if at times it doesn’t feel fair.

What about you? Are you the eternal optimist or do you struggle with the desire to be right and life to be fair?

 

Coffee – It’s My Happy Place

I have like the smell of coffee for as long as I can remember but it took some time for the taste to grow on me. But for years I still only drank it on occasion during parties and such. I never understood how or why people NEEDED it.

I made it through college, grad school, and two children without needing the extra caffeine. Now I love my third child. Such a sweet boy. But he is full of…life. When he turned two, I discovered mommy needs caffeine.

Then I added my fourth child. Okay don’t freak out. I know I don’t have a fourth child. But writing has become as consuming to my life as adding another child and let me tell you. When I am up at 5:30am writing. Coffee isn’t more than just a good idea.

Yes, I gave into the dark side but what can I say but I love it here. I look forward to my morning cup. I think wonderful happy thoughts of how perfect the day will go as I sip the Irish cream enhanced brew.

If you are ever in Arizona, stop by and I make enough to share.

What is you favorite coffee? If Coffee isn’t your thing, what is your favorite way to wake up in the morning?

Biggest revelation for me to date…

So what was my great discovery? Before I get to that – let’s talk reading.

When did I fall in love with reading? About eight years ago. I was nearly thirty and on bed rest with my first child and before wifi I had limited options. So, I decided to read.

Before this time, I hated reading. It was hard. I could never remember what I read and it made me so tired. Occasionally the letters would move around and I consistency struggled to stay on the right line. Just after college I picked up a novel everyone said I had to read. Just 300 or so pages. Took me a month a reading a little every night. As much as my eyes could handle.

But on bed rest I pushed though and read novel after novel. I think it took me days to finish one book but I did it. I soon discovered that I loved the story and that I’d push though the frustrations just to be able to read another good romance story. (practice makes perfect)

Now – I love to read. Eight years later I can fly through books. I read all four books in the Twilight series in a week (not so good for the house cleaning though.) I recently reread the novel that had taken me a month and finished it in a night.

So what was my discovery this weekend? By my description you may be able to tell if you know much about reading problems. I am dyslexic. I am severely dyslexic. Out of the 37 possible characteristics I had twenty-eight. (it takes 10 to classify as dyslexia)

I must say my husband and I had a good laugh about the description since it make so much sense to many of my “quirks”.

I also love the irony that God has called me to write. I mean I did well in math and science why not focus there? No he calls me to literature and I managed to graduate high school with a 3.6 with never completing one required reading book.

But God isn’t concerned with what I can’t do as much as what He can do. I choose to be open to people he has placed in my path to teach me. After all if He can take me from reading a novel over a month to reading it in a night He can do anything.

Here are the 28 characteristics I could identify with. They may give you new insight into our past interaction if you know me. :)
•    Appears bright, intelligent, and articulate but unable to read, write, or spell at grade level.
•    Isn’t “behind enough” or “bad enough” to be helped in the school setting.
•    High in IQ, yet may not test well academically; tests well orally, but not written.
•    Talented in art, drama, music, sports, mechanics, story-telling, sales, business, designing, building, or engineering.
•    Seems to “Zone out” or daydream often; gets lost easily or loses track of time.
•    Difficulty sustaining attention “daydreamer.”
•    Learns best through hands-on experience, demonstrations, experimentation, observation, and visual aids.
•    Complains of headaches while reading.
•    Confused by verbal explanations.
•    Reading or writing shows repetitions, additions, transpositions, omissions, substitutions, and reversals in letters, numbers and/or words.
•    Complains of feeling or seeing non-existent movement while reading, writing, or copying.
•    Seems to have difficulty with vision, yet eye exams don’t reveal a problem.
•    Lacks depth perception and peripheral vision.
•    Reads and rereads with little comprehension.
•    Spells phonetically and inconsistently.
•    Easily distracted by sounds.
•    Difficulty putting thoughts into words; speaks in halting phrases; leaves sentences incomplete; stutters under stress; mispronounces long words, or transposes phrases, words, and syllables when speaking.
•    Handwriting varies or is illegible.
•    Clumsy, poor at ball or team sports; prone to motion-sickness.
•    Can be ambidextrous, and often confuses left/right
•    Has difficulty telling time, managing time, or being on time.
•    Computing math shows dependence on finger counting and other tricks
•    Excellent long-term memory for experiences, locations, and faces.
•    Poor memory for sequences, facts and information that has not been experienced.
•    Thinks primarily with images and feeling
•    Extremely disorderly or compulsively orderly.
•    Strong sense of justice; emotionally sensitive; strives for perfection.
•    Mistakes and symptoms increase dramatically with confusion, time pressure, emotional stress, or poor health.

 

 

 

 

Why am I blogging?

As I start my third week of blogging, I am reminded why I decided to join this part of social media. The world is changing. I can choose to change with it or not. But ignoring it is no longer an option.

When I joined Facebook five years ago, a friend told me it was a blip on the radar and would be replaced within a couple years I think they were wrong. Check out this video of statistics.

“It is no longer a question of if you will do social media, but how well you will do it.” I guess I decided it was time I started doing it a little bit better.

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