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Monday, December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas!                                                                                                 Happy New Year!

 Please join us in the new year for more writing inspiration.  Have a safe and magical holiday.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Week Sixty-One: Nancy Richardson

              The Final Chapter Is Not Yet



“Your eyes saw my substance, being yet formed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.”  Psalm 139:16  (NKJV)

This particular passage hit home in me one evening as I sat reading my Bible. In it, it says ... in Your book they are written, the days fashioned for me.
I am in God’s book. He know what each chapter that is written is about. It is a story fashioned for me. I became so excited to suddenly realize I am in God’s story. Yes, a character worth writing about. The plot He knows and I get to experience, one chapter at a time.

He knows each one’s particular style. You may be a poem with rhyme and reason. You could be a mystery yet to be discovered. You could be a hero or heroine or one of many smaller characters. You are a part of the greatest book ever written, God’s Book. The final chapter of your story is not yet. It is still left for you to experience.

Ask God to prepare your heart to complete the days He has written for you, with zeal and passion. Give Him the glory. Give Him the praise. And live the story He has fashioned for you. There are still chapters to be completed.



Nancy DuBose Richardson is a born-again follower of Jesus Christ and is living in Camden, Arkansas with my husband and one child, the last of six, left at home. After teaching Sunday School class for many years she wrote and self published a 30 day devotional called "Seek First.." for her class and friends. Currently, she is working on another devotional series called "At the Kitchen Table", and one dealing with choices which is yet to be titled.



Sunday, December 07, 2014

Week Sixty: Janet Elaine Smith

A Mindless Writer, or a Writer Who Can’t Make Up Her Mind?


I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. I Corinthians. 9:22, (KJV)

When I started writing my first book, I hoped to inspire people to find a walk with God. At the same time, I wanted “regular” people to read my books. We hear about preaching to the choir, and I wanted to go out in the highways and byways of life, to the traditional bookstores, not just to the Christian bookstores.
I also wanted to write a lot of different types of books, different genres. The plan God gave me was to share the message of hope not by preaching in my novels, but to do it through character development. If a not-so-perfect person could grow and change, there was hope for my readers to do so too.

Has it worked? I now have 16 novels out. Some of them fall closer to the “inspirational” definition than others do. But even a cowboy rebel can lead a person to God. In Pampas, a very influential man in New York City told me he had returned to church and to God because of one very small statement by my cowboy, Raul Escobar. He told the woman of the house in Argentina, “I…I think I’m a Catholic.” She replied, “That is the saddest thing I’ve ever heard. You don’t even know what you are!”

The man in New York wrote to me that he stopped dead in his tracks, realizing that he couldn’t honestly answer what he was, or what he believed. I have spoken with him on the phone and he told me that if Raul had not been forced to question his faith, he probably would never have given it a second thought. As he followed Raul’s quest for returning to a belief in God, he found himself making his own way back. He laughed as he related how he had even been attending church for the first time since he was a teenager. “I even went when there was a blizzard!” Thank God, he knows now.

Did I set out to convert big businessmen through a cowboy book? No, but God knew who needed the message. I was just an instrument in His hands, putty in the potter’s hands. Will I write more cowboy stories? Well, another man, this one from South Dakota, told his wife, after he read Dakota Printer, “That’s the best Western I’ve read since Zane Grey died.” Who knew? I thought I was writing an inspirational historical romance? If God wants to use it as a Western (i.e., cowboy book), I’m more than willing to become “all things to all men.”


Janet Elaine Smith is the author of 16 novels and 2 non-fiction books: http://www.janetelainesmith.com janetelainesmith@yahoo.com





Sunday, November 30, 2014

Week Fifty-Nine: Margaret Daley

                                                  Peace

“The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless His people with peace.” Psalm 29:11 (NAS)



When I read this, I thought of the trials and tribulations we have gone through this past few years as a nation and this verse gave me hope for the future. Since September 11th we have feared for our safety and well-being not only as a nation but individually. Terrorists prey on the innocent, but with God’s strength and love we will endure and win in the end. Peace comes in many forms and our belief in the Lord gives us a peace no one can take a way, not even terrorists.

When I write, I want to convey the hope God gives us and the power of His love. His strength will see us through so much. If we start each day believing He is with us, we can do anything.
   




Margaret Daley, an award-winning author of ninety books (five million sold worldwide), has been married for over forty years and is a firm believer in romance and love. When she isn’t traveling, she’s writing love stories, often with a suspense thread and corralling her three cats that think they rule her household. To find out more about Margaret visit her website at http://www.margaretdaley.com.

 
 
 
 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Week Fifty-Eight:Ginny McCabe

             Write On and Remain Faithful


”So God will choose the one to whom he decides to show mercy; his choice does not depend on what people want or try to do. The Scripture says to the King of Egypt: I made you king for this reason: to show my power in you so that my name will be talked about in all the earth.”
Romans 9: 16, 17. (NCV)


I remember the day I met President George W. Bush. I got up at 5 a.m. that morning to go through a Secret Service screening and take my place as one of the media representatives covering his speech, which he gave at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee. From the moment I stood in the security line, until the time I was in his presence, the experience was overwhelming and surreal.

When I got back to my hotel room, I teared up. I was so joyful and touched that I had the opportunity to meet President Bush and hear his speech in person. This experience is one of those inspiring, motivational moments that reminds me to be faithful, so that God can display his power in my life.

If someone asked me for advice, I would urge him or her to be faithful in their calling and to allow God to make His purposes known. God knows the desires of our hearts and that He will bring everything to pass when we allow him to do so. Since I was a teenager, one of the greatest passions in my life has been writing. In high school, I joined writer’s club and served on the newspaper staff.

While I was in college I continued to write and, by the time I was a sophomore, I decided to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism. I did all kinds of things related to writing, including working for a variety of publications and newspapers and attending writers™ workshops. I prepared myself through skill and training. However,when I asked God to use me for his glory and when I surrendered my own plan for his ultimate plan for me, things really started happening for me .

If you asked me ten years ago if I thought I would ever meet the President of the United States, I would have said, “No.” Not because I didn’t want to, but because I would have never dreamed I would have that opportunity. Because I have chosen to remain faithful and seek Him through my writing endeavors, God has brought about many things in my life like that. Now I have written thousands of articles and I’m currently writing my fourth book. But, I still have to work hard. There are even days when I get rejection letters and times when I fail. And I’ve learned to praise God in the little victories and live in those special moments. God has a variety of ways he uses us and prepares us for His purposes. For me, the path has been unusual, surprising and difficult at times. But, at every turn, or fork in the road, God has had his hand on my life and encouraged me to remain faithful so that He can reveal his purposes.



Ginny McCabe is a best-selling and award-winning author, writer, speaker, teacher and media professional. Ginny is the author of five books as well as four additional collaborations. One of her latest titles, Secrets Young Women Keep (Thomas Nelson) was honored with an ECPA “Silver Medallion Award” and earned a best-selling status from the CBA Booksellers Association. She has penned countless articles for publications, including Middletown Journal and Journal News, Today’s Pulse, Crosswalk.com, Christian Retailing, Assist News, Yahoo.com and Examiner.com, among others. McCabe is also an adjunct journalism and public relations professor at Cincinnati Christian University and serves on the board of directors as secretary for the Society of Professional Journalists, Queen City Chapter. Contact her and learn more about her writing at www.gmwriteon.com.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Week Fifty-Seven: Donna Shepherd


Writing On Purpose

 

“The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O LORD, endures forever-do not abandon the works of your hands.” Psalm 138:8 (NIV)

 

 We write to tell stories. We search for the perfect rhyme, or research to produce interesting non-fiction. When I create anything, whether it’s a poem, a piece of fiction, or a song I’ve composed, I feel joy. And God must feel joy, too, when He sees His creatures create. I believe God must be pleased when we create something because He instilled creativity in us.

 
Recently I wrote a children’s book where I created a land from a child’s perspective. What fun it was to come up with a new place filled with crazy animals. How joyful it must have been for

God when He created this world. Who doesn’t believe God has a sense of humor when you consider the aardvark? Or a giraffe? Or a toucan with a beak almost as long as its body?

 

When God inspired the Word of God, He literally breathed— by the power of the Holy Spirit—His words into the writers. When I read the Bible, I see the personalities of the writers coming through. God used their own vocabularies, styles, and experiences to convey His truth.

 

Will everything I write be God-breathed, be published or even publishable? How I wish. But whether I write about the loss of a front tooth or the importance of prayer in a Christian life, I believe God inspires the creativity, and in that way, I am Spirit-led.

 

The best seller by Rick Warren, The Purpose-Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? urges us to find our purpose. As a Christian and temple of the Holy Spirit, I endeavor to allow God to direct me in everything I do, including my writing.


Does everything I write have to have an overt spiritual message? I don’t think so. God made the beautiful flowers for us to enjoy. Would we only paint images depicting Jesus? If we can
paint for fun we can write for fun while using the talent God has given us.






Donna J. Shepherd, children's picture book author and inspirational writer, has hundreds of articles and devotions to her credit. Her writings appear in Daily Grace for Women, Anytime Prayers for Everyday Moms, and The Best Grandma in the World to name a few. Her children's books feature short, playful rhymes and humorous illustrations. Donna is founder of Greater Harvest Workshops and Middletown Area Christian Writers, and in demand as a Bible teacher, conference speaker, and singer with over thirty years of experience. Visit Donna on the web at http://www.donnajshepherd.com.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Week Fifty-Six: Chris Stratton

                       God and the Unsolicited Manuscript




“That’s when we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purposes.”  Romans 8.28 (NIV)


In a cartoon, an aspiring author, holding his manuscript in his hands, is standing before an editor’s receptionist seeking admission to the editor.


The receptionist says, “The editor will be with you in a few minutes. Just have a seat on those unsolicited manuscripts over there.” Turning, the man sees hip high, waist high stacks of papers leaning against the wall behind him.


If God were the editor and your life, my life, were His
publications, how would he deal with unsolicited manuscripts?
 

In the Lord’s publishing House of Life, He solicits some manuscripts; He plans for them and assigns them a time to be published in our lives.


Some manuscripts are unsolicited. To us they might look like accidents, bad luck, insults, fallen dreams, self-aggrandizement,
unmet goals, sickness, even tragedies. At times they seem to be
stacking up against our wall in hip high, waist high stacks.



Unlike human editors, God reads every manuscript. He
Himself edits, revises, rewrites a little here, adds an emphasis, cuts redundancies, lengthens, strengthens; sometimes he slightly changes the direction of the publication itself, until the unsolicited manuscript exactly suits His purpose for the life into which it has dropped.



That’s when we look back and say, “It was a terrible time, but it has all worked for good,” or “I learned so much,” or “grew in the Lord,” or “I wouldn’t change it if I could, although at the time it was so difficult that I wondered how I could live through it.”


That’s when we know we are the LORD’S publication, the product of His House of Life Publishing, and in our
pages the people in our world find evidence of Him, His love and His care.



Chris Stratton, Appleton, serves the LORD in her primary roles of wife, mother, and grandmother.   She is currently working on a novel.  Her writings include poetry, devotionals, short stories, and memoirs. She is locally published.  She is the facilitator of Word and Pen Christian Writers Club.









Sunday, November 02, 2014

Week Fifty-Five: Beth Ziarnik

                           The Fear




“God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind”—2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)


Fear gripped me in the pre-dawn dimness. Had I tackled a writhinganaconda?What made met hink I could weave all the intriguing elements of fiction into flowing perfection? What made me think I could capture readers’ attention...entertain them...inspire them...make them feel all my characters’ passions as they pursued their dreams?

I squeezed my eyelids shut and burrowed my head in the pillow. Even if—by some fluke—I managed to do all that, what made me think someone would want to publish my novel? The marketplace grew tighter every day, the competition greater. I was getting older.



I groaned. Was I out of my mind? O God, you gave me this dream. I’m doing my best, but I’m scared to death I can’t pull it off.
*God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind.*



Wha...? The words wrapped me like a warm blanket, words I had written on a note card and kept on my desk to remind me that fear is not from God. His enemy uses it, pressing in to squeeze the life from my creative efforts, to stop me from accomplishing the good God gave me to do.
I threw back the covers and bolted from my bed, wielding the words like a sword. “God has not given me a spirit of fear!” I shouted, “but of power! Of love! And a sound mind!” Fear slithered away.


I took a deep breath and marched into my home office, vowing to fight fear with the Word of God every time it showed its scaly head. For “I can do everything through him [Christ] who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13, NIV)” and “with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26, KJV).”
Sitting down before my computer, I prayed and booted up. Time to get to work...with the Lord.




Beth Ann Ziarnik enjoys writing and speaking to encourage Christians to push past the fear and use their writing gifts to further Gods kingdom. Discover more on her Web site at www.bethziarnik.com

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Week Fifty-Four: Sally Clark

                           Doubt




“Then the LORD replied: Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time….though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.


Habakkuk 2:2, 3 (NLT)


We all know what doubt feels like.
Sometimes, my self-talk goes something like this: I wonder if
I should write this down? Is it a good idea? Will it serve any purpose? It was just a passing thought; it’s probably not even worth remembering.
God asks for faithfulness, not success. He has His own timing and I may never see the effects of the words I record. He asks
only that I write it down and make it plain so that someone else
may pick it up and run with it.
I believe I have my answer.




Sally Clark lives in Fredericksburg, TX. Her Christian stories and poems have appeared in Relief: A Quarterly Christian Expression Journal, A Man After God’s Heart, The Best Grandma in the World, Inspirit Literary Journal, and Life Savors. Her first children’s book, Where’s My Hug? will be released 01-01-15Find her at http://sallyclark.info .

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Week: Fifty-Three: Brandy Brow

Unadulterated Delight




“Delight yourself also in the Lord, and he shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.” Psalm 37:4-5 (NKJV)


I had prayed much with few results. My writing was still fruitless though I spent most of my energy on it. Attempting to find direction and solace, I opened my Bible to Psalm 37:4-5 and read. When was the last time I had spent any length of time in God’s word? When had I last worshiped with praise music pouring out my speakers instead of tapping away at the keyboard? What was the last Scripture I had memorized and when? I couldn’t answer. It had been too long since I did any of them. I realized, without much feeling, I had exchanged delight in the Lord for delight in writing. The barter left me frustrated, cold-hearted and empty.
Fear of God told me I had to change.


Out of obedience, I asked God to help me restore my delight in Him, yet my heart wasn’t in it. As I prayed, it (my heart) said, “Then He will give you your heart’s desires. You will finally get published regularly and be fulfilled.” What my heart spoke stirred more emotion in me than the thought of delighting in God. With shame I realized I could not use God to get article ideas or arrive at publication. Attempting to delight in Him so He would fulfill my writing desires was adulterated delight that God would not honor, for it was still delight in writing, only cleverly disguised.


We cannot fool God into granting our desires, even if we fool ourselves by appearing to follow His word. May we examine ourselves and do whatever we must to worship Him with true,
unadulterated delight.


Lord, please forgive us for seeking to please You so we can have our own ways. Help us relinquish our agendas and delight in You alone. Thank You, Father. Amen.




Brandy S. Brow lives in Vermont with her husband and seven children. She enjoys entertaining, teaching, and encouraging through the written word, and loves to help writers via freelance editing and mentorship. www.brandybrow.com

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Week Fifty-Two: Chris Duncan

Anxiety


Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.  I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, 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 43:1b-42 (NLT)


I am a wimp. Oh, not about everything. I’m not afraid of heights or airplanes or water. I am introverted. Social situations can make me incredibly anxious and the thought of getting up in front of a crowd to say something can make my face as red as my hair, no matter how important the message. Years back, I had to go around the Sunday Schools in my church and make an announcement about the need for donations for the food closet. That morning still gives me nightmares.


All of that anxiety was getting in the way of my writing. Writing itself was fine, the problem was showing it to people. That was a problem. I would take writing classes, sit in the back and try not to share. I would send a manuscript into a publisher and be almost relieved when it got rejected because it meant I wouldn’t have to promote. When my first mystery novel was accepted for publication, I had to force myself out of the house to do talks, signings and the usual promo. It was always a struggle. But this verse from Isaiah is such a comfort.


The Lord not only doesn’t want us to be afraid, He promises to be with us. Now, He doesn’t promise that I won’t say something dumb or stammer, but He’ll be there. He’s always there, listening
and helping us through. In the middle of the night when you’re up late worrying where your teen is, in the middle of the storm that sounds like it’s about to tear the roof off, and yes, in the middle of
the retirement home’s book club where I’ve gone to promote my book The Lord is there.





Christine Duncan is the author of the Kaye Berreano mystery series. She resides with her husband in Colorado. Visit Christine online at www.ChristineDuncan.com

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Week Fifty-One: Nancy Richardson

Writer's Block


“Abide in Me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.  I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” John 15:4-5 (NKJV)


A Christian trying to succeed without Jesus, would be like a writer with paper and no pen. Or having a printer with paper and no ink. The paper is nothing without the pen. The printer with paper is nothing without the ink. In both cases the paper remains blank. You have nothing.


Why is it that sometimes the words just flow onto the paper and other times nothing?


Could it be, as Christians, that we are trying work apart from Jesus? The writer without an idea can do nothing. It is a fruitless effort to put pen to paper when you have no ideas. The Christian without Jesus can do nothing to make himself bear fruit. Therefore we have to abide Him.


Abide in Christ, stay connected, and when you write you will bear much fruit.




Nancy DuBose Richardson is a born-again follower of Jesus Christ and is living in Camden, Arkansas with my husband and one child, the last of six, left at home. After teaching Sunday School class for many years she wrote and self published a 30 day devotional called "Seek First.." for her class and friends. Currently, she is working on another devotional series called "At the Kitchen Table", and one dealing with choices which is yet to be titled.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Week Fifty: Lori Soard

To Know Even One Breathed Easier




“To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one’s self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived... this is to have succeeded”.
                             —Attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson





I first came across this quote at twelve-years-old. Something about the simplicity of only having to make a difference in one single life spoke to me. If a simple, everyday act of helping someone
 breathe a bit easier makes such a difference, then how much more can we accomplish as writers, parents, artists, employees, wives, husbands, sons, daughters, and neighbors?


Shortly after discovering Emerson’s keys to success, I wrote a poem about my great-Aunt Eula’s home in a holler in the mountains of West Virginia. Aunt Eula was my mother’s favorite aunt. Walking into her simple home, which lacked running water and a television, was like stepping back in time. She wasn’t loved for her delicious apple pies, or her homemade biscuits; it was the warmth in her eyes that drew you in and made you feel as though she’d been waiting right there for you specifically to come visit her. She and the rest of my family loved the poem. It brought tears to my mother’s eyes and I realized that I had brought back fond memories from her childhood. Although I’d always written, it was around that time the light bulb, which sometimes turns on over my head, clicked on and I realized I could touch others through my writing. If I could bring back a good memory, or offer comfort to someone who was grieving, then I’d made a difference. I didn’t have to be a best-selling author; I just had to make ONE life breathe easier. That was it, just one, and I would have succeeded.


It is so easy to get caught up in the New York Shuffle. You want an agent, so you can sell to New York publishers, so you can one day be a big star. It’s very easy to lose sight of the reason you began writing in the first place. For me, it helps to carry Emerson’s poem in my wallet. I also have it framed on my desk. When I feel discouraged or wonder why I spend four hours a day writing, when I could go out and get another job paying much more, I simply read back through the poem and remember why I began writing in the first place. And, if I can change one life, make one person breathe easier, raise my children to be happy and healthy, find my true friends, or even just create a nice little garden patch, then I have accomplished my goal.




Lori Soard has been writing professionally for about eighteen years. She lives in Kentuckiana with her family, a miniature dachshund and a tortie rescue shelter cat. She writes articles, designs websites and publishes novels. Her books are available on Amazon.com. You can visit her website at www.lorisoard.com

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Week Forty-Nine: Cecil Murphey

Three Writing Prayers


“Remind me that everything I am and everything I have come as gifts from you”–Cecil Murphey




I had signed a contract to ghostwrite a book, completed the interviews, and read all the background information. Then came the time to hibernate with my computer. The first six chapters flowed with energy. After that, the quality of the writing diminished. By the tenth chapter, I wondered why I had agreed to write such a book. By chapter fifteen, I was positive the publishing house would demand I repay the advance.


It wasn’t my first book—in fact, I had published more than fifty books—but this one was different. Doubts brought struggles I hadn’t felt before. What made me think I could write anyway? For nearly a month, each day I fought the temptation to stop; however, I stayed at the task and completed the manuscript because I had signed a contract. I went over the pages several times. It wasn’t good, but I didn’t know how to make it better. Finally, I said, “God, this is the best I can do at this stage of my development.” The writing could become better, but I didn’t know how to make it better then.


That simple statement freed me. The publisher didn’t ask for the return of the advance and liked what I wrote. That was in 1990, and the book was Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story. It still remains in print with about two million copies sold. I’m sure I could write it better today, but it was the best I could do then.


That was the first of three prayers I repeat each time I work on a new project.


A second prayer dates to the year 2000. I wrote a book; my agent loved it; at least a dozen editors said they’d like to publish it, but none of them made an offer. The subject matter wasn’t something they wanted to handle. I grieved over that book because I had put so much of my heart into writing it. One day, I heard myself praying, “God, I am passionately involved in the process but emotionally detached from the result.”


I must have repeated that sentence ten times, but I was able to let the manuscript go. The book still has not been published, but I know I wrote it passionately, and that day I emotionally detached from the result.


My third prayer came about after an editor called me a gifted writer. His words shocked me. And yet, even editors who turn down my manuscripts frequently comment on how well written they are. One day I realized that God gave me the ability to write well. Until then, I considered my writing as something I could do, worked hard at the craft, and loved the process. That’s when I asked, “God, is this a gift?”


In retrospect, it seems like a silly question. The facts that (a) I love to write, (b) I have published a hundred books, and (c) I still love learning how to improve indicate that God gave me this talent. Here is the prayer I repeat regularly: “Remind me that everything I am and everything I have come as gifts from you. That statement may not be profound, but it is true and it expresses how I feel about my writing."

.




Veteran author Cecil (Cec) Murphey has written or cowritten more than 135 books, including the New York Times bestseller 90 Minutes in Heaven (with Don Piper) and Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story (with Dr. Ben Carson). His books have sold in the millions and have brought hope and encouragement to countless people around the world. For more information, visit www.cecilmurphey.com.

Sunday, September 14, 2014