Reflections In Hindsight

Grace in the Rearview Mirror…it's closer than it appears

  • Ephesians 4:29

    Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (NIV)

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      We're happy to have you visit today, Terri, and looking forward to reading your answers to our questions! Is there a story behind your book Making Eye Contact with God?Oh my, yes. This book was the result of encounter I had with a sparrow. I was home alone when I heard a commotion; a sparrow had trapped itself between our storm and regular window. He fr […]
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      Book Blurb:What kind of eyes do you have?Are they downcast and sad, or are they full of God’s passion?This weekly devotional, for women only, enables you to really see God in a new and fresh way.Using real life anecdotes, combined with scripture, author Terri Gillespie reveals God’s heart for women everywhere, as she softly speaks of the ways in which women […]
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      2014 LAUREL AWARD WINNERAuthor Ruth Reid's novel A MIRACLE OF HOPEis the winner of Clash of the Titles's fourth annual Laurel Award.CONGRATULATIONS, RUTH!Ruth will receive the following: a beautiful banner to display on her website; a year-long page on COTT dedicated to the winning book, A Miracle of Hope; a "Heart of the Matter" radio in […]
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      I’ve reviewed a lot of books, especially romances, so original plots such as this one are rare.When Serena Gray’s husband died she learned in a letter of a secret he kept. It divulged he had a child years earlier from a fling during his youth.  When Serena meets up with handsome Adam, a widower, she soon realizes that Adam’s daughter, Niki is her husband’s c […]
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    Thank you for your encouragement and support for the past three years. We've had fun connecting with you and hope you've found useful material here on Reflections. And here's the but... Reflections In Hindsight is closing on December 21, 2012. Elaine and Sophie and I can be found over at http://authorculture.blogspot.com; April can be found at Clash of the Titles, http://www.clashofthetitles, http://www.aprilgardner.com and watch for news for more novels from her!; Janet is ever-present on the Internet with her very special words of wisdom and grace at http://www.janetperezeckles.com, and Luther--who knows where he'll show up next, but I'd watch my back if I were you... Book Reviews are always important, so I, Lisa, will continue to offer them through my blog, as well as those promotions for your new books or book launches, or your news.
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Archive for the ‘Friendship’ Category

Off Into the Sunset

Posted by Lisa Lickel on December 19, 2012

It’s my last post here at Reflections in Hindsight…a good time to Reflect.

Since we started this blog back in May of 2010  we’ve had roughly 850-some posts, 65+ thousand page views, fourteen contributors that have come and gone and lots of guests. The most popular contributor still is Ben Ehrlichman, who left a while back. Shows you what great headlines do for posts…and fun, thoughtful posts. The obituary of Mr. Squirrel is still a favorite of mine.

Our most popular post was one this past fall; an author visit by Carmen Peone outswamped all our former stats for a visit. Elaine’s insightful shares on her colonial research have been very popular and helpful.

The top search words this morning at 8 am:

Search Views
james bond 2
colonial school 2
books pen 2
lutherd samson 1
sorcerer’s apprentice mickey mouse 1
moving animations someone on the phone 1
elisha bible 1
ingredient card 1
kleenex 1
Other search terms 4

We offered hundreds of book reviews, a lot of marketing advice gleaned mostly from the best of the ‘net; enjoyed a lot of promotions with new friends and old.

Most of all, we’ve tried to encourage you, the readers and authors out there who want to see something positive on the Internet. It’s been fun and a challenge for me, but it’s time to move on. Thank you! Merry Christmas and many blessings in the New Year.

Posted in Authors, Encouragment, Friendship | Comments Off

Slow Your Heart

Posted by Luther D. Powell on December 6, 2012

Another college semester is near its end, and with every end comes a variety of emotions. No semester seems to end on a bland note. Maybe that’s just me, but luckily, this semester’s end is looking quite bright, and I’ve found happiness in my work and my friendships. In my battle with depression over the past few years, I would tell people, “I have my good nights and my bad nights.” However, in the past month or so, I can’t recall having what I would consider a “bad night.”

Still, I come to this sort of happiness and it’s almost like I don’t know what to do with it. I don’t know how to react to it, because it’s been a while since it’s stuck around long enough for me to notice. My emotions reach a new height, but they come to a screeching halt when I realize I don’t know what to do with myself in this state.

My initial thought is to give thanks to God for providing me with this happiness, so I pray. I pray and pray and pray and give thanks until I run out of words, but my mind is still restless, trying to find an appropriate way to express how I feel.

So, what must I do? Have I literally been TOO happy lately? Does anyone around me even notice a difference? Is there supposed to be a difference? What do I do with this? How do I react?

Well, for anyone who has a similar issue, vague as it may sound, I believe it’s time to slow your heart. We’ve all let our emotions drive us from time to time, and I think I’ve spent so long letting negative emotion linger in me that I’m at a loss for logic. I’m happy now, but there’s still one thing I feel I should do to truly feel happy, to feel joyful. I need to slow my heart.

I need to find peace in my Lord, in His love for me, in His will for me. When a friend or family member gives you a gift, do you just thank them and run off? No! You thank them, then spend time with them. To me, it’s the same deal with God. God will bless you in ways you won’t even notice, and if you just thank Him and try to move on with your life without any sense of direction, your happiness will meet its limit soon after.

Another way to explain would be to compare this to a first date. On my first date, and many dates following with the same girl for that matter, my heart used to beat like crazy for hours. So much so that it made me physically sick. I couldn’t even eat anything when I was this girl because I was too excited to be with her! I think it’s easy to get so excited over what God does for you that you don’t take a moment to sit and rest your heart. You can’t concentrate, you can’t interact calmly, you can’t stop running around in circles. It’s okay to get excited, but we need peace as well. We need to slow our hearts.

So, try to find peace with God when He blesses you. Spend time with Him. Don’t just tell Him you’re thankful, show Him you’re thankful! Read The Word, soak it in, spend time in silence thinking on it. I hope this made sense to anybody other than me, thanks for reading, cheers and God bless!

In Christ,

Luther D. Powell

Posted in Encouragment, Friendship, Happiness, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

I’m Thankful For…

Posted by Luther D. Powell on November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate it! I figured the best way to go about tonight’s blog would be to go generic. Why not descibe some things I’m thankful for, right?

First and foremost, I’m thankful for Jesus Christ. To me, He is many things; God, Savior, Friend, The Creator. I could fill this whole post with just His names, but I want to express my thanks for the things He has made and done for me. For one thing, I can’t thank Him enough for His forgiveness, and saving me (and the rest of the world, for that matter) from sin. I’m thankful for His endless love, His goodness, and the fullness my heart receives when I pursue Him.

I’m thankful for the family I was born into, and the family I continue to adopt in Christ. I’m thankful for my awesome parents and how they’ve provided for me all my life. I’m thankful for my two older sisters, whom, despite the regular distance between all of us, have always helped me grow as a person.

I’m thankful for friends. Best friends, semi-close friends, acquaintances, anyone I come into contact with who doesn’t immediately try to kill me. I’m always learning, and anyone who treats me with either respect or disrespect is going to teach me something. Those who show me love, whom I love, I am most thankful for. I can’t imagine a life without any friends. They help me stay who I am, and help me keep from being who I shouldn’t be.

I am thankful for music. My ability to hear it, my ability to make it. Metal music is my favorite, but I can enjoy anything with a pleasant tune and/or agreeable lyrics. God really knew what He was doing when He blessed mankind with the means and talents to create such wonderful sounds.

I’m also thankful for art in general, all sorts. Again, being able to make art is great. If I had no way to express some of the things on my mind, I feel like my head would probably explode. That goes for drawing, writing, anything one may call art. I hope my art and writing can inspire anyone else as much as the world’s has inspired me.

I’m thankful for my cat. Because… why shouldn’t I be thankful for my cat?

I’m thankful for the miracle of technology. For computers, cell phones, video games, internet, webcams, photography, television, refrigerators, toilets! I was lucky enough to live in a generation which got to see the arrival of a whole world of technology that people twenty years ago weren’t exposed to and people twenty years from now will think is prehistoric. Without Facebook –without internet!- I wouldn’t have gotten my first few stories published, nor would I have met a great community of writer-friends in the process of starting my career. I have access to so many people near and far with today’s technology, and for that, I am thankful.

I am thankful for nourishment. Food, drinks, caffeine. I try not to overindulge myself, but I sure do like being able to eat what I want, when I want, how I want.

I’m thankful for sleep, and for dreams. Dreams make sleep fun, and sleep makes me… normal?

I’m thankful for pillows and blankets.

I’m thankful for clothes. I like being warm, and I like being stylish.

I’m thankful for my ability to grow a beard.

I’m thankful for Bruce Willis movies, ‘cause he’s awesome.

I’m thankful for Godzilla.

I’m thankful for hugs and kisses.

I’m thankful for new places to travel.

I’m thankful for mysteries and adventures.

I’m thankful for books, reading, information, words and eyeballs.

I’m thankful for glasses. Having to wear them is a drag, but they keep my world from looking like a messy, blurry blob.

I’m thankful for fingernails. You never notice how useful they are until you let them grow a little bit.

I’m thankful for trees. They help us breathe, they’re pretty, and climbing on them is fun.

I’m thankful for comfy chairs.

I’m thankful for animals. All of them. Well, maybe all of them except for mosquitoes.

I’m thankful for transportation. Cars, boats, planes, trains, all that good stuff. Feet are nice too, but they don’t cross oceans very easily.

I’m thankful for senses. How could we do anything without them, you know?

I’m thankful for time limits, and for eternity. Time limits give me a reason to work faster, or slower, to decide when to begin and when to end. And eternity? It gives me a reason to stick around.

In Christ,

Luther D. Powell

Posted in Encouragment, Family, Friendship, Happiness, Inspiration, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Day in the Life Of…

Posted by Luther D. Powell on November 15, 2012

It occurred to me in the middle of work this morning that I had to write a blog for today! Whoops! Sometimes, my entire week slurs together and I forget that certain days happen when I have to do things and stuff, it’s confusing. In the midst of my morning confusion, I decided I would just write about my day. ‘Cause I figured… I can do that.

I woke up around 10:30, fell asleep, and woke up again, probably several times. If you added up the collection of moments this happens during my life now, there would be like three whole years or so composed entirely of me struggling to decide when to wake up. I was officially up by 11.

Would have had time for breakfast, but I spent a full five minutes staring blankly at my computer screen, fighting the desire to post an interesting Facebook status update. I’m ashamed to admit, this happens on a fairly regular basis, mostly because part of me feels obligated, if I’m on Facebook, to post about what’s REALLY on my mind, considering, that’s the question in the little box when you first log in. It’s my duty to let my friends know how I’m doing, right? HAHA!

So I sit for a while, pondering, “What IS on my mind?” before concluding that most of the things on my mind would probably erase my ‘friend list’ in a heartbeat. No, seriously. I’m a horror author. If I just went around telling everybody what was going on in my head, people probably wouldn’t like me very much. I eventually decided not to post anything, then realized I no longer had time to throw together a peanutbutter sandwich.

I tossed on my work uniform: black, dress pants –check. Orange polo, still kind of stiff from the sweat of last shift –check. Nametag –check. Hat –check. You’ll note that I didn’t shower today; you’d think that, working in food service, being clean –REALLY clean, is crucial. At my campus food court, that’s not quite the case. Really, wearing a hat for 4+ hours, to me, just means nobody can tell that I haven’t washed my hair in a while. And bathing everything else? Well, that’s a little pointless when you wash dishes for hours and get food waste plastered all over yourself.

Brushed my teeth after getting dressed. Gathered what I needed for my drawing class which follows work. That took longer than expected, and with eight minutes before the start of my shift, I booked it to work. On a normal morning, my walk to work takes a solid ten minutes. My apartment isn’t far from the campus food court, so that’s nice. However, when I have to half-walk half-sprint in bursts to make sure I keep my record of punctuality, that’s not so nice.

My record of not-being-late has not been broken yet.

At work, I shuffled into an apron, clocked in, looked over the beverage coolers. They were already full, so I headed to the dish machine and started washing. Luckily, today, two other workers were sent to dish because there was nothing else for them to do. We tackled a rather intimidating pile of dishes in about an hour. I had earned myself a well-deserved lunch break.

For lunch, I ate a big ol’ stack of pierogies with an ice cold Coca-Cola (for those of you who don’t know, pierogies are Polish dumplings filled with  mashed potatoes and cheese. Basically Heaven in your mouth). I sat alone and  ate, watching customers pass me by, wondering what they would eat, smiling casually at those who looked over.

After break, I returned to the beverage coolers to find that a few slots had been emptied. That was my cue. I mounted my trusty steed –the stocking cart, and rolled into the stocking room, where all the bottled drinks are stored. With clipboard in hand, everything I needed written down, I started loading the cart full of drinks. I spent another forty minutes or so putting those drinks in the coolers.

The rest of work consisted of scraping old food gunk out of the inside of garbage cans. Not much to say about that.

Once work was over, I had a few minutes to browse Reddit.com, one of my favorite websites. It’s for posting pictures, funny stuff, news articles, basically anything. Scrolled through the ‘photography’ section, which just has a bunch of cool, inspiring pictures.

At 3:30, I headed to my drawing class. In which, I drew things. But not just any things. I drew my cat, because I did not feel like working on the project we were supposed to be working on. Call me a bad student, but I plan to do the next project in ink and water, and that’s not very easy to transport on foot. And, my instructor liked my cat drawing.

When I returned to my apartment after class, I entered a cloud of the sweetest-smelling aroma of grilled cheese and tomato soup. My roommate had a guest over and was cooking dinner with her, and offered to make me a sandwich. I took him up on that offer with glee. The sandwich –grilled cheese with chicken- was delicious.

By the time I had finished my sandwich, my roommate and his guest had already left to go do…stuff, I don’t know where they went. So, apartment’s empty. Know what that means?

DRUM MYSELF INTO A COMA TIME!!!

Which is exactly what I did. Drums. Then naptime. When I woke up, I typed this, and now I’m posting it. Later tonight, I’ll probably draw some more, catch up on my NaNo wordcount (I confess, I’m too embarrassed to post my wordcount here for all to see. It’s pathetic), and I might hang out with some friends if they show up like they normally do after the Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru) meeting. I used to go to those, but choose not to now, for reasons I might explain another day. My friends who go usually come over to the apartment afterwards. If they don’t, more drawing, more writing. Maybe some reading in there, we’ll see. Bedtime anywhere from 3 am to 7 am. No, I’m not kidding. My brain works best during those hours.

So, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my day. If I had anything else interesting to talk about, I would have posted about that, and not my day. So yes, I legitimately hope you got anything out of this. Cheers and God bless!

In Christ,

Luther D. Powell

Posted in Friendship, Life Experiences, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Three secrets to choosing a good friend.

Posted by janeteckles on November 10, 2012

By Janet Perez Eckles

Do you have a friend who is just about perfect? You know what I mean—she has hair to die for, gorgeous skin, wears killer clothes and always smells divine?

I have one of those friends. But rather than hate her, I admire her…she’s so very special!

So I said to her. “I wish I could be like you. “ I sighed. “Tall and statuesque.”

“Ha! Look at you” she said with a giggle. “And what are you? A size zero?”

We laughed. “NO,” I said, “Four petite.”

“Good. Because anyone who wears a size zero is not my friend.”

We both giggled like high school girls.

But what she said was quite profound. You and I should do the same—refuse to have friends who wear zero—in the encouragement department, that is. A friend who offers zero support. A friend who offers zero empathy. Zero wisdom. Zero understanding and nada of genuine love. Those are taken off our list of friends.

Conversely, if you want to be a friend with an extra-large amount of wisdom and love, here are the secrets to be that kind of friend:

1. Evaluate what you bring to the friendship: understanding, joy, positive thoughts and attitudes.

2. Be slow to criticize. To keep count of wrongs. To react without thinking. And to discourage.

3. Be quick to praise. To uplift the spirits. To highlight the good. To be available. And to surprise with sweet gestures.

And when talking about what size of love we wear in our heart, our words are the measuring stick: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:2).

Father, grant me the wisdom to speak all that is edifying, encouraging, uplifting and honoring to you. Make me the friend Jesus is—with genuine love and sincere giving. In Jesus’ name, amen.

• How do your friends enrich your life?
• Are you the kind of friend you want to be?
• What criteria do you use to evaluate friends?

Janet

Cheering you on to experience life, harvest its lessons and share their outcome.

Posted in Encouragment, Friendship, Inspiration, Life Experiences | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Five secrets to make our travel safe.

Posted by janeteckles on November 3, 2012

By Janet Perez Eckles

“Do you remember that time we were in an Arkansas?” my friend asked me on the phone.

“We had a great time.”

“I mean the drive to the country home from the airport,” she said. “That was the darkest road ever. It was black.”

“That was one of the most adventurous trips for sure,” I said.

“But even when it was so dark, I felt better because you were with me,” she added.

What a sweet friend…but felt better with me? What good would a blind friend be to her on a pitch black road?

We both laughed for a long while.

But reality isn’t as funny. While on the road of life, we bring along the wrong person—our insecurities. We invite whom we shouldn’t—our negativity. We pursue what isn’t the best—superficial longings. And we trust in others’ wisdom.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. During the journey, here are five ways to make sure you have the best companion for a safe trip:

1. Bring someone who can see the road ahead.
2. Make sure that person has knowledge of the surroundings, the turns and danger points.
3. Determine if that person has traveled that road before.
4. Know that you can trust in that person should your vehicle break down.
5. Be certain that person can take over at any time.

And if you find this person to be anyone else but the Lord—trouble and danger ahead. The road will be dark. Each turn will be dangerous. And the fatal cliff is waiting at the next curve.

But if you can invite Jesus on the journey…if you can relax as He’s beside you, then, no matter how dark the road is, your soul will whisper: “Great peace has those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble” (Psalm 119.165).

Father, often the road is black, no way out, no signs or lights to guide the way. Teach me to love your law, your precepts and ways. I will have peace, I will trust in your companionship, in your navigating and I shall not get lost, fall or stumble. In Jesus’ name I thank you, amen.

• What road are you on now?
• Who’s guiding your path?
• Who will bring reassurance for the journey?

Janet
Cheering you on to experience life, harvest its lessons and share their outcome.

Posted in Anxiety, Encouragment, Friendship, Inspiration, Life Experiences | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Grabbing Those Stories – Inteviewing older people

Posted by Lisa Lickel on October 17, 2012

I gave a talk last weekend, and afterward a member of the audience told me she was inspired by my encouragement to write your own story, to not let those stories go with you when you’re gone. If you leave nothing but an echo for the next generation, there are many who will thank you.

As a local historian, I’ve been pleased to interview many people, and participate in an on-going high school collaboration to collect oral histories. English teacher Kevin Chambers has included this project in his curriculum every few years. He brings a class over to our community hall where students are matched with seniors for interviews. The students write up the story, any pictures are included, and a booklet is made up for the participating seniors. The historical society also keeps a copy, and wow–there are a lot of happy people all around.

Know someone you’d love to interview? A family member or interesting and agreeable neighbor? Here are some hints for getting a good interview.

  • Make sure the interviewee knows this is an interview.
  • Schedule a good day where no one is rushed; be flexible for health and weather issues.
  • Have plenty of paper and pencils/pens. A recorder is nice if the person agrees. A camera is a good idea. A camcorder is best, again – if the person agrees.  ALWAYS ASK PERMISSION. There is no need to be sneaky about it.
  • Ask ahead of time if there are pictures the person is willing to share. It’s best if you can bring a portable scanner, or scan the pictures in the person’s sight. Those keepsakes are difficult to let go of.
  • Have a glass of water handy. And tissues. Memories are powerful emotional events. Be prepared for them.
  • Have some idea of what you want to know from the person. If possible, don’t spend more than a couple of hours at a time, and make sure the person can write down more memories or call you when they surface. Schedule more than one visit, say over a month’s time, if possible.

 

Here are some basic starter questions. Often, these questions are just starting points to get folks to remember some details, and talk about things they wouldn’t have considered significant or historically important. Add your own. In fact – Let’s share!

Tell me about your house.  Who lived there and when.

Tell us about your bedroom; – who slept where in the house and what was it like?

Who got up first and what did they do/chores. (If appropriate, personal habits, such as bath, washing up, outhouse or indoor plumbing, etc.)

(Just go through their day) – what did you normally have for breakfast (meals)?

Who made the meals – do you remember where the food came from (store, garden, salesman)

who was the usual purchaser?  Any advertising or slogans that you recall?

About the house: electricity, gas, what type of heat, stove, refrigeration, appliances, etc.

What do you remember about the yard/driveway, grounds, around your house?

What were your clothes like – where did you get them, did you feel like you followed the fashions or not, or did you care?  What about your other family members?

Was there any weather type: flood, storms, heat waves, cold, etc. that stand out in your memory?

Did you or anyone in your house have any pets?

Tell us about the various vehicles your family used.

School – who took you, what you liked, disliked.

Entertainment – games you played, jokes, stories you told and who told/listened at what time of day?  Musical instruments? Did/do you belong to any clubs or organizations? Pen pals?  Neighbors get together?

Were there any special family celebrations, or an outstanding unusual activity that you recall?  What did your family do at holiday times?

Hobbies/favorite activities, books, shows, etc., of yourself or others in your life.

Tell us what you remember about your neighbors/ friends.

Did you go to church – where, what was it like?

Did your family use medical services, and if so, what were those experiences like?

Where did your family do their shopping?

What did you do after high school? Young adult years – career – military service – marriage, if any – post children in the home, if any – retirement.

Were there customs, ideas, that you followed from your childhood into adulthood?

What would you like people to remember about you or your family?

 

 

Posted in Encouragment, Friendship, Life Experiences, Writing | 3 Comments »

Why I Like Halloween So Much

Posted by Luther D. Powell on October 4, 2012

I’d like to start with a thought or two on last night’s presidential debate

HAHA!!! Just kidding. I’m gonna talk about Halloween.

I couldn’t tell you why everybody celebrates this holiday, because I haven’t done a ton of research on it. Correct me if I’m wrong, but what I remember is that “All Hallow’s Eve” originally had to do with honoring deceased ancestors and celebrating the harvast. I can’t lay out a solid reason why people celebrate it in this generation, but I can throw in my two cents on why people like it so much.

So, it’s definitely not like Christmas, where you’re celebrating the birth of Christ/winter solstice, depending on what you believe, and where families gather around a big tree opening and giving gifts, and eating Christmas dinners. No Nativity scenes, Santas or reindeer decorations.

It isn’t like Easter either. If you celebrate Easter, it’s common to dress your best for an Easter Sunday church service, which I guess could be compared to dressing in costumes, but also not. Halloween has no Easter Bunny or peeps or egg hunts or Easter baskets. There IS a lot of candy, though.

It’s not like Thanksgiving, where most families get together and eat until they can’t walk anymore.

Halloween has no mascot like Santa or the Easter Bunny. It doesn’t usually have huge feasts like Christmas or Thanksgiving. Doesn’t usually involve giving or getting presents. Why do people like Halloween, anyway?

When I was very young, I didn’t care too much about Halloween, to be honest. My parents didn’t let me go Trick-R-Treating until I was in seventh grade. Their reasoning was a combination of keeping me safe from neighborhood crazies and, at the time, not letting me do what most other parents in my church were keeping their kids from doing because Halloween got flak for being “evil” and whatnot. Maybe it still does, but when I was little, Christians didn’t even talk about Halloween. I even have a faint memory of a buddy from church once telling me, “My mom doesn’t let me celebrate Halloween because she said it’s Satan’s birthday.”

I’m pretty sure Halloween wouldn’t be very popular in the USA if it were commonly agreed to be the birthdate of the devil, but maybe I’m wrong. People unknowingly celebrate the devil all the time. To me, a holiday is what you make of it. When I finally got my taste of Halloween and the joy of having my candy bag filled to the brim, it was beautiful. The simplicity of dressing in costume, getting lots of candy and watching scary movies with friends almost made it not feel like a holiday, but knowing that it returned every year made me hopeful every October.

My reasons for enjoying Halloween may have changed over the years, but now it’s come to this. It’s not all about the candy, though candy is great –especially when it all goes on sale! I could say a lot of it has to do with the costumes and creepy stuff, but that’s not the root of it either. See, I like creepy stuff one way or another, and Halloween is just a way of expressing that without shame. I have an extremely morbid sense of humor and I love monsters, ghosts and ghoulies, so I let those interests run wild on Halloween. Costume parties are also fun, even if all I ever do at my own is dress up and sit around watching scary movies (a lot of people tend to dress up and do… other things). To me, the best part of Halloween is fellowship with friends. Kind of a cliche reason, but think about it.

At Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and all other holidays except Halloween, who do you spend the most time with? For me, it’s my family. Which is nice. I like my family. I think my family’s pretty cool. Sometimes, my friends throw Christmas parties and get together also, but in the seasons where everyone is traveling to see family, it’s hard to set up fun times with friends only. Halloween, all friend time. I can have friend time whenever I want to, but Halloween is an excuse to bring people together to do stuff that I pretty much only ever do alone on a regular basis: watch scary movies and dress in costumes –er, eat candy. Not everybody likes creepy stuff, but when I can get a crowd of friends together to enjoy such things, it makes me feel great. My friends might not invest their time in the same things I do, but they’ll invest in each other and they’ll invest in me and I in them. I have so much fun at Halloween because when everybody else dresses up as some character they like or whatever, I get to be my regular, weird self and not feel judged or ashamed of it. When everyone else wears a mask, my mask comes off.

That might sound sad, but as a horror author, I’m constantly taking into consideration how many people don’t spend time delving into the macabre, so I don’t go out of my way to talk about it. At Halloween, that’s all you see: monsters and ghosts and jack-o-lanterns (which are also fun to carve). People talk about the ‘dark stuff’ because it’s impossible to ignore it, but I like to use the season as an opportunity to bring up the afterlife and salvation in Jesus. Sometimes, to see the light, people need to see the dark first, and that’s exactly how I plan to write horror that could bring people to Christ. Halloween works the same way, AND you get candy.

Here’s a picture of me and my best friend dressed as a two-headed monster for Halloween. Thanks for reading, cheers and God bless!

In Christ,

Luther D. Powell

Posted in Friendship, Life Experiences, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Greetings From Me, Sophie Dawson

Posted by Sophie Dawson on September 10, 2012

Hi, I’m Sophie Dawson, a new contributing author to Reflections, so I thought I would introduce myself. This is my pen name. I chose Sophie since it means wisdom. I’m not claiming any but rather hoping I can pass on the wisdom God has revealed through His Word and my reflecting on it and how He has worked in my life. Now for the shameless plug. If you would like to see the entire reason why I chose to have a pen name it’s available on my website About Me page.

I’ve been married over 36 years to the same man and have two grown sons, one daughter-in-law (also grown) and one beautiful granddaughter (not grown but almost two). We live on a family farm in rural western Illinois. Not Chicago, the other Illinois.

Details about what I’ve done in my life you can find on the bio page, I think. If not I’ll get the info there shortly.

Right now my focus is following God’s purpose for me in writing Historical Christian Fiction. My stories of faithful living aim to show that making your choices, acting and reacting as God would have us does work. Even when the choices given can lead to temporary pain by choosing what is right leads to blessings and growth in the how closely we follow Christ.

Another shameless plug. You can find out more about my writing and books at my website.

I’ll be posting here the second Monday of each month. I hope you’ll find my writing enjoyable and worth your time. Aside from my almost weekly blogging on my site (see link above) I also contribute on the 13th of each month on The Barn Door.

So… Please accept my hand of friendship. I’m excited to share reflections of my life and learning hopefully with grace, in agreement with God’s Word and maybe a little humor with the occasional shameless plug.

See you next month.

Posted in Friendship | 1 Comment »

Giving Chances and Hugs

Posted by Luther D. Powell on September 6, 2012

I apologize for my posts getting so late nowadays; classes and work make it hard for me to get this done earlier in the day.

In a recent post of mine, “Smile and Wave Basis,” I mentioned how making friends in this age is kind of a weird deal. Maybe you’re introduced to new people by those you’re already friends with. Maybe you work with someone you get along with and you gradually become closer through interaction at work. Maybe you exchanged brief words with a stranger, and the moment lasted just long enough for you to see something in them you wanted to know more about. Either way, Facebook happens. Or Twitter, or Skype, or MySpace (if anybody even still uses that). Once that’s settled, friendships vary in smoothness.

So what happens when a person wants to be friends with you and you don’t really want to be friends with them? That DOES happen to people other than me, right? ‘Cause if not, I’m gonna go crawl into a hole and never come out until I’ve read The Bible 50 times in a row or something for feeling so guilty. Seriously, it happens. I know it happens, not just because it happens to me, but because… it happens to me. But, the other way around. People don’t always want to be my friend :gasp!: I get it, sometimes I come off weird, my interests are a little on the morbid side, metal is not a widely-accepted  genre of music and not everyone loves Godzilla as much as I do. If someone turns down friendship with me, I’ll get over it.

Back to the other end of the spectrum. I’ve learned to give friendship a chance with just about anybody over the years. Partly because, I’ve noticed that adults (I mean, older-than-22-adults) don’t seem to ‘hang out’ with friends a whole lot. I see it happen, but it seems rare from my perspective. People age, they grow more independent of community and friendship, start families, work and accomplish stuff. Because my freetime dwindles as I age, I want to make as many friends and have fun with as many people as I can while I still can.

The other reason I try to be open about friendship is that, quite frankly, I know what it’s like to get turned down once in a while. No, not by girls (I mean, I do, but…nottalkingaboutthisrightnow). I know how much it hurts to want to be friends with somebody who doesn’t want that friendship, and I’ve seen what that sort of thing can do to people.

I wanted to bring this up because I’ve been around a some people who don’t seem to have many friends. I say I try to accept people with differences, oddities, what have you, but honestly, the more people I get to know, the more I learn from those differences that push so many other people away. I don’t really have to try, because I want to learn. I hang out with folks who might not have that many other friends, not because I feel sorry for them, but because I want to hang out with them. I like being around them, I like hearing what they have to say, I laugh at their quirks and I want to share Christ’s love with them. All the while I have to wonder, why doesn’t anybody else give these people a chance? If I ‘turn down’ a friendship these days, it’s usually when I see something in the person which is potentially harmful to my mental, emotional and spiritual health. I’ve realized that it takes a lot for one person to ‘harm’ me in so many ways, so I give people chances. I do it, I enjoy it, I love my friends and they make me happy. Why can’t these people have other friends too? Why can’t other people want to be friends with my friends? Why doesn’t anybody else give them a chance?

I’m usually pretty scatterbrained with these posts, but my point in this one is fairly simple: give people a chance. If I’ve learned anything as a Christian in the past few years, it’s that giving chances is everything. People won’t want to hear what we have to say if we’re not listening to them either. They won’t accept us if we won’t accept them, and they probably won’t accept HIM either. If Christ lives in us, then what we show to others is what they will see of Him. If we show them nothing, they’ll see nothing. Jesus hung out with the lowest of the low, and called us to do the same. However, I don’t think He asked us to do that to say that there are people actually ‘lower’ than we are. None of us are perfect. We may choose not to befriend someone because we think they’re a ‘weirdo,’ but guess what? That weirdo is you. That weirdo is me. We’re all weirdos, and we can learn so much from each other, whether the differences are in beliefs or personalities or whatever.

I want to end this with a bit of conversation I had with a friend who, to my knowledge, is not a Christian. I was talking to this friend about another friend I was having troubles communicating with. I was saying to this friend about the other, “I don’t know how to talk to them anymore. About God, about life, anything. What do I do?” My friend replied, “Don’t waver.”

Don’t waver. Those were such powerful words to me then, and they still hit me whenever I think about giving up on people who are different from me. If you let go of them, they’ll let go of you. Give people –friends- a chance, because God gave you a chance.

On a final-final note, I received a hug in the middle of work today from a friend I’m not even very close with, and I must say, it made my whole day. So, give hugs too. Hugs mean everything. Cheers and God bless!

In Christ,

Luther D. Powell

Posted in Encouragment, Friendship, Life Experiences, Living Our Faith Out Loud, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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