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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    • Cinema Saturday-- The 41 Most Unexpected Cat Jumps of All Time
      Why do jumping cats freak us out so much? And why do we laugh so hard at people who are freaking out?I'm one of those awkward laughers--someone who laughs at inappropriate times, such as when my husband does the splits on an icy sidewalk or when my child runs smack-dab into a doorpost. Unfortunately, compassion is not my go-to emotion. I do eventually f […]
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    • Mississippi Nights by D M Webb
      Two brothers, one death—the bond of brotherhood faces its greatest challenge against resentment and guilt.Can the love between two brothers eventually win against pain and guilt?When Firefighter David Boyette’s fiancée perishes in a car fire, he blames his brother, Sgt. Jeremy Boyette, for her death.Three years later, David returns home with a dark and devas […]
    • An Excited Welcome to Diane and David Munson!
      I'm thrilled to welcome mult-published authors David & Diane Munson to the Barn Door Book Loft! I've read their books and enjoy the plots and their talent! David, Diane: Can you tell us a bit about your family, and what it is like where you live?It’s interesting that you ask that question. Facing Justice was our debut novel and the publisher as […]
    • Facing Justice by Diane and David Munson
      Back CoverExFeds, former Federal prosecutor Diane Munson and former undercover Federal Special Agent David Munson draw on their true-life experiences in this debut suspense novel about Special Agent Eva Montanna, whose twin sister died at the Pentagon on 9/11. Eva dedi cates her career to avenge her death while investi gating Emile Jubayl, a member of Eva’s […]
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    • July New Releases Clash
      Here at Clash of the Titles, the end of another month calls for the beginning of another Clash.We present to you five brand new novels for your perusing pleasure. Which would you pick up first? Let us know by casting your vote below! Check back here on Thursday, September 4th for the contest results.Big secrets never stay hidden, and it’s the darkest ones th […]
    • O'Barr's Latest: Tender Shadows
      Author Ann Gaylia O'Barr visits today!She brings with her, in the form of her latest novel, all her experience as a Foreign Service officer in the turbulent Middle East. Tender Shadows is one of seven such novels and will appeal to lovers of foreign lands, culture, adventure, and romance.PURCHASEAmazonAbout Tender Shadows:When Beth Wilhite’s U.S. State […]
    • "A Place in His Heart," a New World Romance!
      Today's featured novel,A PLACE IN HIS HEART is a historical romance authored by Rebecca DeMarino. It's her debut novel and book one of The Southold Chronicles."I hope my readers find pure entertainment! I hope they enjoy the love story, with all of the ups and downs of Mary and Barnabas. I hope they get lost in a time period that was so far di […]
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    • Taking A Break
      If you are a regular reader you'll know I didn't post last week. We had just gotten home from vacation. Yellowstone National Park is fantastic. You know how things go when you get back. Well, that was the way it was for me. Add in an unplanned dental event and an 8 hour round trip to Chicago for a TV interview about Seeing The Life and you can prob […]
    • Sin Still Makes You Stupid and Your Stupidity  Ripples, Floods, or Tsunamis  
      A couple of years ago I wrote posts entitled Sin Makes You Stupid and The Ripple Effect. It's one of those truths that seem to be forgotten or glossed over. It's a truth we should be aware of and watch for within ourselves and others. The stupidity of sinning overflows into the lives of others. The consequences to ourselves is often increased expon […]
    • What's Next?
      Seeing The Life is off to a great start. It is garnering 5 star reviews and good publicity. Rhubarb Fest this year was good, even though I don't eat rhubarb. I left at noon on Saturday when the radar showed rain coming. I didn't want the books I had to get wet.So, what's next? I keep getting asked that question. When's your next book comi […]
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    • Lindsey Paley's new book, The Wish List Addiction
      Now, how can you not stop and ask about this intriguing title?Lisa: Lindsey, tell us about the book.Lindsey: Lots of us make lists - some of us, like Rebecca, draw up lots of different lists. There's the daily 'To Do' list, the carefully researched 'Wish List' and the 'Bucket List'. They are a safety net for our overloaded […]
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      Just Over the HorizonSusan Rush c. July, 2014 Astrea PressInspirational fiction e-book, 250 pp $3.99 Buy on Amazonalso on Kobo From the Publisher: While grieving the death of her eccentric nana, Sarah discovers an unexpected gift. She soon grows dependent on the heirloom, a little box, for comfort and guidance. Feeling restless and needing a change, Sarah ac […]
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      My friend Pearl Nsiah-Kumi, who is a multi-published Christian Author, has put together an inspiring book for us, Get On Board and Stay On Board. It is a collection of poems, short articles and short Bible studies based on scripture, to encourage non-Christians to place their faith in Jesus, and also to support Christians to have a closer relationship with G […]
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    • BOOK REVIEW: FLABBERGASTED BY RAY BLACKSTON
      From the moment I started this book by Ray Blackston I couldn’t put it down. I can’t attribute it to one particular thing but to a gift of combined talents that hooked me. These include his superb writing, keen observations, ability for humor, and a unique story telling style, all from a single man’s perspective.The main character, Jay, an investment broker […]
    • Book Review: Healing Grace by Lisa Lickel
      When Grace Runyan experiences the loss of her husband, she moves to escape her pain and her past. She rents a home in a small Michigan town next door to a seriously  ill man with a young son. Grace’s personal tragedy and hurts run deep. The  more we get to know her, the more secrets we learn about her. As she begins to care for the little boy, and finds hers […]
    • Book Giveaway: Mothers & Daughters: Mending a Strained Relationship
      Here's your chance to win a print or electronic copy of my book, Mothers and Daughters: Mending a Strained RelationshipHere's a bit more about the book.Mothers and daughters. In perhaps no other relationship are our hopes so high, and the dysfunction so disappointing. You feel locked into a hurtful relationship that you must deal with, and it' […]
  • BLOG NEWS

    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 ‘Happiness’ Category

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 »

Stepping into the 21st Century

Posted by Sophie Dawson on November 16, 2012

My husband will be 60 by the time this is posted. I’m getting my blog posts all done before NANO starts. For his birthday I’m giving him a Whitepaper Kindle. He doesn’t want one. He never wants new technology. It’s time though that I once again try to drag him kicking and screaming into the 21st century. I know it’s almost 2013, but the resistance is great.
I had to threaten him in order to get him to agree to having a cell phone. We live on a farm which means he can be anywhere within two miles of home and still not be able for me to find him. At the time it was harvest. At any one time he can be anywhere. I received a call that he needed to be made aware of. I spent 45 min. driving around the farm before I gave up. Come to find out… he was in town 20 miles away. That’s when I threatened to not go looking for him anymore. He got a cell phone. This was after I had been using one for several years. See what I mean about kicking and screaming?

Now it’s 2012. We flew for vacation this year twice. Both times he takes books and magazines to read. I’m not talking little paperback novel. I’m talking big honking history paperbacks. We were gone for 2 weeks. He’d read all he had before the first week was done. So we spent an hour at a bookstore. I have an iPad. I have all the books I plan to read and more on it. Sure was fun when we still had five hours in the rental to get to our next stop. Two more big honking history books.

I pack light. I mean light. Of course I did laundry. We took one suitcase. It weighed 46 lbs when we left for vacation. We left the magazines along the way so they are no longer in it. With only a few souvenirs not weighing much the suitcase now weighed in at 49 lbs.

Now I’m pulling him kicking and screaming again into the now rather than the past. He may not use the Kindle other than on vacation, but I don’t really care. As long as he uses it then I’ll be satisfied. And since I do the packing, only 21 century reading material will be included.

Sophie Dawson writes Christian Historical fiction

Posted in Family, Happiness, Life Experiences | 3 Comments »

The Joys We Don’t Know

Posted by Luther D. Powell on October 11, 2012

A very interesting question came up during a Bible study with a group of friends a few nights ago. The study involved the Christian perspective of death, and what it means to die as a follower of Christ. Reading from Philippians, Paul was describing how he wouldn’t be ashamed when he would finally come to the throne of God. This brought up the question, when we get to Heaven, will we even be able to feel ashamed? This question led to a broader one: when we get to Heaven, will we experience emotions we can’t experience here on Earth?

The so-called “Joy of The Lord” is rather mysterious to me. I know it when I feel it, I think others do too, but I don’t really know just how to… summon it, so to speak. To channel it, to hold tightly to it when I have it, it’s a difficult task. I am aware of a certain heightened positive outlook on things I get whenever I’m “on fire” for God; when I’m at a spiritual high, when I feel like I’m growing and growing closer, helping someone else grow closer, that sort of thing. But to just ask for it, to wait for it, I rarely just have it.

I believe some people have it a lot more often than I do, for sure. I can see it in people, hear it in their voices. The mystical joy of The Lord is fascinating to me, because contemplating this question from my Bible study, it makes me feel like the joys we know here are only a fraction of the positive emotions Heaven may offer. To recognize a special happiness that I only receive when I feel closest to Jesus tells me that Heaven could be filled to the brim with versions of happy we can’t comprehend with our wittle human bwains.

I don’t know about you, but I can imagine pure ecstasy while sauntering along the cosmos with my Creator. But what I can imagine here on Earth is probably nothing compared to the awareness of joy we’ll get in Heaven. Our imagination here has limits like the rest of the aspects of our Earthly life, but in Paradise, where there are no tears, no sin, no sadness, where goodness reigns eternally, there could be endless joys.

I’m kind of ranting, I know, but just think about it! I treasure every moment of peace, happiness and joy down here because, like any other person, I realize I’m going to die someday. But unlike EVERY human, I must remind myself that there is a better afterlife with my awesome God where all sorrows will be forgotten. Not only that, but we’ll probably gain emotions, senses and passions we never knew existed when we spend time with Jesus.

I’ve been sick and these past few days have been kind of rotten, but thoughts like these bring me peace emotionally, mentally and spiritually. If you ask me, it’s a pretty good sign if just thinking about the joys of Heaven bring you peace while you’re still on Earth. I hope this brings you readers a sort of peace as well. Cheers and God bless!

In Christ,

Luther D. Powell

Posted in Encouragment, Happiness, Hope, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Do You Know Your Life Purpose? with Teena Stewart

Posted by Lisa Lickel on July 18, 2012

Do You Know Your Life Purpose? Here’s How to Discover It.

By Teena Stewart

This past year has been a year of discovery and assessment. I stepped out of a highly stressful job at a non-profit the end of June in 2011 and have been figuring myself out since.  Being married to a pastor who currently isn’t being paid a salary from our start up coffee shop ministry, means I need to help bring in income as he works sports officiating jobs for pay. I’ve been collecting unemployment and piecing together freelance jobs including writing, art, and managing a pet silhouette business for a friend. It’s been a rocky ride.

I’ve spend lots of time figuring myself out. Who am I really? Where should I be working? What’s my heartbeat?  What I have discovered is  that God has made me a creative individual who thrives on variety and innovation–not status quo. I usually become miserable in jobs that become routine. More than anything, (and this has been going on for years) I  love of turning trash into treasure.

                       

How do these all connect? This theme of broken but beautiful comes through in my art (you can see on my Serendipitini art website and Serendipitini blog  and is present in my most recent book, The Treasure Seeker, though I wasn’t fully aware it was in the book at the time. The theme of the Treasure Seeker is of being lost and found and being refined into something valuable. Sound familiar?

This same life theme has been slowly forming over the past several years. It even manifested itself through Java Journey, our Christian coffee shop ministry. First, through the physical look of the place with its golden hues and funky decor. I had no choice, because of our limited budget, but to implement creative reuse. And that has really connected with people’s hearts. Something about it draws them in and second with our ministry purpose itself.

 

Java Journey, a non-profit coffee shop community in Hickory, North Carolina, provides hope and restoration to the hurting and broken by sharing Christ’s story, showing His love and by empowering the restored to serve others. We also serve up a great cup of coffee and other palate delights. 

Interesting. Trash to Treasure again. This period of reassessment has made me realize that every individual has certain values and passions and over time they can become our life theme. They are something we cannot turn off. Mine continually rises to the surface. If I try to ignore or squelch it by focusing in the wrong area, writing on the wrong topic, or applying for the wrong job position, it’s a recipe for misery and disaster.

So here’s a suggestion for my readers. Take a good look at what makes you tick. What you are passionate about?  Does this theme keep replaying?  Is it your heartbeat?  You may have discovered your life theme and mission statement. Embrace it and then hone it and try to make it more of your focus. Use it for your benefit and the benefit of others. You will waste less time, be more fulfilled, and will impact more lives in a positive way.

Teena Stewart is an author/artist/ministry leader. Her most recent book is The Treasure Seeker: Finding Love and Value in the Arms of Your Loving Heavenly Father.  For more info on her books and writing visit www.teenastewart.com or http://nearly-brilliant.blogspot.com

Posted in Author Marketing, Authors, Encouragment, Happiness, Heart and Home, Working from home, Writing | Tagged: , | Comments Off

Three keys to a positive attitude.

Posted by janeteckles on July 14, 2012

By: Janet Perez Eckles

My friend sat on the family room floor with my bare foot on her lap. “Tell me when it hurts,” she said as she pressed and stretched the area with the fractured bone.

She happens to be an excellent physical therapists and a great friend, too.

I smiled. “It feels fine.”

“I’ll show you something. Let me have your other foot,” she said. “Your happy foot.”

Happy foot? She was right. The foot with no injury was indeed, the “happy foot.”

Isn’t that like life? When stuff gets broken—like our heart, our plans and dreams—we do forget about the “happy foot” of hope.

The one which, when remembered, demands a change of the negative attitude. And if you happen to be a member of the poor-me club, here are three thoughts for you:

1. Choosing to focus not on the bad foot of adversity but on the hope in Christ.

2. Remembering that it’s the hope found in Christ that keeps us moving forward, one step at a time.

3. Counting on the hope, the reassurance that each step takes us toward the God-prepared triumph.

No matter how lame your spirits might seem, how dark your situation or painful the circumstance may be, you do have, somewhere, a ‘happy foot’. Hop on that foot of hope.

God is already at work with the spiritual therapy for your sol. The rehabilitation is guaranteed because even when “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed and broken. We are perplexed, but we don’t give up and quit. We are often troubled, but not crushed; sometimes in doubt, but never in despair” (2 Corinthians 4:8).

Father, I’m grateful because when limping through life, you still prepare the path. I thank you for the foundation of your Word, firm and solid on which we walk when crushed, doubting or perplexed. Thank you for your power to bring about a new focus. In Jesus’ name, amen.

• What is causing you to limp through life?
• How can you change your focus?
• Are you living in gloom because you forgot about your happy foot of hope?

Janet

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

The Inside Scoop on Foreign Missions

Posted by April W Gardner on July 11, 2012

Ever wonder what a missionary wife goes through on a foreign field? What’s it like to haul your precious little ones into an unfamiliar and unpredictable environment? How do missionary wives cope?

Below, one such wife share a personal account of her first years on the foreign mission field. She wishes to remain anonymous, but God knows who she is. His eye is on her today as much as it was twenty-four years ago…

***

On September 28, 1988, my husband and I, along with our three children, arrived on our mission field. Before arriving, we were instructed to learn the culture and language. We were to be open and receptive to it. I had been taught that if mother adjusts on the field the whole family adjusts. My task was clearly laid before me.

Approximately one month later we had found an apartment on the ninth floor of an 11 story building. From the balcony, all the people below walking down the sidewalk and all the children playing looked so small, but they were our mission field. Those God had sent us to minister to.

We began language study as soon as possible, ourselves as well as our children. My husband and I had a language professor who came to our apartment twice a week for three hours at a time. There was a young American woman in the national church we attended who worked in the country teaching English to business people.  We asked her to give language lessons to our children.

After several weeks in our new apartment I began noticing differences in each of us. It seemed that our weak traits began to cause us more problems. My social, talkative husband become frustrated, angry, demanding, and not happy with anything. My oldest became more nervous and high strung. My second become more and more drawn into herself.  The youngest, 5 years old, no longer laughed. He just “existed”.  It seemed that the family was coming apart at the seams. Instead of coming together, each one dealt with the drastic change in a way that drove and severed him from the unit.

I suffered for each one. I had been taught that if mother adjusts on the field the whole family adjusts. So I felt a huge burden to be the anchor.

But how? I had no idea how to begin to be what was needed for my family! Here I was a wife and mother, more scared of her own shadow than anything else, in a foreign country that really was not inviting in the least. In this culture where revolting trash was thrown out apartment windows. A culture where the street language is two words normal, one profanity. Add to that the general rejection of anything foreign.

Our family was submerged in a turbulent ocean of foreign, unchristian, “savage” culture, each member drowning, and me, with absolutely no idea how to save them.

I turned to the only thing I knew. In utter desperation and panic of heart, I beseeched the Lord to teach me how to pray for my family in this time and place. All that came to my heart was to ask Him for someone to pray for us. I did not know why, but that is what was put on my heart. So I began begging God for someone to pray for us. Every night when I could not sleep due the heavy burden I would get up, read my Bible, spill my heart onto the written page and then get on my face before God begging him to have someone pray for us, because I was totally paralyzed spiritually to help them myself.

I do not know how long I prayed. All I can remember is that as time went on, the Lord brought to mind to look for open doors for activities for my children: craft classes, art classes, and horse riding lessons, taking family outings to see and get to know the country. Little by little things began to settle down and each one of us began to breathe easier.

I remember exactly the day, where we were, the sun that was shining, the sounds of the traffic as I was driving home with my 5 year old when he said to me, “This place doesn’t feel so different now.” Then I heard his big belly laugh for the first time in months. Such a beautiful sound.

It was beautiful hearing my children laughing again and speaking the language so fluently and with no accent. It was beautiful being able to share fellowship with the believers there. It was beautiful to see beyond the style of life of the culture and into their hearts and all the good qualities as well as the need for the eternal.

So our family adjusted, survived, and thrived. Two years later, the time for our first furlough came around. We arrived in the United States and relished American comforts like peanut butter and grape jelly. While shopping, I ran into a dear friend. They were missionaries in another country. In fact they had arrived in their country of service about a month before we arrived in ours. When she saw me, she grabbed me, gave me a huge hug and said, “Girl, what happened to you? About October I got such a burden for you all that I could not get you off my heart for months!” We had not been in contact for at least 3 years.

At that moment, I saw how God had honored my petition laid out to him in such pain and need. I saw how he honored my family and their decision to dedicate themselves to fulfill the last command of Christ.

More than 24 years have passed, and my husband and I are still on the field, in the same country God . Over the years, I have seen repeatedly how God honors prayer even though we do not see how He accomplishes it.  He is a God of detail, using what is unknown to us to meet our needs and the needs of those we love.


April W. Gardneris a multi-published, award-winning author. Her work includesthe historical romance series, Creek Country Saga.

Posted in Encouragment, Happiness, Heart and Home, Homemaking, Life Experiences, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Six ways to deal with failure.

Posted by janeteckles on June 30, 2012

By: Janet Perez Eckles

“I actually cut my bangs myself,” my dear friend wrote.

I was impressed.

“…made a huge mistake,” she continued, “by cutting ¾ of an inch instead of ¼ of an inch.”

Yikes, that’s sounded like me.

“I couldn’t believe I did that!” she said, “But I’ve had more compliments than ever before. Turns out I look good in very short bangs and think I will keep them that way.”

See? Some friends are just blessed that way. They mess up and things still turn out well.

That was a lesson for me—the lesson of mistakes, messed-up things, failure and foolish decisions.

Have you been there lately?

If you’re in the “oops” phase of your journey and looked in the mirror of life and find that you messed up, smile. Here are six keys to deal with failure and use each episode as a fail-proof path to success.’

1. Lack of failure denotes we’re splashing stagnant water
2. Failures bring added wisdom to take the next step
3. Failures are a sign we’re moving forward
4. Failure bathed in faith never equals defeat
5. Fear of failure comes when we let go God’s hand
6. Failure brings success when we trust in He who never fails us

Paul tasted the sadness of failed plans, tough roads, cold prisons, failed relationships, but He never stopped. He held his head high, his convictions deep and his resolve certain: “I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace” (Acts 20:23-24).

Father, thank you that my failures are not the end, my mistakes are not the outcome, nor are my flaws my destiny. In you, all my failures are ways to humble me and change my focus—to see you, your hand at work and your mighty power that helps me finish the race. In the name of Jesus I thank you. Amen.

• What failure are you facing?
• What does success mean to you?
• What steps are you taking to move beyond failures?

Janet

Posted in Encouragment, Happiness, Inspiration, Life Experiences | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Seven changes that will bring back joy.

Posted by janeteckles on June 23, 2012

By: Janet Perez Eckles

This is the craziest thing I’ve ever heard. And it’s true! A friend writes from the Philippines:

Most common mode of public transportation for short distances is tricycle or pedicab. It’s a motorcycle with a built-in little cab on the side.

On the back of the tricycle, they used to put photos of sexy ladies. It caused a lot of distractions and accidents for other drivers. So, there was a mandate that a Bible verse will be put instead. Thus, all tricycles have bible verses on them.

Love that change. A tad extreme, but wonderful, don’t you think?

And while you and I are riding in the tricycles of life, looking for joy, searching for peace and longing for security, God also has these changes for us:

From the deepest of our sorrows to the highest peak of His grace
From our weariness and worry to the wonder of His love
From lonely moments to the loving touch of His hand
From the farthest distance, to His closest whisper
From the most feared crisis, to the faithfulness of His care
From the most stressful days, to the dawning of His peace
From our secret insecurities to the certainty of His Word

Although a King, powerful and mighty, David also asked for his own change: “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” ( Psalm 51:10).

Father, I seek the changes you need to make in me, my life, my thoughts, my desires and actions. I wait to have the pure heart that pleases you and keeps joy in my heart. In Jesus’ name, amen.

• What changes need to be made in your life to bring back joy?
• How can you allow God to create a change in you?
• What change are you resisting right now?

Janet

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

Can we be like Jesus?

Posted by janeteckles on June 16, 2012

By: Janet Perez Eckles

This anonymous story resonated with me. Traveling alone with just my white cane, similar things have happened to me.

A few years ago a group of salesmen went to a regional sales convention in Chicago. They had assured their wives they would be home in plenty of time for Friday night’s dinner. In their rush, with tickets and briefcases, one of them inadvertently kicked over a table which held a display of apples. Apples flew everywhere. Without stopping or looking back, they all managed to reach their departing gate.

But one paused, took a deep breath and had a twinge of compassion for the girl whose apple stand had been overturned.

He told his buddies to go on without him and returned to the terminal where the apples were spread on the floor.

He was glad he did. The 16-year-old girl was totally blind. She was softly crying with tears running down her cheeks in frustration, and at the same time helplessly groping for her spilled produce as the crowd swirled about her.

The salesman knelt on the floor with her, gathered up the apples, put them back on the table and helped organize her display.’

“I hope we didn’t spoil your day too badly,” he said.

As the salesman started to walk away, the bewildered blind girl called out to him, “Mister….” He paused and turned to look back into those blind eyes.

She continued, “Are you Jesus?””

He stopped in mid-stride and wondered. He gently went back and said, “No, I am nothing like Jesus—He is good, kind, caring, loving, and would never have bumped into your display in the first place.””

The girl nodded: “I only asked because I prayed for Jesus to help me gather the apples. He sent you to help me, so you are like Him…”

“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us…” (Ephesians 5:1).

Father thank you for giving me eyes through my blindness to see who you are, how you love and when you come to our aid. When apples of sadness spill, you will gather them to bring back the joy you promised. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Janet

Posted in Happiness, Inspiration | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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