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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    • Celebrating the Church Year
      by guest author, Jessica SnellThe Lord is always with us. We are never out of His presence, never hidden from His eyes.But it’s hard for us to remember that.Where He is omniscient, and never sleeps, never slumbers, we are distracted and busy and fallible. Though He is always mindful of us, it is hard for us to keep our thoughts constantly turned towards Him. […]
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      Welcome Doc Mabry, we are so thrilled to have you here with us today. I hope you don't mind that I used a photo of your book signing with a different book. I felt our readers need to know you have published many books.And now we want to know more about your novel Critical Condition. What can you tell us about the story behind this book? Most of my books […]
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      Welcome to the Barn Door Book Loft, Virginia. We are glad to have you here with us today.Question: Is there a story behind your book Works of Darkness?I wanted this story to show the consequences of not taking responsibility for ones actions, and the consequence of failing to do so. Question: What started you on your writing journey? I’ve always been an avid […]
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      “Keisha’s debut novel is a sweet reminder of the redeeming power of love, along with a dose of drama between good friends! Her characters are so relatable because they’re imperfect people who’ve made some serious mistakes—just like the rest of us!”-Michelle Stimpson,nNational Bestselling AuthorAbout the book:If you’re size six, you dance. If you’re Ava Alexa […]
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       "If you need one of those “Ahh…” moments, consider taking a trip with Keith and Naomi and read Londonderry Dreaming"--Sandy Ardoin, Romance Author and BloggerAbout Londonderry Dreaming:Acclaimed New York artist, Naomi Boyd, and music therapist, Keith Wilson, loved one another five years ago, until her grandfather with his influence over Naomi sepa […]
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      April is here. It's supposed to be spring. Well, it was supposed to be spring in March but not much has been in evidence. We've endured a tough COLD winter. Now the weather is supposed to warm. Crocus, tulips, daffodils and such are to be poking their heads out of the ground. For every one springlike day we have been getting four to five cold winte […]
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      Nola Landry barely survives a flood in her small Louisiana town by clinging to a tree on higher ground. While hidden in its branches, she witnesses the brutal killing of three neighbors who are shot by a man in uniform in a boat. After being rescued, and losing her home, she is rescued by three FBI agents who have come to town to track a serial killer nickna […]
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      Every now and then a book comes along that will stick with you for the rest of your life. For me Unbrokenis one of them. The story is based on a true story about the life of Louis Zamperini.  Zamperini, the son poor Italian immigrants, grew up in California and was a wild child on the path to serious delinquency when his older brother Pete finally managed to […]
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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 ‘Life Experiences’ Category

Regarding Art School

Posted by Luther D. Powell on November 29, 2012

Last night, I got asked a pretty blunt question, one which I’d expect to have been asked by now, but never took the time to come up with a good answer for. Until now. A friend asked me, “Why did you choose to go to school for art?”

Now, I could answer by saying, I like drawing, and wanted to become better at it and find a career in it. However, I know a handful of people who are fantastic artists who either didn’t stay in school for art, or never went in the first place. I don’t NEED art school to get better; just motivation and the will to learn more about my practice. It wasn’t until today that I really thought up good reasons for going to school for art.

I’ll admit, when people ask what I’m studying, and I tell them “fine arts,” I’ve grown accustomed to the looks of pity people give me. Probably thinking, “You’ll never find a job in that in Ohio, or anywhere else, ever,” which I can understand. I’ll have people tell me they admire my artistic talent, but I can tell what they’re thinking. Or rather, some people vocalize what they’re thinking. It’s generally accepted that artists have to really know their stuff to get anywhere in life (which is why I’m also a writer, ‘cause that’s one of those ambitious occupations people seek too, yes?), and I’m not offended by the notion. It makes sense. One doesn’t just draw pictures and sell them to people, although that’s what I’ve started with as an art career, so to speak. You have to develop your own style, figure out who wants to see it, what you could use it for or who else could use it, all that stuff that goes into making a business of any sort.

All that to say, I definitely understand why people might look down on an arts degree, or why any art students change their majors and/or drop out. Making a living off art is tough, hence why I’m also in food service and, again, writing novels. So, thinking on all the cons of being an art student, finding a specific, logical reason as to why I chose it is actually kind of hard.

But here’s what I’ve come up with, so hear me out.

Art school isn’t just about painting pretty pictures, or learning how to paint pretty pictures. It’s not all about methods or style. And it sure as beans isn’t about picking an ‘easier’ degree to aim for just to make a name for yourself, because trust me, everyone I know who went into art school expecting it to be easy was thoroughly disappointed.

The things I’ve learned as an art student, people don’t just pick up on in whatever daily life routines. When I tell people some of the things I do or think on, they look at me like I’m an alien, because people just don’t do those things. For example, being an art student has turned me into an all-out detail-nut. I pick up on things about people that they don’t even notice about themselves. Facial features, smells, mannerisms, BONE STRUCTURES. I remember my friends by all kinds of little things that I’ve begun to look for in reality the way I would look for details in a piece of artwork to find meaning or message.

Oddly enough, being an art student has given me a passion for learning about a lot of stuff that I went to art school assuming I could avoid. Science, philosophy, history, there are a handful of subjects I didn’t expect to WANT to learn more about, not that I ever hated them. But now, after spending night after night conjuring images with paper and pencils, my brain grows restless, and I crave new information, about totally random stuff! As a writer, I research specific things in order to compose a seemingly-authentic story that people can relate with, but as an artist, I’m stuck with whatever my brain comes up with, and I NEED MORE.

One last great aspect of being an art student, at least, one for me personally, is that I can express my love for God and Bible stories in ways that have been around since people. God’s message used to be spread through art by nearly every well-known ‘master’ artist such as Michelangelo and Caravaggio (my personal favorite), and people don’t seem to think about that anymore so much as, “Wow, artists back then were crazy-ambitious.” I can change that, I can bring back God’s message through art, and I can do it my own way to reach out to all kinds of people. To non-Christian art students, the equivalent is simply, one can reach out to people with wonderful, meaningful messages that are just as useful in life as any doctor, policeman, scientist or construction worker. Don’t go to art school just so you can get better at drawing stuff, go to discover a message within yourself that needs to be spread!

I hope this is informative for anybody wanting to pursue an art career or become an art student, and that it encourages my art-student-friends. Although art school is a bit difficult, it’s worth it to learn all the non-art related things that sneak into your mind. Thanks for reading, cheers and God bless!

In Christ,

Luther D. Powell

Posted in Encouragment, Life Experiences, 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 »

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 »

Vulnerability Exposes the Heart

Posted by Luther D. Powell on November 8, 2012

This past week, I’ve been sick with something nasty. Can’t quite say what it is; apparently, what we know as the ‘common cold’ is a variety of innumerable illnesses which our bodies just happen to react the same way to. But I’ll say it’s a cold. A really, really bad cold. Coughing, sneezing, emptying tissues boxes by the hour, the works.

Being sick with this sort of thing really shows me my innermost self. And no, not just because I’m coughing my entrails out. I mean, sickness makes me irritable and cranky, probably because I’m so weak, so vulnerable. My head is throbbing and I don’t feel like thinking. My throat hurts and I don’t feel like talking. I can’t smell stuff. The rest of my body aches and it’s a chore to get out of bed. Can’t breathe and it makes sleeping difficult. Wah wah waaah!

All these factors contribute to my being less patient with my computer loading things on the Internet, the bus being ‘late’ by my watch, my soup tasting funny, all sorts of little things that I’m suddenly so bothered by. The question is, has my life really gone downhill since I’ve gotten sick, or is everything pretty much exactly the same as it always is, and do I have any right to grouch about things? Answer: Life is no different around me, just inside me, and I don’t really have the right to grouch.

My being sick could be caused by a number of things. I won’t say God has willed it, because I know He loves me and doesn’t want to make me sick. He wants to make me strong in Him. However, because I’m sick, it is easier for me to realize what my heart is really like at the moment, and how much I’m missing out on God’s love. If my heart were more like His, I wouldn’t be so quick to whine and groan at the simple annoyances that I, literally, deal with every day and am normally used to. It bothers me that I am so easily bothered by things when I’m sick and weak, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who has this issue. The blessing in it is that truly, I recognize my need for more Jesus when my temper flares up against silly things, and it certainly does that more often when I’m sick.

For example, I got slightly unhappy when I woke up from a ‘nap’ a few minutes ago, after having written half of this blog and after I planned to only sleep for an hour and a half before I would finish this and post it. Set two alarms. I don’t know how I slept past two alarms, and my being sick is no excuse. I woke up and started coughing angrily before sitting down to finish this.

So, am I saying God makes people sick when He knows we needs to straighten up? No, but I am saying that the timing with my sickness in particular fascinates me, because I know that He knows that I need to straighten up, and I know that He uses all kinds of things for His work to get done. Is anyone else out there catching something nasty and suddenly noticing the condition of your heart? This isn’t a guilt-trip; don’t feel bad about it. I mean, do, but in a healthy fashion. Recognize it and fix it! Maybe your sickness won’t be such a pain when you know that you’re right with The Lord, yeah? Food for thought. Er… cough drops for thought.

In Christ,

Luther D. Powell

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

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

Promotion in Motion Tuesday: Ava Pennington, One Year Alone With God

Posted by Lisa Lickel on October 30, 2012

One Year Alone with God: 366 Devotions on the Names of God

Ava Pennington

About the book:

In the daily devotional One Year Alone with God: 366 Devotions on the Names of God, author Ava Pennington examines the biblical names of God through 366 daily readings and helps readers discover what those names mean for their own faith.

Readers will learn how a particular name of God provides insight into his character, how those attributes affect them individually or how they should relate to others. Pennington examines each of God’s names for three days, applying these three perspectives to our lives.

Each devotion looks at a particular name of God and includes a passage of Scripture, questions for reflection, and a prayer.

One year from now, will you be able to say that you know God better than you did before? Revitalize your devotional life with an intimate journey through the names of God.

The next 366 days will pass quickly—make each one count!

One Year Alone with God: 366 Devotions on the Names of God may be purchased through:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Christian Book Distributors

Ava, tell us what you love about this book.

The focus of One Year Alone with God: 366 Devotions on the Names of God is God Himself. Each entry revolves around who God is and how He works. What’s exciting for me is that I was able to see how each name and attribute God revealed about Himself thousands of years ago is relevant to my life today.


Ava, what’s the main thing you learned during the process of writing and publishing this book?

Writing the book was more than just an exercise in listing God’s names. Since each name and attribute is explored from 3 perspectives (who God is, who I am in relation to Him, and how this impacts my relationships), I had to apply what I was writing before I could write it.

Publishing this book reminded me how many people are involved in the process. Editors, marketing and sales staff, legal and accounting staff…so many people invested in the book’s success.

What should your readers discover and want to share with their family and friends after reading this book?

Readers will explore 122 names and attributes of God from 3 perspectives. For each name and attribute, they will discover something special about who God is, who they are, and how they relate to others. And there are some definite surprises…

About the author:

Ava Pennington is a writer, Bible teacher, and speaker. She is the author of One Year Alone with God: 366 Devotions on the Names of God (Revell Books), endorsed by Precepts founder and teacher Kay Arthur. Additionally, Ava is co-author of  Faith Basics for Kids. The first two books in the series are Do You Love Me More? and Will I See You Today? (Standard Publishing).

Ava has also published stories in more than twenty anthologies, including sixteen books in the inspirational Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Her articles have appeared in Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse, The  LOOKOUT, Today’s Christian Woman, and other magazines.

Ava is a passionate speaker and teacher, and delights in challenging audiences with relevant, enjoyable presentations.

For more information, visit http://www.avawrites.com/.

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When God comes to our rescue.

Posted by janeteckles on October 27, 2012

By Janet Perez Eckles

Two dear friends picked me up from the airport. And once we entered the hotel’s lobby, we went to the counter. . After giving the usual information to the clerk, my friend lowered her voice, “Mrs. Eckles is bl..bl..blind,” she whispered.

“Sure am,” I said with a silly grin.

My friend cleared her throat. “And she needs a room, with…” she hesitated.

“An ocean view!” I said.

I laughed. And they gave a quiet chuckle.

Next, they tried to figure out how I’d get to the restaurant for breakfast. After moments of discussion, I leaned closer to the counter. “There is a great invention called “room service.”

Should I be starved while in my room, all I do is pick up the phone and dial 0, ask for room service, place my order, and voila! Food comes to the door!

God knows that. Not only about our physical hunger, but our spiritual hunger, too. Often you and I are stuck in a room of uncertainty. We wonder how will feed that hunger for security. How will we satisfy that thirst for safety? For confidence and fulfillment?

God knew that before we did. He’s waiting for our heart’s call. And He promised He will show up. While we approach the window facing the ocean of His grace, His love and goodness pour down. And His compassion arrives to satisfy our thirst and ease our pain.

That’s why, no matter what hotel room of emptiness we are in, we will declare, “I lift up my eyes to the hills. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1).

Father, I confess I’ve looked elsewhere for help—my job, friends, possessions, relationships and my own wisdom. In moments when my soul is hungry, I will look up and trust that you and only you will come to my aid to meet my needs, those that burden my heart, those that keep me stressed and those I keep secretly inside. In Jesus’ name, amen.

• How is the view of your life right now?
• Who will come to your rescue?
• How does your heart feel, knowing God will come to you, wherever you are?

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

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I Prefer Walking

Posted by Luther D. Powell on October 25, 2012

I once had a silly argument with an art professor of mine about my drawing method. He was trying to convince me that I worked too slowly, and put more time into my work than necessary by drawing everything freehand. He saw it more beneficial to use a projector to trace the outline of whatever reference photo I was using to draw from. At the time, I thought it was odd for an artist to do that, and it almost seemed like cheating to me. My professor used this analogy to better describe his argument: “You and I are heading in the same direction, only you’re walking and I’m driving.”

I understand what he meant, and it turns out using a projector is a common practice among realistic painters, at least around here. They make things easier on themselves by using a projector to trace their image onto the canvas or paper before trying to paint everything, just so it starts off proportioned right. However, I find it much more therapeutic to start simple, making basic shapes before drawing in layers and layers of detail. I learn much more that way, studying the human form or animals or trees or whatever it is I’m taking the time to draw.

Comparing this to walking, actual-foot-walking, kind of describes that way I choose to go about life in general. I don’t have my own car yet, and a shuttle bus drives all over my school neighborhood, so I wouldn’t use a car here in Bowling Green much anyway. While at school, I learn to appreciate walking for many reasons. I feel like driving makes trips monotonous. In my hometown, there’s not much you can look at while driving fifty miles an hour everywhere, but if you walk, that’s a different story. You pick up on things while walking, little things that mean a lot if you take the time to analyze them. For example, out of the many concrete slabs which make up the sidewalk leading from my apartment to campus, there is a single block that seems to be frequently used to spit out chewing gum. Why? I don’t know, but there’s gum stuck all over this one slab of concrete, and it will probably stay that way. How many people have spat gum there? Maybe the same person? What flavors of gum are all over the concrete?

Yeah, that’s a weird example, but you see what I mean? I learn so much from walking, from taking things slow, stopping and smelling the flowers and finding out which ones have thorns, watching the birds fly overhead and figuring out which cats are strays and which ones are people-friendly.

With all that in mind, take a moment to ask yourself this question: in your walk with God, are you really walking, or are you driving? Do you and Jesus stop and examine the gum on the sidewalk, or are you always saying, “Not this time, Jesus, I’m in a rush”?

I’ll be honest in saying that lately, I’ve found myself driving through my spiritual life instead of walking, which is why Lisa filled in for me last Thursday (thanks bunches once again, Lisa!). I’ve been busy just being busy, and not being busy with God, and I needed some time to “smell the flowers” in my Bible. It’s tough recovering from a mess of work and coming out to let Christ fill my life all over again. It’s like, the minute you stop walking and start driving, you’ll see God through your windshield like any other building or landmark you’re used to passing every day on your way to work. It’s better if God’s in the car with you, probably better yet if He’s driving, but walking with Him is just as productive even if it takes longer.

In Christ,

Luther D. Powell

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Hero With A Hook

Posted by elainemcooper on October 19, 2012

Posted by Elaine Marie Cooper

Kellie Doffin, Foundation Assistant and Volunteer Coordinator at CFI, with just a few of Janet’s afghans.

Some heroes carry weapons of protection. Others may wield tools to put out fires or bring healing to the sick. But heroes like Janet Sandberg wield another kind of implement—a crochet hook to produce comfort for those in need.

There’s no Olympic gold medallion for heroes like Janet. There’s just the gratitude of the dozens of frightened children in foster care and domestic shelters that have received one of her beautifully wrought afghans. When they cuddle up in the warmth of her blankets, her little recipients can feel the love of a woman who reaches out to them anonymously with God’s love. And they can know that they have been prayed for.

I first met Janet several years ago at church. A quiet, unassuming lady, her sweet spirit is reflected in a quick smile that lights up a conversation. We met in response to my request to start a “Crochet and Pray” group, where we could gather once a month to crochet for those in need, while praying for the future recipients of the crafted items. Janet was a little shy about doing a ministry that she enjoyed so much—she felt it shouldn’t be so much fun! I laughed.

What better way to serve the Lord than with joyful hands and hearts?

Through the years we occasionally cancelled our get-together. Sometimes it was bad weather, or sometimes I was traveling out-of-state to help with grandkids. But whether the group met formally or just chatted on the phone, Janet kept on with her ministry. If the women and I couldn’t meet, I could always count on a finished supply from Janet. I’d arrange to go pick up her gorgeous afghans and deliver them to Children and Families of Iowa (CFI), an organization to help families in distress.

A few years ago, Janet faced a scare with lung cancer. After she recovered her strength, she returned to her crocheting and provided countless blankets to frightened foster kids.

I recently delivered twelve afghans for children to CFI; a few of these homemade gifts are displayed in the photo above. I had picked them up from Janet and enjoyed a sweet visit with her and a cup of coffee. She looks so great…but she is battling cancer again.

Despite her exhaustion from treatments, she keeps wielding her tool of ministry—that crochet hook that keeps weaving strands of comfort. Janet doesn’t complain about her own discomfort. And she still has a room-brightening smile.

I guess heroes don’t focus on themselves. They keep looking for ways to serve others.

Maybe that’s the definition of a real hero.

“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10 NIV)

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10 NIV)

Posted in Encouragment, Inspiration, Life Experiences | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

 
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