Professional Mourner or Professional Joy Generator?

By Mary Anne Benedetto

I recently learned that in some ancient cultures, it was common to hire professional mourners to wail at funerals. Also known as Feb 2013 Albany guy dinnermoirologists, their duties could possibly include delivering a eulogy or simply weeping, moaning and crying loudly.

Upon further investigation, I discovered that even in current times, there are Mediterranean, Near Eastern and other cultures who still participate in this practice.  In the U.K. someone established a business called Rent a Mourner!

Imagine crying and wailing and actually getting paid for your emotional outbursts of sorrow? I know some chronic complainers who would probably excel at and love that job.

As caring siblings, children, parents and grandparents, don’t we sometimes want to mourn the poor choices and resulting situations of loved ones? One lesson that God has recently been teaching me is that I simply can’t control what other people choose to do, although I’d like to. I so wish that I could pave the way for my loved ones to walk in the lighted pathway the Lord has planned for them and never detour, but I can’t accomplish that any more than my own parents could spare me from making less than stellar decisions during my teenage and young adult years.

So what can I do? I can be vigilant as their prayer warrior. I can literally get on my knees and pray that they won’t stray too far away and that their early upbringing will always bring them back into the loving arms of Christ. They were already forgiven at the cross.

Since prayer is really the only way I can help besides showing them tons of love and making sure they know they are in my daily prayers, I choose joy. I choose not letting the decisions and acts of others steal my joy. I choose remembering that I can’t dictate their actions, and so I will be a professional joy generator.

Nehemiah 8:10…Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. (NIV)

Philippians 1:3-6  I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (NIV)

Never Say Perfect Book CoverMary Anne Benedetto is a Certified Lifewriting Instructor and the author of 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time!, Eyelash and Never Say Perfect. Please visit her at www.awriterspresence.com and www.maryannebenedetto.blogspot.com.

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My Monster

Guest Blogs for Mary E. Twomey, author of Saga of the Spheres.

Writing is a strange monster. Gorgeous, unpredictable, terrifying, and precious. One moment you love what you’re into, the next you’re swearing you should scrap it all and declare yourself an illiterate just so expectations can be lowered. Learning to spell your name would become a note-worthy feat. “Wow! You did it yourself? Amazing! Sit down and take a rest. Have a cookie, you smart bunny.” Alas, with an English degree, more is expected of you when the pen hits the paper. If it’s not Shakespeare, and if you don’t use fanciful words like “alas”, then it must simply not be worth anyone’s time, lease of all yours.

This kind of thinking led me to deleted documents, trashed notebooks, abandoned plots and a total tailspin. If it wasn’t completely hatched and grown gracefully into an adult by the end of the page, it was obviously a failure. A plot that wasn’t complete before the first word was scribbled was a waste. Being a notorious math class disappointment led me to the conclusion that if you don’t have the right answer – all the right answers – it’s best to keep your mouth shut and your head down. Mistakes are for people who will never find the solution, and wrong guesses are for people who should find a new calling.

Oh, Mary. Silly Mary.

Oh, you reader. Silly you.

Today I write to encourage you to stop judging your imperfections. It’s odd that we are often the first one to cast the stone at ourselves. We’ll be amazingly polite and kind to others, but when it comes to giving grace to the person with the funky morning hair in the mirror, we plum run out of mercy just about every time. You would never tell your husband or your best girl friend, “What a stupid idea. That’ll never work. Look how many things you still have to figure out. Best just watch TV and leave the high heels to the big girls.”

Fortunately for all of us, today is a new day. Today we will be different. We will be kind to ourselves. We will look in the mirror and believe the things our loved ones say about us. We will trust our ridiculous ideas and not shoot them down just because they are ours. Today we take ourselves seriously and give an honest effort to becoming that person who can see the possibilities.

A funny thing dawned on me in the midst of writing and editing the Saga of the Spheres. I allowed the ink to flow for fun. I did not write for other people. I did not plot for the masses. I wrote, laughed, swooned, and bit my lip as an unknown world shifted into focus on the page. I’m very excited to share the keepers, the seers, the spheres and the wombats with you. My hope is that you find your own possibility, take the first step, and then start running.

 

Mary E. Twomey

The Silence of Lir

By Mary Twomey

ASIN: B0087LX826  $2.99

Book One

Genre: young adult fantasy fiction

Behind the scenes of our spinning earth are keepers of the elements who make sure that tornadoes don’t destroy cities, fires don’t ravage forests, earthquakes don’t decimate towns, and floods don’t take out humanity. They wrestle with the natural elements to ensure that the world keeps spinning smoothly on its axis.

Since the beginning of time, the Sun has been fading, and the light that shines on the earth is dimming, causing the elements to be more volatile and impossible for the keepers to control.

Now they must enlist the help of one man, Finn, to help them bring the light back to the Sun. The keepers war, the North Star steals light from the Sun, and the Moon is in disrepute. The end of existence is coming, and all the while the king, the Moon, Lir, remains silent.

About the Author:

Mary E. Twomey lives in Michigan with her husband and two adorable children. She enjoys reading, writing, vegetarian cooking and telling her children fantastic stories about wombats.

Connect with Mary:

www.facebook.com/#!/SagaOfTheSpheres

Twitter @shesleepssoftly

www.SagaOfTheSpheres.com

www.JackandYani.com

The Importance of Reviews

By Susette Williams

While the most common thought of using a review would be to help a customer decide whether or not to buy a product, there are other reasons for leaving a review as well. Believe it or not, writing can be a very discouraging profession. More often than not, people tend to leave reviews when they don’t like a product and are less likely to leave a review letting you know how much they do like your product, or in this case, your book.

You may have heard that musicians are moody. The truth can be said of the authors, but the reason these creative types have the ability to be moody, or have a wide array of emotions is it allows them to connect on an emotional level with the character in their book or song. That also enables them to connect with the reader or listener. For this reason, authors can often use encouragement and one way to give it, is by leaving a review of their book. While it does not take very long to leave a comment, it really does help to encourage the author when you leave a review and tell the author that you enjoyed their story, and what you liked about the story.

But what should you say in the review? It is important not to leave too much information or you may spoil the story for another reader. Tell the author what you liked, if there was a specific scene, or how the story made you feel. You want to leave just enough information that another reader can tell that you actually read the book and the author didn’t ask all of their friends and family to leave glowing 5 star reviews for them.

There has been a lot of controversy lately concerning a few authors unethical practices concerning reviews.  Principals to consider when leaving a review:

  1. You should never write reviews for your own book. Writing a synopsis, blurb, or back copy of your book is different. Reviews are generally endorsements, telling readers what you liked, or did not like, about a book. Reviews are generally left at places your book can be purchased, or in forums where book readers will read about their favorite authors’ books.
  2. You should never leave a bad review because you do not like the person or their beliefs. Also, if you have a problem with downloading a book on Kindle, Nook, etc. do not give the author a bad review. It is best to contact customer services with the place you are purchasing the book from and settle the downloading issue with them. The author has no control over this and it is unfair to rate their hard work based on problems with the distributor.
  3. It is unfair to an author if you downloaded their book as a free promo and have not bothered to check and see if the book is the type of genre you prefer to read or not. Example, if a person downloaded a book that had pornography, religious aspects or content they would find objectionable and would not intentionally set out to pay for that type of story to begin with, should not write a negative review for the book because your mindset is already against that book and its content. This is one of the downsides to offering a free book promotion—because consumers see free and then begin reading the story to only realize this isn’t their normal type of reading material. The author should not suffer because you chose something you would not normally read.
  4. A negative book review should only be left if the writing is poor, there are obvious problems with the plot, the story is inconsistent, the author didn’t check facts, etc.
  5. You should never leave negative reviews for an author because you purposely want their book to do bad. There have been some authors who leave bad reviews for competitors. When the public has found out about this type of practice, it generally will cost the unethical author sales and readers because of their attempts to manipulate consumers and their purchases.

Authors need positive reviews for encouragement and to sell books. An honest review allows readers to see what other people thought of a book and may help sway them in their decision to also purchase the book.

If an author does a book promotion, especially the free book promotions, many of the promotion sites will not carry the author’s books unless they have a set amount of reviews, and usually they must have at least a four star average rank in reviews.

The most natural place for an author to seek reviews is through customers who have purchased their books. Previous customers who have reviewed books can also be a great resource for future book reviews. Build a rapport with readers and offer them a free copy of a future book in exchange for an honest review. As a reader, you can also contact an author and offer to write a review if they will provide you with an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy).

Another place an author can solicit reviews are through Facebook groups for reviewers; or groups that connect readers, reviewers, bloggers and/or authors. Also, if you are looking for more reviews and do a special book promotion or free book promotion, whenever you post about the promotion, ask people to share the information and ask them if they would please consider leaving a review.

Always be polite and considerate, whether or not you are an author, reader, or reviewer. Consider other people’s feelings, and when leaving criticism, try to make it constructive. It also helps if you can find something positive to say, because it will help to take the edge off of negative comments.

Please take the time to show your favorite authors some appreciation by leaving them an encouraging review. It will inspire them to continue writing and sharing their stories with loyal readers like yourself!

Books by Susette Williams:

 

falling in loveMaid for Murder: Deadly Business http://ow.ly/hJKp2

Accidental Meeting http://ow.ly/fR7ft

Falling in Love (Seasons of the Heart) http://ow.ly/fR717

Winter Chill (Seasons of the Heart) http://ow.ly/fR75F

The Quakers of New Garden (New Garden’s Conversion) http://ow.ly/fR7bB

 

Books for Children:

The ‘In’ Crowd (Life With Stef) http://ow.ly/fGsul

On My Own (Life With Stef) http://ow.ly/fR7GG

 

Author Website: www.susettewilliams.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Susette-Williams/182094681851446?ref=ts&fref=ts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SusetteWilliams

 

The Treasure Seeker: Finding Love and Value in the Arms of Your Loving

The Treasure Seeker CoverLargeThe Treasure Seeker: Finding Love and Value in the Arms of Your Loving Heavenly Father was written to encourage and equip women who are either seeking God or who want to grow closer to God & Christ. At the heart of the book is the concept that we are a valuable treasure and when we finally connect with God and allow him to “find” us, we’ll enter an amazing rich relationship we never knew existed. Once we enter that relationship, God goes from the role of Treasure Seeker to that of Master Jeweler who will refine and make us into the gemstones we were meant to be. It’s about becoming a woman of excellence without all the pressure to be perfect.

Unique accompaniments:

  • Intriguing treasure stories
  • A study of the “Lost” parables including the lost coin, the lost sheep, the prodigal son, the treasure hidden in a field, and the pearl of great price
  • Points to ponder at the end of each chapter for reflection and discussion
  • A chapter highlighting gemstone attributes allowing readers to determine which gemstone they are most like
  • A Treasure Seeker Jewelry line created by author/artist Teena Stewart available at a discount when you purchase the book.Receive 10% off when you purchase the book and show proof of purchase. Here’s the link to the jewelry line.  http://www.serendipitni.com.

Women can use it for personal study or for group study. It’s a great resource to  share with someone you may want to understand the gospel in a very simple and non-pressing way.

Teena Stewart is an author and artist whose work reflects the spiritual message of being broken and yet valuable in God’s eyes—a Teena COmessage incorporated in her book  The Treasure Seeker: Finding Value and Love in the Arms of Your Loving Heavenly Father (Wine Press). When she isn’t creating up-cycled treasure (artwork and jewelry) from discarded and found objects, she is writing articles and books or leading ministry for Java Journey, an innovative coffee shop ministry in Hickory, NC.

Teena understands firsthand what it means to go from something of seemingly little value to a beautiful and valuable treasure in God’s eyes.

The Treasure Seeker is available in paperback and ebook from and can be purchased at the following locations Amazon (http://tinyurl.com/anf7wza), Teena’s Website (http://teenastewart.com/) and Wine Press Books (http://tinyurl.com/a3v7byk) and most other book stores.The ebook version of The Treasure Seeker will be free on 2/17 & 2/18 on Amazon.com

The ebook version of The Treasure Seeker will be free on 2/17 & 2/18 on Amazon.com

How to Connect with  Teena

Her website  www.teenastewart.com

Her blog  http://nearly-brilliant.blogspot.com/

Personal Facebook http://www.facebook.com/teena.stewart

Facebook Author Pages http://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Teena-M-Stewart/216334111720519

Twitter  @TeenaStewart1

Grace, Miracles and Chocolate

By Marriott Cole

GMC Front CoverMarriott Cole knows that sometimes it is difficult to trust God,
especially during the most challenging moments. In her memoir,
Grace, Miracles, and Chocolate, Cole chronicles a
life with more than its share of difficulties while demonstrating
how she overcame tragedy through the miracle of prayer and the
grace of God’s love.
Cole shares poignant anecdotes with accompanying Scripture,
tracing her life journey beginning with the details of her first
conversation with her birth mother. Despite the horrifying
details of her conception, Cole describes how she was eventually
led to forgiveness and to accept a second family into her heart.
As she retraces her complex life and reveals her unique problem
solving strategies, Cole details how she learned to rely on not
only her faith, but also her inner strength as she bravely faced
widowhood and the terrifying thought of raising seven children
on her own.
Grace, Miracles, and Chocolate challenges spiritual
seekers everywhere to either develop or rekindle a relationship
with Jesus Christ and to always remember that He is with us—
no matter what comes our way in life.
“This is an amazing story of God’s faithfulness, love and
incredible miracles in the life of His faithful child. … Marriott
is a real woman with real heartaches and triumphs. Her life story
will touch many, many hearts …”
– Amy McGuire, author of The Heart’s Discovery

“Captivating! Miraculous! Unbelievable! But true! Marriott’s story is
a must for anyone going through a tragedy of any kind! Her love for
God shines through nearly every page!!!” Dotti McGuinness, Future
Executive Senior Sales Director, Mary Kay Cosmetics

Besides being an author, Marriott Cole is a part-time remedial reading specialist. Other jobs have included fourth grade teaching,Nancy's portrait author central home-school evaluator, She lives within twenty minutes of her six living children and their families, and enjoys her ten grandchildren aged 15 – 4. Her hobbies include her new husband of two years, Bible study, friends and family, writing, and bridge.

To purchase the book go to these links: http://bookstore.inspiringvoices.com/Products/SKU-000526398/Grace-Miracles-and-Chocolate.aspx

http://www.amazon.com/Grace-Miracles-And-Chocolate-Conceived/dp/1462401880/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1358799304&sr=1-1

Book Blast: The Missing Piece (Inspirational Love Story) by Carol McCormick – Plus $25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!

Title: The Missing Piece (Inspirational Love Story)

By Carol McCormick

About the Book:

“Fresh dialogue, realistic characters, a powerful message,” The Romance Readers Connection

How does a man pick up the pieces when his world crashes around him? Misplaced priorities shattered his marriage. Problems almost crushed him. Love motivated him to mend the damage, once he found all the pieces.

After only a few months of marriage, Lorraine left Dylan on a wintry night after he’d spent one too many nights out with the guys. Unable to cope with the loss, Dylan escapes the painful feelings by drinking them away. This decision costs him a year-and-a-half of his life after he stops in a little mountain town and ends up in the local jail. When he’s released, he returns home in search of a job to get his life–and his wife back.

THE MISSING PIECE is not only a love story about a man who loves a woman, but is also a love story about a merciful God who loves mankind, even when he falls. The novel is an emotionally-charged journey of hope and redemption with a touch of spunk, a hint of humor, and a few twists along the way.

“Inspiring and encouraging. Anyone who desires a restoration to their spirit should read THE MISSING PIECE,” Myshelf.com

“A wonderful, heartwarming Christian romance. This is definitely a story that I recommend to all lovers of Christian romance,” Escape to Romance

Download on Kindle | Purchase Paperback

Carol McCormick
e77606749f110a7e9d9a7b.L._SX750_SY470_[1]Carol began writing years ago after reading a ten-page story her grandmother wrote about growing up in the early 1900s. It was then that she began to write down her own stories to share with her daughters someday.

Later, she began to write as a way to draw herself and other people closer to the Lord. Carol writes for Christians to encourage them in their faith. She also writes for those who are unaware of God’s grace, to show them how to connect to Him in order to experience His love and goodness. Her writing is applicable to life with its direct, yet sensitive, and oftentimes humorous messages and lessons.

Carol has been a speaker for Christian Women’s Connection (Stonecroft Ministries International) for over fifteen years. She is also an international bestselling author who has appeared on regional and Christian television programs and has been a guest on over fifty Christian and secular radio stations.

Follow Carol McCormick
Website | Facebook | Twitter

Enter to Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Enter below to enter a $25 amazon gift card, sponsored by author Carol McCormick!

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Writing Your Roots

By Suzanne Williams

Familiar writing advice says to “write what you know.” I have taken this to heart.

Growing up in the same county in Central Florida as my parents and grandparents gives me roots here. It helps too that my grandmother was a history buff. She could rattle off who married who for ten generations in the family tree. So I grew up knowing how interconnected my life was to the past, to the people who struggled for a living here, to parents and children in old photographs she’d saved.

This photo is my favorite. It is a perfect depiction of how things were and where I come from. It is the land, the families that survived it, and the children who’d grow up on it.

 

the combee gang 640

 

If you’d have met my grandparents, you’d understand. Never were there two more kind, gentle people. He was a farmer, growing corn, beans, tomatoes, and any number of other vegetables, and toting them to market on weekends. My grandmother could cook you up a meal like you wouldn’t believe, most of which came straight from the garden.

All of that, I have applied to my writing, most often in the form of dialogue, but also in descriptions of the more rural areas around me, in the wildlife – the birds and reptiles particular to this area – and in the history, what happened in the late 19th century, how towns grew here or failed.

In the example below, an excerpt from my upcoming novel Love & Redemption (out March 1st), a girl named Anne Sawyer has gone for a swim at a natural spring.

“Lowering herself into the water’s clasp, she emptied her mind of the day’s troubles. This was her special place. Here, life was different, better. Here, her papa’s anger faded in light of the beauty around her. Her golden hair spread out in a fan, and tiny fish dancing on the water’s surface tickled her skin. Extending her fingers one by one, she watched their silver tails flicker in and out.”

 “A bird called, and her gaze went upward to its angular shape traced against the white sky. Wings held aloft, head crooked sideways, the bird absorbed the sun in muddied feathers.”

 “Her body cooled in the icy water, and she flared her palms upward, counting the ridges in her fingertips. Ducking her head below the surface, she swam into the spring’s depths. White sand and wavering grasses spiraled downward, ceasing only at the great crack split in the earth. Here, bubbles leaked from her nostrils, and she dug her fingers into the soil, delighting in the rush of water flitting over her flesh.”

All of that comes from who I am, from my roots here, otherwise I couldn’t write it.

But this thing within me, this Southern side of me, also emerges in my dialogue sequences. I write in dialect a lot. Love it, in fact, despite how it bothers some people. More than once, I have been told it is passé, that I should write with “good grammar.” However, speaking like that, in long Southern tones is what I know. It’s what I hear around me. It’s the voices of my past speaking in my ear.

In another scene from Love & Redemption, the main character, Michael O’Fallen, an Irish boy from New York, is fighting against a wicked man named Ferguson, who holds his life in the balance. Notice the use of dialect to give the character flavor.

“Ferguson yanked his horse around, and the group of men followed. Pausing briefly, he glanced at the house. The girl’s father lay unmoving on the earth.”

 “‘Pleasure doin’ business with you again, Milton,’ he laughed. He gazed at Michael, and his eyes glittered.

 “‘What’s this about?’ Michael asked. ‘And what do I have to do with it?’ His horse paced sideways, and the girl slid in the saddle. With a yelp, she reached out for his arm. He wrapped a hand around her waist to steady her. ‘You gonna tell me or not? I’ve kept quiet ‘til now. I never signed up for this.’”

 “Ferguson’s voice emerged a low growl. ‘You signed up to save yourself, and ye’ll do as you’re told. This here’s your wife, and we’re about to have us a weddin’.’”

Now, dialect comes in a million forms. Just as Ferguson is southern, Michael’s Irish roots come out in the story. For this, I had to do extensive research into Irish Gaelic. I also have segments where he’s remembering his mother talk. I used dialect to indicate her strong Irish roots. In another book I read recently, the characters were from Maine. The author did a fabulous job of writing dialogue to indicate their pattern of speech. It was as if I could hear them in my ear.

And that is precisely my point. As authors, we all individually have a background to share. Whether you’re from the West, the South, or the North, whether you grew up on the plains, the Rocky Mountains, or in the big city, you have something of you to include on the page. Don’t be afraid of the rules so much you fail to share it.

Because in the end, reading is traveling places in your mind that you’d never go, to eras you didn’t live in, with people you’d have loved to meet, and taking the reader to there is for an author the greatest sign of success. If my books never receive rave reviews but one person says it took them here, for me that’s the greatest pleasure of all.

 

Suzanne-900Suzanne D. Williams is a native Floridian, wife, mother, photographer, and writer. She is Crossreads author of both nonfiction and fiction books. She writes a monthly column for Steves-Digicams.com on the subject of digital photography, as well as devotionals and instructional articles for various blogs. She also does graphic design for self-publishing authors.

 

To learn more about what she’s doing visit http://suzanne-williams-photography.blogspot.com/ or link with her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/suzannedwilliamsauthor.

Love & Redemption

(The Florida Irish #1)

 

Take a trip into the past and fall in love with an Irishman.LAR-FRONT

 

Released March 1st

 

Michael O’Fallen simply wants to survive. A poor Irish boy living in post-Civil War New York, the events of one horrible night send him running­–far south to unsettled Florida and an unplanned marriage with a girl he doesn’t know.

Now, he must protect her from the lust and greed of evil men and figure out how to make their escape. Will the dangers and perils they face tear their marriage apart? Or will he finally find true Love & Redemption?

 

 

An Author’s Prayer

by June Foster

Dear Lord,

Give me the strength today to pen the words you want written on the page, the knowledge and wisdom to convey the message You desire for the reader to grasp.

I am weak, but You are strong. Lord, I am helpless and can do nothing without Your mighty power and understanding. You make my fingers move on the keyboard. Without You, I couldn’t even find the letters.

You put the words in my heart and allow them to flow through me and onto the page. Without Your knowledge I couldn’t write even the shortest of sentences. And you even placed Spell Check in the program because you know I can’t spell.

Help me mold the words into a story that comes from Your heart. Bring healing and hope to any who read it. Put Your emotion and desire within me to convey Your passion. With every word I type, glorify Your name. I pray in Jesus name. Amen.

June Foster is a retired school teacher with a BA in Education and a MA in counseling. She writes full time and travels in her RV with her husband Joe. June has written four novels for Desert Breeze Publishing. The Bellewood Series, Give Us This Day – February 1, 2012, As We Forgive – September 1, 2012, and Deliver Us – April 1, 2013, and Hometown Fourth of July – July 1, 2012. June loves to write stories about characters who overcome the issues in their lives by the power of God and His Word. June uses her training in counseling and her Christian beliefs in creating characters who find freedom to live godly lives. June’s book, Ryan’s Father, will be published by WhiteFire Publishing in the near future.

Tim Garrett saw Jess Colton back to health in Give Us This Day but can’t control his own life. He wants nothing more than to serve God as a pastoral counselor, but first must prove to the staff and elders at Bellewood Fellowship he can handle the job he was hired to do — work with the senior high youth.

Roxanne Ratner’s father abandoned her when she was ten, and now she doesn’t trust men. They’ll only hurt her like her parent did. She fills the empty place in her heart with shopping for designer clothes. Though the perky young hairstylist falls in love with the Tim, she must keep her distance from the handsome pastor.

Despite Tim’s efforts to prove himself on the job, everything works against him bringing him closer to dismissal. Tim has one last chance at Camp Solid Rock. When Tim learns a frightening secret from his youthful adversary, can he make a difference? Can Roxanne risk giving her heart to Tim?

Chains that don’t chafe…

by Carol G. Stratton          

Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.

 

Philippians 1:12-14 NIV

 

Chains are chains for one reason—they keep one object tied to another. We understand their usefulness with inanimate objects whether it means securing bicycles to a hitching post or keeping a gate locked at night. But when we feel bound to our circumstances, imaginary chains become a point of frustration. Perhaps one spouse is tied to selling a house while the other has to move ahead to start a new job or a married couple has been called to the mission field and they need to sell their house to help fund their ministry. Maybe we feel imprisoned in an area we don’t like but because of situations with family and jobs, we are not free to leave.

 

When writing how his imprisonment had given him opportunities to share his faith, the Apostle Paul refused to fight his chains. History tells us that every four hours Paul was chained to a new prison guard and many became believers. The Bible tells us that as a result of what happened to Paul, the gospel was advanced.

 

Seeing our life chains as a way to anchor us to God, helps us stop chaffing against them. Those miserable, weighty iron links that seem to hold us down might be necessary to make us stop and do something we might not have done otherwise. When we are stuck in one place with few options, God often does his finest work. Being pinned to one place gives us time to think about our lives, to pray more, to communicate with others in our current community, and spend quality time worshiping our Lord.

 

God might even have a special project for us that we wouldn’t have seen while flitting around in our previous life. A few years ago my husband and I found ourselves unemployed while trying to sell our house. Fourteen months of showing a house in a down market seemed like an eternity when we wanted to move on, but I have a 70,000 word novel to show for my time of house arrest.

 

Are you bound to your present circumstances? God may have you anchored for a reason. Look around you. Is there someone God wants you to befriend in order to share the good news? Release from anxiety often comes when we respond to our current situation while looking for opportunities to make good out of it.

 

When we quit fighting our chains, we may find a greater purpose in wearing them.

 

CarolStrattonSMTaken from the book Changing Zip Codes: Finding Community Wherever You’re Transplanted to be available from Amazon.com  http://tinyurl.com/a3g5cdg  or Christian book stores,

 

Carol is available to talk to women’s groups and writing groups. You may contact her at carolgstratton@gmail.com or through her website: www.ChangingZipCodes.com  .

“Carol Stratton has chosen to write to a topic that is addressed in few other

places: clinging to faith during times of change. The fresh daily format and

encouraging, biblical insights will encourage anyone who is struggling

through the idea of moving to a new location, as well as uplifting those who

are joyfully anticipating a move.”— Darla Knoth, Leadership Development/

Content Coordinator, National Women’s Department, Assemblies of God.

“After twenty-two moves, Carol Stratton is a relocation expert with a heart for

the newcomer. Carol’s warm and witty stories, based on personal experiences,

offer hope and encouragement to anyone faced with a move.” — Florence

Littauer, International Author and Speaker, Founder of CLASSeminar

ministry.

“Having moved fourteen times, I find Carol’s devotional book both encouragingChanging Zip Codes-v2 (1)

and inspiring for anyone relocating. Filled with biblical principles, it keeps

the reader focused on Christ during the upheaval of change that comes with

moving. Her hands-on experience with relocating adds humor and warmth

that will capture the heart of anyone who goes through the transition and

adjustment of a move.” — Susan Miller, Founder and President of Just

Moved Ministry and author of After the Boxes are Unpacked

“Using wit, humor, and entertaining facts (even about Zip Codes), Carol

Stratton provides helpful tips, insight, and cheerleading for those who are

facing the “big move.” She proves that God is everywhere, even among

new neighbors, new coworkers, and new church members. Let her words

encourage you.”— Dr. Dennis E. Hensley, author The Power of Positive

Productivity

“Knowing Carol, I realize her faith in God helped her trust me to help with

their move. Carol has experienced many moves and knows the ins and outs.

Enjoy her tips, words, and insights.” — Mary Jane O’Brien, Top Realtor for

F.C. Tucker Company, Inc.

8 Carol G. Stratton

“Carol Stratton lives what she teaches us in Changing Zip Codes. I have

watched her life with admiration for many years. Her devotional is helpful

for anyone in any situation any day of the week. I look forward to each page

as Carol makes moving almost fun. She challenges us in so many practical

ways and shows us how to serve God and find community where we’re

transplanted.” — Muriel Cook, retired missionary, international speaker,

counselor and author of Kitchen Table Counseling

Changing Zip Codes: Finding Community Wherever You’re Transplanted

is for movers or anyone struggling with major life transitions. While using

scripture and real stories from her twenty-two moves, Author Carol Stratton

motivates readers with encouragement, humor, and practical wisdom,

reminding them that God is always at the other end of the moving van’s

trip. This upbeat 40-day devotional would make an excellent gift for anyone

relocating.” — Michelle Medlock Adams, award-winning author of more

than 50 books and inspirational speaker (www.michellemedlockadams.com)

“Carol Stratton has written not only a meaningful and valuable devotional

for those who are moving to a new location, but I see it also being very

valuable for those moving into new life stages such as: the youngest child

going off to school, empty nest, divorce, retirement, etc. Changing Zip Codes

will be the perfect gift to bless many women, from the young to the young at

heart, at any age in any stage of life.” — Mitzi Beach ASID CAPS, www.

LifesizingLady.com, “Designing life for the second half

 


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