I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Psalm 16:8
There’s nothing like receiving bad news, right? Bad news is just BAD!! Of course, bad news can always be worse, but it’s still BAD! LOL You get my drift? I recently received some bad news. The kind that makes you call a few people, bite your lip, cry, and make you eat a triple decker cake with thick lemon cream cheese frosting. (I didn’t eat the cake. LOL)
While I listened to the bad news, I reminded myself that the situation didn’t catch God by surprise and He was (is) with me. Romans 8:28 says, And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
I trust Him!!I looked myself dead in the eyes (The other eye looked crossed for some reason, so I cropped the pic. LOL) and said, “I WILL NOT BE SHAKEN!”
I’ve decided not to try to figure out why it happened. It’s a waste of time. He will work it out. Proverbs 3:5,6 says, 5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.
I’m moving forward. By the way, I have a few stories that will eventually be released, Lord willing. My bad news: My short story, Season of Love, will not be a part of the A Spring of Weddings collection, which will be released on April 29th. I’m praying the collection will be a bestseller! In Jesus name. Amen!
Be encouraged! “Your present situation is not your final destination.” I don’t know who said it, but it sure make sense. 🙂
I’ve struggled to blog all year. In fact, this is my first blog post for 2017. Saying that I’ve been busy is an understatement. I have a couple of stories that are due to release soon, and I just started production on my next play. I am also preparing to go to Thailand on a mission trip. See what I mean? Busy! I’ve experienced many ‘what the heck’ moments during the last 45 days of this year, which is why I’m pushing myself to post.
Today is the day of love, at least in this country. (I’m not sure where else.)
Happy Valentine’s Day! 🙂
While I understand the celebratory meaning of this day, I can’t say I’m a real participant. Honestly, my husband, Antoine, and I didn’t even acknowledge the day before he left for work this morning. I don’t think we ever have. It’s not because we don’t love each other. If you know us personally, you know that’s not the case. It’s never been our thing.
I didn’t remember it was Valentine’s Day until I signed onto Facebook. Funny. The lady at the store grimaced at my answer after looking at my wedding ring and asking what my husband and I were doing to celebrate. My answer was nothing. Of course, she had a few choice words for my husband for not buying me anything. I just smiled and said, “my husband is a great guy.” I mean, I didn’t see any reason to hold up the line trying to explain the idiomatic expression “to each his own.” LOL
I haven’t been into stuffed toys since I was a child. Jewelry is nice, but I’d rather save that money or put it toward a cruise or a worthy cause. Flowers are prettier when planted in the ground. I’m desperately trying to maintain my single digit size, so a box of chocolates, cake or any other sweet treat is out of the question. LOL
I know my nontraditional way of thinking is not the norm. My explanation, not that I need to give one, is, I’m just not that girl. 🙂 That’s not to say I’m against the tradition. If you’re into it, go for it.
I mentioned earlier that I’d experienced some ‘what the heck’ moments this year. There’s not a stuffed toy, jewelry, flower, candy, or cake that could’ve helped me get through those moments. However, the genuine love, prayer, support, and encouraging words from my husband did.
So, we didn’t remember to say happy valentine’s day to each other, but we did remember to pray together, encourage each other, and pray for each other throughout the day as we do every day. We have been told we don’t fit the mold and that our relationship is strange. Ha! I’ll take us any day and twice on Sunday.
If you’re like that lady in the store who all but cursed my husband for not showering me with gifts today, know that there are a few people who are just not that into it. But Still, We Love!
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY! Celebrate the way you see fit. I’m just . . .
20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)
I love these verses. It’s a reminder of how awesome God really is.
We all know how eventful 2016 has been. If you’ve never been a Debbie Downer before, this was definitely the year to become one. LOL Of course that depends on where we put our hope. We’ve all made it to this point, so whatever we’re going through hasn’t defeated us. And it didn’t catch God by surprise.
“It didn’t catch God by surprise.” I’ve heard that statement a billion times over the last few years. It’s so true that it’s annoying sometimes. LOL Why get upset and all bent out of shape when God is right there with us? I wish I could honestly write how easy it is for me to trust God all of time, but it just isn’t true. I have to constantly remind myself to trust Him and to stay focused on Him. I truly believe that no matter what challenges life may bring us, IF we continue to trust God, focus on Him, and persevere, then we can get over any obstacle. Nothing is bigger than God.
Okay, so 2017 is right around the corner, but it’s actually just the dayafter December 31, 2016. More than likely our situations will be exactly the same. A new year isn’t exactly a new start. I’m not being a Debbie Downer. Just throwing out some reality. But here’s the thing–-we can put our hope in the Lord and trust Him every step of the way! We can make that decision right now. The truth is, whatever we are wasting energy on being upset isn’t worth it. People will do their best to annoy us and things will go wrong. That’s life. Remember, nothing catches God by surprise! Trust Him! (I’m talking to myself too. LOL)
Well, that’s about it for now. I pray the rest of 2016 and 2017 will be your best days yet! I’m not exempt. I’m . . .
Just blogging it out . . . Oh and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. (Galatians 6:9)
I love telling funny stories about my relatives on their birthday. It’s a great way to reminisce about the fun times we’ve had over the years. Before I get into the jollification (LOL), here’s something I’ve never told anyone before . . .
The first time I saw Brittney was on printed photos my sister (her mother) sent from Gaeta, Italy. She was born in the late 80’s so we didn’t have smartphones, the internet, or even a digital camera. LOL I thought she was a cutie patootie and I couldn’t wait to see her in person.
I finally met Brittney in person six months later. Let me tell you, I thought she was the most beautiful little baby girl I had ever seen in my life. Here’s the part that I’ve never told anyone before: My world at the time was very dim. I was very young and had no idea where my life was headed. I hadn’t received Jesus as my Lord and Savior, so all I knew was my reality. My life wasn’t horrible, but I was just existing. You know what I mean? Humdrum. Brittney brought joy into my life. 😀 A brighter side.
Here’s the funny . . . She was the cutest rollipoliest, deep voice having, all I wanna to do is draw, play by myself, pink wearing, take me to Baskin Robbins so I can get vanilla ice cream with sprinkles (but you can get that at home LOL),Veggie Tales and Jungle Jam and Friends listening, ham eating, bacon loving, Sims City Life building girl I’ve ever known. 😀
I hope you enjoyed your birthday, Brittney. I pray the Lord will bless you beyond your imagination. You already know, God has a specific purpose for your life. Focus on Him for guidance and don’t grow weary in well doing!! Keep moving forward. Love you!! 😀
Just blogging it out . . . Oh and please join me in wishing my niece a happy birthday!! 😀 (12/10)
KOST 103.5 Los Angeles has been playing Christmas music since November and I absolutely LOVE IT!! 😀 This is my favorite time of year. Heck, it’s the most wonderful time of the year, which happens to be playing on the radio right now. 😀
As a child, I hoped to receive at least a few items on my gift list. I would spend hours looking through the mail order Christmas catalogs from various department stores. Let’s see, there was JcPenney, Sears, Service Merchandise, and Montgomery Ward. Do those catalogs still exist? 😀
Okay, here’s the quick Christmas memory:
This memory includes an embarrassing picture. LOL The year was 1978. My father had just passed away a week before Thanksgiving. My mother was a housewife raising four children before he died. Needless to say, there was some financial concerns. I remember her telling us there wouldn’t be many presents under the tree that year. Of course, Christmas isn’t about presents, but they are a significant part of this memory.
Many people gave us presents that year because they cared. I’m holding a few of the presents in the above pic: My cousin, Barbara, gave me the Ernie doll; my cousin, Charlotte, gave me the clown; and the Pink Panther was one of the gifts from my mother. I don’t remember everyone who gave or what they gave, but I know it was quite a few people. I was so happy despite our circumstance.
I will be forever grateful for the generosity of those people. I will continue to pay it forward for the rest of my life.
Just blogging it out . . . OH and Happy Thursday Night! 😀
It’s been a little while since my last post. As I was sitting here in front of my laptop trying to figure out what to write, Deuteronomy 30:19-20 came to mind.
19 Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! 20 You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the Lord, you will live long in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
I’ve had an interesting month to say the least. We’ve all gone through difficult times, so I will spare you the details of mine. How I got through it is far more important than the what. We’re all different. What may be difficult for me, may not be difficult for someone else and vice versa. Right?
I was able to get through it by choosing to love God, to obey Him, and committing myself firmly to Him. What does that mean exactly? It means not doing things my way!! LOL Unless, of course, my way lines up with the word of God. 😀 I’m not ashamed to admit that on more than one occasion, I was a bit (A lot a bit. LOL I know that’s doesn’t make sense, but I think it’s funny.) off kilter. I like to call those occasions “WHAT THE HECK?”moments. Usually, instant gratification is the main focus. There’s a sense of urgency to get out of the situation and rarely God focused.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to remind myself that God is ALWAYS with me. Even during difficult times, He’s right here! 😀 That’s enough to get me through anything.
Now, I’m not saying things will be perfect because as you know, God never promised us perfection. However, He promised to never leave us or forsake us. I’ll take that any day and twice on Sunday. 😀 I’m silly! LOL Also, I have a very small, but good support system. I call them my forever peeps. 😀 Those are the people you can COMPLETELY trust, who will give you godly advice or just a good listening ear. Voila! That difficult chapter is closed. 😀
Remember, nothing is bigger than God. He’s always with you; choose to stay focused on Him. Choose to focus on God before the challenge, stay in the word, and pray.
I’m not exempt, I’m . . .
Just blogging it out . . . OH and Happy Monday Night!! 😀
Four novellas in a variety of genres—that’s all they are. Just four stories to quiet your heart and soul as you embrace the beauty of the Christmas season. Inside, you’ll find Vikki Kestell’s historical romance and a reminder that the Lord’s plans are always just what we need. You’ll be introduced to Cathe Swanson’sunlikely romance about a woman who sets out to do one good deed and is drawn into the lives of a cast of eccentric elderly people. You’ll meet April Hayman‘sand her southern madcap mystery featuring an FBI agent, a con artist or two, and a few eccentric elderly people of her own. And you’ll find Chautona Havig’s Christian fiction novella that blends comedy, suspense, with a garnish of romance.
In the hope that through these Christmas stories your heart will be lightened and brightened, we offer you this collection. Merry Christmas! And a happy, light read!
Let me start by saying, I enjoyed reading all four stories. I am not familiar with any of the authors and had no idea what to expect. I am going to be completely honest with you, it took more pages than usual for me to get into one of the books because I’m not used to reading books in that genre. Exactly why I pushed myself to read it . . . for something new and beautiful.
Heart of Joy is such a beautiful story about a woman who is trying to live her life after a heartbreaking tragedy. Joy struggles with moving forward after a devastating loss. Is it right to love again? I found her inner thoughts about Mr. O’Dell hilarious. Who knew Historical fiction could be funny. LOL There were quite a few times I found myself clutching my chest. I don’t want to give a lot of detail, but tissue is a must. Thank you, Ms. Kestell. For helping me discover something new and beautiful.
Snow Angels is a story about Lisa, an introvert who is looking forward to 6 weeks of vacation after a, lets say, peculiar experience feeding the less fortunate on Thanksgiving. Amazing what we can learn about ourselves when we help others and vice versa. Ms. Swanson created a great mixture of Bible principles and humor, which to me, is an excellent way to make lessons stick.
Trip the Light Fantastic: God never promised us an easy life and you never know what may come out of a situation. Ms. Hayman does a great job of keeping the reader interested with lots of humor, Trip, Landry, and the other characters along with a great storyline.
Christmas Stalkings: This story made me laugh out loud many times. I absolutely loved Wendy and all her cats. (I think she lives across the street from me. LOL) I appreciated her honest thoughts even though they weren’t perfect. And the quirky neighbors were an added bonus. I was drawn into the story and felt just as desperate as Wendy, who had a hard time convincing the police that something fishy was going on. Awesome story, Ms. Havig.
I give this collection 5 stars. The stories are totally different, but the love of God is in each and every one of them. Must read. You won’t be disappointed.
About the Author
Vikki Kestell:is the author of the acclaimed inspirational series, A Prairie Heritage—a compelling saga of family, faith, and great courage. Vikki’s contribution to this collection, The Heart of Joy, asks, “Can true, enduring love happen twice in a lifetime?”
Cathe Swanson:Author of contemporary mystery and romantic suspense, Cathe brings us Snow Angels – an entertaining companion novella and introduction to her upcoming Great Lakes series.
April Hayman:Author of Heirlooms of Deception series, debuts with a novella featuring mystery, humor, and “divine intervention.”
Chautona Havig: Author of the Amazon bestselling Aggie’s Inheritance, Past Forward, and HearthLand series, Chautona brings humor, stalkings, and stockings to this collection.
Guest Post from the Authors
The Christmas Lights Collectionformed in the spring of 2016 with the idea of bringing four novellas together with one unifying theme: light. After all, each author in this collection has one primary focus in life: Jesus. And in the book of John, He is called the “Light of Men.”
We thought we’d share what inspired our novellas and pray that these books are a delight and encouragement to all.
The Heart of Joy: This novella is a spin-off story from Vikki Kestell’s Prairie Heritageseries and features one of her most beloved characters, Joy Thoresen, from book three, Joy on This Mountain. After three years of widowhood, Joy mourns not only the loss of her husband but the child someone has kidnapped as well. Only her faith sustains her through difficult days.
Vikki’s goal in writing is to provide FaithFilledFiction to Christians, and this novella is no exception. She worked to show that even amid our sorrow, the Lord brings good, hope-filled gifts to us even when we think we’re not ready for them. She also desired to fill in small, time-veiled gaps in Joy’s story. The Heart of Joy puts the finishing touches on Joy’s story.
Snow Angels: The idea for Snow Angels came to Cathe in slow increments. The idea of using homeless veterans originally prompted research into homeless shelters and programs, but the scope of those became too much for a novella. Still, those characters had stories Cathe wanted to tell, so she continued her research and became increasingly concerned with the plight of homeless veterans—particularly the women. For some reason, we often forget that women serve, get PTSD, and end up on the streets just like the men.
Cathe wanted to combine those realities with other misconceptions that often blind us to the person behind the façade. She wanted to demonstrate how people in otherwise normal lives also can be thrust into situations that trigger PTSD and how those people work through it. Of course, with such a heavy topic, Cathe chose to write the story with a liberal dusting of humor to lighten the mood as you read.
As her debut novel, Cathe introduces readers to characters we’ll see more of in her Great Lakes series and paves the way for her upcoming novel, Baggage Claim, releasing in early 2017.
Trip the Light Fantastic: April has been working on a mystery surrounding, of all things, Shakespeare’s inkwell! So, when she was invited to be a part of the Christmas Lights Collection, April decided to do an introductory novel to her Heirlooms of Deception series and Lance “Trip” Devereaux was “born.”
April admits to loving another character, Landry, just a little bit more than the others. Yet, he could never be a main character. He’s too much of a rascal and a mastermind, so he works best from the shadows. While this book wasn’t about him directly, it could be about someone similar—someone who works in the light but has lost his way and needs help from God and some new friends. Trip the Light Fantastic is a sideways introduction into a character that April hopes will entertain readers for more books to come.
April set her series in Mississippi where her grandparents lived, so the books are rich in southern manners, mannerisms, and manors! Well, there’s one plantation belonging to her irascible but charming con-artist. Watch for a book set at the Crawford house in Spilled Ink, releasing in December 2016.
Christmas Stalkings: A couple of years ago, Chautona was on a Facebook group and a young woman admitted to having seven Christmas trees. Intrigued, she named it the “Seven Tree Obsession” and wondered what kind of character would have seven trees—and why. Well, the more she thought about it, the more interesting it became. After all, what would happen if ornaments got moved around when she wasn’t looking? Who would do that? Why? And what could she add to complicate it?
So, when the opportunity to do the Christmas Lights Collectioncame, Chautona decided she wanted to do that story. It seemed easy enough to contain into forty-thousand words. HA! But she got in her car, turned on her trusty voice recorder, and in the three-hour trek to her ACFW meeting, she schemed, plotted, and laughed until her sides ached at the ideas she came up with. Half never made it into the book, of course, but that’s okay. Chautona has a prequel/sequel planned for it. Lord willing, New Year’s Revolutionswill release on December 31. It’s the “Paul Harvey” version—the “rest of the story.”
While Christmas Stalkings does stand alone, Chautona wanted to explore Neal’s side of things a bit. So she is. It’ll be the fastest “write-to-publication” she’s ever done, but she just had to try. So, for NaNoWriMo, Chautona is off to try to figure out what’s up with Neal and why he’s such a crusty curmudgeon. He’s too young for that! And maybe, just maybe, he’ll embrace a “new life” in the New Year.
To celebrate their tour, the authors are giving away a $25 Amazon gift card! Click the link below to enter. Be sure to comment on this blog post to claim nine extra entries in the giveaway! https://promosimple.com/ps/a8ae