Monday, September 26, 2016

CAN WE CHANGE OUR BEHAVIOR? Guest Lillian Duncan, and a giveaway news





Where Do I Start?

By Lillian Duncan

Galatians 5:22-23

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

As a Christian, I’m always looking to improve my behavior with the goal to become more Jesus in my attitudes and my actions. Sometimes it can be almost overwhelming. It can seem like an impossible task, but it’s not.

Still you might be asking yourself the above question, where do I start? As a new Christian Nikki Kent, the main character in my latest novel, GAME ON, has a unique strategy.

She looked at the yellow sticky note attached to her computer monitor. FORGIVENESS was written in huge capital letters. It was her God word of the month. She’d made a commitment to not only study the fruits of the Spirit, but to cultivate them in her everyday life. Her Christian mentor had assured her she could do it. That nothing was too difficult when one put God in control of one’s life. Her fingernails tapped on her desk. Jesus said to forgive our enemies. 

Lucas might not be her enemy, but he was close. 

And though forgiveness isn’t specifically mentioned in Galatians 5:22, being able to forgive others is crucial to our own spiritual walk if we want to mature. If we aren’t able to forgive, then the other listed fruits are going to have difficulty taking root in our life.

Without forgiveness, it’s hard to show love to others.
Without forgiveness, there’s no peace and joy only hurt and anger.
        Without forgiveness, we won’t find the patience (forbearance) we need in our daily life.
Without forgiveness, kindness, goodness, and gentleness will be in short supply.
Without forgiveness, we’ll be too busy being angry to be faithful in our responsibilities.

And finally being able to forgive is the ultimate example of self-control.

So as you can see though forgiveness isn’t a fruit of the spirit, it certainly is the fertilizer that will help with the growth of the fruits of the spirit. And so Nikki struggles with forgiveness as the story moves forward.

First it’s about her forgiving others of the wrongs done to her or so she feels, but eventually it becomes about her forgiving herself for her own mistakes.

Life can be like that as well.

Sometimes we think all our problems are someone else’s faults but the more we mature spiritually we see that our own actions might have been the cause of our problems or at the very least contributed to them.

And that’s when we have to learn how to forgive ourselves as well as others. It’s important to remember God’s already forgiven us so we need to do the same.

My publisher outdid herself with the book trailer for my newest book, GAME ON. Check it out at: https://youtu.be/t6MK2UGB1P0. 



GIVEAWAY:

To celebrate the release of GAME ON, I’m giving away a virtual basket of goodies at www.lillian-duncan.com including Amazon gift cards. For all the details go to my blog, Tiaras & Tennis Shoes. Simply leave a comment on the blog post GAME ON at www.lillian-duncan.com and you’ll be entered.

BLURB for GAME ON

Politics is no game when a stalker nears and there’s nowhere to hide.

A run for the senate is just a step on the road to the White House for Congressman Lucas McMann. But his public profile has put him in the middle of a crazed gunman’s twisted game of stalking. If he wants to win the election and reclaim his life, he’ll need the help of the one person who’d rather leave their past behind them.

Private Investigator Nikki Kent knows how to dig up secrets and discover those who exist in the shadows. She should. She’s good at hiding secrets of her own. Can she risk her own discovery for someone so desperate for her help? For the first man who broke her heart?

With new-found faith, she’ll help Lucas search for the answers. But with the truth comes a danger they must face together.

Check out the book trailer video for GAME ON at  https://youtu.be/t6MK2UGB1P0

BIO:


Lillian Duncan…Stories of faith mingled… with murder & mayhem.

Lillian is a multi-published author who lives in Ohio Amish country with her husband. After more than 30 years working as a speech pathologist for children, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word.

Lillian writes the types of books she loves to read—fast-paced suspense and mystery with a touch of romance that demonstrates God’s love for all of us. To learn more about Lillian, you may visit her at www.lillianduncan.net or www.lillian-duncan.com. She also has a devotional blog at www.PowerUpWithGod.com.


Friday, September 23, 2016

DOES THE FUTURE LOOK DARK?


DOES THE FUTURE LOOK DARK?

By Ada Brownell

I've never been afraid of the dark. When I was a kid the darker it was, the better we liked it.

The main reason for that is during the summer my siblings and I played Kick the Can after dark. The game was similar to Hide and Seek, except we set an empty can upside down in the middle of the yard.  The person who was “It” had to count to 100 and then begin searching.

 If the “It” person found us, we could race and kick the can before the person who was “It” could do it.  Then we hid again and the person who was “It” had to count and hunt again. Sometimes we’d sneak around and kick the can even when we hadn’t been found because then the “It” person had to count to 100 again and we’d hide.

I slept outside under the stars with friends during the summer, too. Dark night didn’t scare me. In those days there wasn’t much to be frightened of in the dark, or even the light.

One night, though, while walking to church by myself when I was 12 or 13, I noticed the neighbor who lived across the street stumbling along toward me on the sidewalk, singing. He was drunk! I was halfway between church and home so I decided to walk as quietly as I could on the edge of the sidewalk and perhaps he wouldn’t notice me.

 Instead, when I tiptoed beside him, he shouted, “Boo!”

I shot down the street as his loud laughs echoed all over the neighborhood.  I arrived at church in record time, huffing and puffing.

After I was married, in a little town with no street lights I went out to empty the trash in a fenced pit area. Thought nothing of it because I knew where it was, even in the dark. Just as I dumped the waste basket a cat shot up out of the bin with a loud yowl. I about left my skin there.

Today, however, on occasion reality causes me and many Christians to view the future as a trip into darkness because of fearsome unknowns. We’re told in 2 Timothy 3:1 that in the last days before Christ’s return, perilous times shall come. Jesus even said, “In this world you will have tribulation.”

How should we respond? The answer is to get into God’s Word. God inspired the writers to insert so many promises there. Jesus’s warning in John 16:33 is followed by, “But be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.”

Only recently I noticed a scripture that hadn’t caught my attention before, “The Lord said that He would dwell in the thick darkness” (1 Kings 8:12).

Solomon reminded Israel of that during the temple dedication when the presence of God came as a cloud and filled the temple and priests couldn’t even minister. Perhaps some in attendance trembled, scared out of the wits. It was as silly then to be afraid of the dark as it is now. The cloud in the temple was God’s awesome glory and should cause joy instead of fear.

Today if He’s our Lord, we know God is with us—even in the dark. He promised to never leave or forsake (Hebrews 13:5), and we can hold on to that, even when the future seems to look dark and foreboding. God even dwells in the thick darkness!

Copyright Ada Brownell 2016

Ada Brownell, a retired reporter for The Pueblo Chieftain, is the author of seven books, including Peach Blossom Rancher, an historical romance released Aug. 1, 2016, by Elk Lake Publishing. Go to her Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/author/adabrownell








Thursday, September 15, 2016

HOW i GET OVER ROUGH PATHS



 
Rough Paths

By Ginger Solomon

Have you ever gone through something in your life where it seemed like every time you took a step, you tripped and fell? Nothing seemed to go right, no matter how hard you tried.

I have.

First, it’s depressing because you feel like God has abandoned you. Second, you just want to give up. Why fight when you only ever lose?

But I’m here to tell you, keep fighting. Don’t give up. God’s got your back. He will help you along. When you stumble, He is there to pick you up.

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the LORD. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)




Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” (NLT) But do we use the Word as our light? Do we trust Him to guide our feet?

I know for me that during those times of rough paths, I have strayed from what God has told me to do. I’m NOT saying you have. Sometimes those rough places come because of others’ actions and not our own. I know people who have had some seriously rough paths to walk through no fault of their own. BUT GOD was always there, guiding, protecting, and providing peace.

In my recent novella, Learning from Experience, one of my secondary characters shares this with my hero: God has a way of making even the roughest paths lead to good things. It’s a variation of the verse in Romans that says, And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (8:28, ESV)

It’s hard, though. I know that. Oh, how I know it. It’s hard to trust that the dark place you’re in right now will be nothing but a distant memory in the future. It’s hard to trust that anything good can possibly come from it. BUT GOD promises that something good will come from where you are IF you love Him, and He never goes back on His promises.

If you’ve been on a rough path and came out on the other side into the good, please share your encouragement for those in that place right now. One commenter will receive a PDF copy of my novella, Learning from Experience (featured in the boxed set Falling for You).

MEET GINGER SOLOMON

Ginger Solomon is a Christian, a wife, a mother to seven, and a writer—in that order (mostly). She writes or reads inspirational romance of any genre, and if she’s busy homeschooling, doing laundry, or fixing dinner, it’s on her mind. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, president of her local writing group, and blogs regularly for InspyRomance.com and at gingersolomon.com. She has two full-length novels and three novellas published. In addition she has several manuscripts scheduled to release in 2016.


Author Links:







Learning from Experience blurb:

Lexi Ross loves the life she’s created for herself as an art gallery manager. She enjoys promoting the work of up-and-coming artists. When Nathan Vanderwahl, her boss and her late friend’s older brother, steps through the door of her gallery, his appearance resurrects feelings she’s buried so deep, she’s almost forgotten, and turns her world upside-down.

Because of his father’s death-bed request, Nathan shoves his reservations to the side and visits Lexi. When she asks him to leave her alone, he promises he will, if she’ll go see his father. Even if it breaks his heart to do it.

An old man and his will change everything for them. Can they learn from his experience or will they hold on to the hurts of the past and walk away from a promising future?


Falling for You   (featuring Learning from Experience) is available at Amazon(releases 9/13, but available

Monday, September 12, 2016

GOD KEEPS HIS PROMISES




Sometimes those prayers that we give to God take a while for Him to make real in our lives. He has His good reasons for His timing.

This year (Aug. 2016) I am seeing something come true that I asked of the Lord over 16 years ago. Longer than that, when I think of the original request that goes back to February 1979.

When I was holding my baby girl, Sarah, in the maternity ward, I knew that in the following days I would keep my promise and relinquish her to adoption. I was unmarried at the time of her birth, and wanted my child to have the security and love of a loving dad as well as a loving mom.

It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, but somehow I knew God was going to use our story to encourage others. I began to pray back then, shortly after giving my little girl up in 1979, that one day I could write or tell our story.

As Sarah went to live with her new mom and dad, God was very good to me, and a year later sent a sweet man into my life. David and I married and as the years passed, we had our own 3 beautiful children. Then as the years inched forward closer and closer to the time my birth daughter Sarah would be turning 19 I began to pray for our reunion. The age 19 was the age of majority in our province, and when Sarah and I could legally be reunited.

The reunion eventually took place, 2 years later than I had first hoped, but the reunion turned out to be far more emotionally painful that I was prepared for. I was not only reunited with my child, but with the fact that she was NOT my child. I began to relive my original loss of Sarah.

God is so faithful though. I went through a terrible valley of depression and loss that lasted a good 2 or 3 years, but my relationship with God brought me out of it.

It was through that journey of emotional pain and eventually healing that I discovered the story God wanted me to tell. That was when I began to pray again that God would use Sarah’s and my relinquishment/reunion story to encourage others.

And now 16 years later, that true-life account of what God taught me through the relinquishment of my child will be published this August 15, 2016, and is called FINDING SARAH—FINDING ME: A BIRTH MOTHER’S STORY.

The main premise of this long-awaited book is found in Isaiah 49:15,16a

“Can a woman forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has born? Though she may forget, I will not forget you…see I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.”

Click HERE to read the first chapter of Finding Sarah—Finding Me

Reunion Day


Book Description

Sometimes it is only through giving up our hearts that we learn to trust the Lord.

Adoption. It’s something that touches one in three people today, a word that will conjure different emotions in those people touched by it. A word that might represent the greatest hope…the greatest question…the greatest sacrifice. But most of all, it’s a word that represents God’s immense love for his people.

Join birth mother Christine Lindsay as she shares the heartaches, hopes, and epiphanies of her journey to reunion with the daughter she gave up...and to understanding her true identity in Christ along the way.

Through her story and glimpses into the lives of other families in the adoption triad, readers will see the beauty of our broken families, broken hearts, and broken dreams when we entrust them to our loving God.



PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon (Paperback and Kindle)




ABOUT CHRISTINE LINDSAY

Christine Lindsay is the author of multi-award-winning Christian fiction with complex emotional and psychological truth, who always promises a happy
ending. Tales of her Irish ancestors who served in the British Cavalry in Colonial India inspired her multi-award-winning series Twilight of the British Raj, Book 1 Shadowed in Silk, Book 2 Captured by Moonlight, and explosive finale Veiled at Midnight.

Christine’s Irish wit and use of setting as a character is evident in her contemporary and historical romances Londonderry Dreaming and Sofi’s Bridge.

A busy writer and speaker, Christine, and her husband live on the west coast of Canada. Coming August 2016 is the release of her non-fiction book Finding Sarah—Finding Me: A Birthmother’s Story.



Please drop by Christine’s website www.ChristineLindsay.org or follow her on Amazon on Twitter. Subscribe to her quarterly newsletter, and be her friend on Pinterest , Facebook, and  Goodreads




Thursday, September 8, 2016

How I Found a Career



By Ada Brownell



We arrived a week after I gave my resignation to a daily newspaper in a mountain village of 7,000. That evening was my first shift as a general assignments reporter for a publication with a circulation of over 50,000 in a city of 100,000.


I'd never had a journalism course. I had no college degree. Two large notebooks full of published free lance articles opened this large newsroom to me.


"We need you to cover the weather," the editor told me, handing me a telephone number for the Weather Service.


So, I interviewed the weatherman and wrote a short report. The editor brought it back to me. A major snowstorm swirled our way and he wanted it covered well.


"Tell us what's coming from the north, and what's happening south, east and west."


"O.K.," my mouth said, but my head felt as if a mound of snow landed on it. How could I do that? I got lost when I went home for the lunch break. I'm directionally challenged. I had no idea where nearby communities were located.


I phoned the weatherman again and grilled him about all the points on the compass and what the cold fronts had packed to dump in our area. I survived and lived to learn, report, and write a decent story.

Before the mountain town job, I worked as a stringer for the newspaper in a tiny community near my hometown. When I started, I was given a handbook about how to recognize a good story, how to interview, how to write news and features. I almost memorized the book which told in a nutshell almost everything taught about news writing in the college classroom later when I earned my mass communications degree. Yet, I'd had few opportunities to cover important events.


But I was determined to learn. Despite success free lancing for Christian publications, when I made my first a big sale, I invested in a correspondence course. “Writing for Christian Publications.”  Later I took a class in fiction writing. I hadn't planned to be a writer. It all started when I was a teen with submitting ideas to a leaders magazine for youth services, and then articles.


As a child, I memorized the advice of Solomon, "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might" (Ecclesiastes 9:10).  Thus, when an idea came I felt might draw people to God, I put it on paper.  That's how a career grew from almost nothing but grace.


The task wasn't easy. As any writer, I received rejections. I had to quit the news business and take out 15 years to stay at home with our five children, and then find a way back into doing the only thing I knew how to do besides manual labor.  I wanted to help send our children to Christian colleges.


One discouraging day I opened the Bible and my eyes fell on this scripture, "Be strong and do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded" (2 Chronicles 15:7).


I've found those words to be true. I earned my degree and landed the needed job. I worked there until retirement and enjoyed what I did. I'm still listening for the Lord's voice, working with my hands, and seeing results.

©Copyright Ada Brownell






  


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

WHAT ARE THE REAL WOMEN’S ISSUES FOR THIS ELECTION?






By Ada Brownell


 Some politicians and the media would have us to believe abortion and free birth control are at the top of a woman’s priorities.


Wrong. No matter how many polls support those ideas, women are much wiser and have wider and higher goals than that. At least I would hope so.


First and foremost, a woman wants to be loved. Perhaps that’s why too many today sidestep their common sense and believe having an attractive body and men chasing them for a night in bed is ultimate success. But what a wise woman really wants is a man who falls in love with who she is and will love her, forsaking all others, through financial trouble, sickness, the challenges children bring, and having someone at their side to enjoy wonders of life.


My husband and I have been married 63 years in October. Although many bumps in the road could have wrecked our marriage, we survived and the love, commitment and endurance of the marriage have been worth it. The effect of a stable home on our children is priceless.


In contrast, too many women today are becoming sexually active at a young age, some are promiscuous or living with a “significant other” instead of getting married first. Then they wonder why the guy who says he’s her “fiancĂ©” never marries her.


This is the age when women scream for “choice” but here are some of the things they don’t know they’re choosing. The Center for Disease Control’s 2010 report on Sexually Transmitted Diseases identified STDs as one of the most critical health challenges facing our nation, with 19 million new infections each year, costing the health care system $17 billion.

 When women submit to a misnamed “lover,” they don’t expect the misery and shame caused by herpes (incurable), the cancers caused by human papilloma virus, the infertility caused by Chlamydia, liver failure from hepatitis B and C, and risks of AIDS. They don’t consider the hard life that results from an unwed pregnancy, the guilt of abortion, emotional problems connected to loving someone who doesn’t love you enough to marry you and take responsibility for the children; suicide risk because of the resulting hopelessness; the risk of alcoholism and drug addiction to mask emotional pain; and possible abuse or murder from a jealous “lover.”

Beneath the cry for “choice,” instinctively women know love is far more intense than lust. Lust may last for a few moments, a few nights, or maybe even a few years. But love, especially when deepened by God’s supernatural love and a marriage commitment, endures for a lifetime, through every disagreement, beyond outward beauty, into every heartache, every sickness, every financial crisis, every disappointment, every loss, and even in death.

Genuine love is what most women want, but they won’t get it selfishly seeking after “choice.” Thinking ladies will look way beyond that when deciding who will get their vote.

The future holds so much for women, but it starts with knowing God, His love, and tapping into His supernatural love, wisdom, strength and beauty. God has the future in His hands, and although politicians can influence society, the nation, and affect what women do, God is much greater. When we submit to Him, He will direct our feet.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).  

Ada Brownell is a retired reporter for The Pueblo Chieftain and the author of seven books, including the recently released novel, Peach Blossom Rancher. https://www.amazon.com/author/adabrownellhttps://www.amazon.com/author/adabrownell




















Thursday, September 1, 2016

PROPINQUITY, LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT OR WHAT?




By Ada Brownell



I’ve studied and written about love many times, but writing my historical romance, The Lady Fugitive  and  Peach Blossom Rancher stretched me some.

After all, although I wrote some fiction, I spent the majority of my life writing news and non-fiction. Which of the available people would capture the hearts of my characters?

 As with my own love story, real love usually takes a while to burst into full bloom.

  Truth is, I wasn’t looking for romance when for some reason I caught the eye of my future husband. He’s my brother-in-law’s brother and I at almost 15 barely noticed him, except I knew several girls in our church were crazy about him. He was handsome, but nearly five years older and working for the railroad.

I was president of the youth group and busy with summer jobs, school, and ministry. I’d had a couple of dates but I didn’t like either of the guys much. I didn’t expect romance until I was a abonafide adult and I thought I’d be mighty lucky if I caught a good guy’s eye then. After all, a freckled redhead would never have a bunch of handsome suitors.

I’d noticed L.C. watching me before, but it was at a Sunday school ice skating party that I knew something was going on. He had taken skating lessons while in telegraph school in Minneapolis. My dad found skates at an auction for me and my brother and I spent part of every winter on frozen ponds and canals.

L.C. and I were about the only ones at the party who knew how to skate. Others spent their time wobbling on their blades and drinking hot chocolate around the fire.

This young man began talking to me as we went around the moon-lit curves in the canal. I wondered why he was talking to me. Then he asked if he could take me home. Afterward, he asked me for a date. Flattered, I accepted, but I didn’t expect love. After all, my sister was engaged five times before she married.

I didn’t know he was smitten and hunting for a wife.

Was he fooled! I’d taken a beautiful apple pie to a church dinner. I think he thought I knew how to cook. I was good at washing dishes, but you can’t eat them.

The first date led to a year of dating, breaking up, making up, and then a proposal and engagement. But even then I broke up with him and almost refused to have anything to do with him. He wanted to tell me what to do. I wanted no part of him bossing me around. Yet, he persisted and finally we married on my 16th birthday.

 We’ve had a wonderful life together, have five children (all Christians and one in heaven), and have been married 62 years.

I finished high school, later earned my college degree, and I’ve studied love a long time.

 Falling in love is an act of the will. Cupid doesn’t shoot you with a poison love arrow and “twang!” you’re a goner. Love happens because of several circumstances.

1. You are around the person of the opposite sex frequently (that’s called propinquity—what happens when you are near in time and space).

2. You desire someone in your life.

3. Your God-given instincts are telling you to create a family.

4. The person will build your ego

5. Because you decide to fall in love to create excitement in your life.

6. Because no one better is available.

7. Because you have similar interests.

8. Because you are lonely.

9. Because someone else thinks it’s a good idea.

10. Most important: Because while you were in the womb God had a plan for your lives, and your love is so strong you feel you can’t live without one another (Psalm 37:23).

Finally, long marriages happen because you decide to continue to love one another, obey God’s Word, and honor the vows made before God to cherish only each other until death—the most romantic words ever spoken.

--copyright Ada Brownell 2016
:
Peach Blossom Rancher
RELEASED BY ELK LAKE PUBLISHING AUG. 1, 2016

Peach Blossom Rancher, an historical romance

Sequel to The Lady Fugitive; second in Peaches and Dreams series
By Ada Brownell
A handsome young man inherits a ranch in ruin and a brilliant doctor is confined to an insane asylum because of one seizure. Yet their lives intersect.
John Lincoln Parks yearns for a wife to help rebuild the ranch and eyes Valerie MacDougal, a young widow who homesteaded, but also is an attorney.
Will the doctor ever be released from the asylum? Will John marry Valerie or Edwina Jorgenson, the feisty rancher-neighbor he constantly fusses with? This neighbor has a Peeping Tom whose bootprints are like the person’s who dumped a body in John’s barn. Will John even marry, or be hanged for the murder?
Paperback also available wherever books are sold.
Get e-book or paperback on Amazon now at http://amzn.to/2arRVgG

THE LADY FUGITIVE 
By Ada Brownell
Released Aug. 1, the sequel to The Lady Fugitive, The Peach Blossom Rancher
A book the editor says book clubs will love to discuss.
A handsome young man inherits a ranch in ruin and a brilliant doctor is confined to an insane asylum because of one seizure. Yet their lives intersect. How will they achieve their dreams?
Published by Elk Lake Publishing, a division of Book Club Network
Jennifer Louise Parks escapes from an abusive uncle. Will she avoid the bounty hunters? Can she forgive the person who turns her in?
Reviewer: The adventures and mishaps that JL Parks gets into will have you laughing out loud, biting your nails and perhaps even wishing you had a gun with which to help.
The most common remarks among readers of The Lady Fugitive “I couldn’t put it down;” “I love the characters;” “Sorry when it was over.” “I was hooked from the opening page.”
Available in paper and for Kindle
The Lady Fugitive 2015 Laurel Award runner-up.