Wednesday, April 29, 2009

An Appeal to The Believers

Last week one of my friends sent me this link. De-Baptism Gains a Following in Britain.  http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1891230,00.html

My friend made the comment that she thought it was sad. And it is, but my reaction is they had put their trust in Men and not in God. Ps 118:8,9.

Brethren and Sisters we must be Believers. 

Church groups are nice and can be a blessing, but if we are not rooted in the Lord Jesus Christ our church membership is in vain.

We were first called believers at the time of Christ's resurrection (Act 2:44; Acts 13:48) because we believe in the blood of Jesus Christ and BELIEVE HE IS OUR REDEEMER. (Rom 3:22-24)

Sadly, even when the apostle Paul preached some would believe and some would not. (Acts 28:24) And it is no different today.

In this appeal to believers everywhere I want to remind all, including myself of the benefits in believing in Jesus Christ and putting Him above tradition and popularity.

God promises us Blessings. (Ps 40:4 ; Ps 84:5,12)

God promises us Deliverance. (Ps 33:18-19; Jer 39:18)

God promises us an Inheritance. (Isa 57:13)

God promises us Joy. ( Ps 5:11; Ps 64:10)

God promises us Mercy. (Ps 32:10; Ps 147:11)

God promises us Peace. (Isa 26:3)

God promises us Redemption. ( Ps 34:8,22)

God promises us Refuge. (Ps 9:9-10; Pr 14:26)

And Safety (Ps 125:1; Pr 29:25; Pr 30:5)

Membership in any organization, race, or denomination does not make you a Believer. Only when you accept the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ do you become a Believer. 

My prayer is that all will repent and turn to Him, and Know Him. He loves us and He is waiting for all of us~~ will you come and sit at His feet with me?

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Noticer

By Andy Andrews

Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective.
A new story of common wisdom from the best selling author of The Traveler's Gift

Orange Beach, Alabama is a simple town filled with simple people.  But like all humans on the planet, the good folks of Orange Beach have their share of problems - marriages teetering on the brink of divorce, young adults giving up on life, business people on the verge of bankruptcy, as well as the many other obstacles that life seems to dish out to the masses.

Fortunately, when things look the darkest - a mysterious man named Jones has a miraculous way of showing up.  An elderly man with white hair, of indiscriminate age and race, wearing blue jeans, a white T-shirt and leather flip flops carrying a battered old suitcase, Jones is a unique soul.  Communicating what he calls "a little perspective," Jones explains that he has been given a gift of noticing things that others miss.  "Your time on this earth is a gift to be used wisely," he says.  "Don't squander your words or your thoughts. Consider even the simplest action you take, for your lives matter beyond measure…and they matter forever."  

Jones speaks to that part in everyone that is yearning to understand why things happen and what we can do about it.  

Like The Traveler's Gift, The Noticer is a unique narrative is a blend of fiction, allegory, and inspiration.  Gifted storyteller Andy Andrews helps us see how becoming a "noticer" just might change a person's life forever. 

What Others Say:

The Noticer is completely absorbing. Anything less that stunning would be an understatement. This is not just one of the best books I have read . . . This is the best book I have ever read in my life~~Nancy Lopez, LPGA Hall of Fame

Andy Andrews has done it again. The Noticer is packed with one astonishing breakthrough after another. This book will transform your life. ~~Pat Simpson, America's Most Trusted Home Improvement Expert, HGTV

My Take:

I received this book when I got home from lunch one day and I could not quit reading until I had read the last page. I loved learning about the four dialects of love language. And how I should sweat the small stuff. I remember when my children were growing up how often I would tell them that people are more important than things. How I wish I could have handed them this book to read, and that I had been able to read it myself all those years ago.

I sat down and wrote a blog about the five people in my life who have had a big influence on me. Lets start a revolution and pass it on.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Old Eddie

Old Eddie
By Tom Henderson

It happened every Friday evening, almost without fail, when the sun resembled a giant orange and was starting to dip into the blue ocean. Old Ed came strolling along the beach to his favorite pier. Clutched in his bony hand was a bucket of shrimp. Ed walked out to the end of the pier, where it seemed he almost had the world to himself. The glow of the sun was a golden bronze now. Everybody was gone, except for a few joggers on the beach. Standing out on the end of the pier, Ed was alone with his thoughts....and his bucket of shrimp. 

Before long, however, he was no longer alone. Up in the sky a thousand white dots came screeching and squawking, winging their way toward that lanky frame standing there on the end of the pier. Dozens of seagulls enveloped him, their wings fluttering and flapping wildly. Ed stood there tossing shrimp to the hungry birds. As he did, if you listened closely, you can hear him say with a smile, "Thank you. Thank you." 

In a few short minutes the bucket was empty. But Ed didn't leave. He stood there lost in thought, as though transported to another time and place. Invariably, one of the gulls landed on his sea-bleached, weather-beaten hat - an old military hat he'd been wearing for years. 

When he finally turned around and began to walk back toward the beach, a few of the birds hopped along the pier with him until he got to the stairs, and then they, too, flew away. And old Ed quietly made his way down to the end of the beach and on home. 

If you were sitting there on the pier with your fishing line in the water, Ed might have seemed like "a funny old duck," as my dad used to say. Or, "a guy that's a sandwich shy of a picnic," as my kids might say. To onlookers, he was just another old codger, lost in his own weird world, feeding the seagulls with a bucket full of shrimp. 

To the onlooker, rituals can look either very strange or very empty. They can seem altogether unimportant ....maybe even a lot of nonsense. Old folks often do strange things, at least in the eyes of Boomers and Busters. Most of them would probably write Old Ed off, down there in Florida. 

That's too bad. They'd do well to know him better. His full name: Eddie Rickenbacker. 

Eddie was the American Ace of Aces in WW I and started Eastern Airlines back in the 30's. He was a famous hero working as a civilian back in World War II. On one of his flying missions across the Pacific, he and his seven-member crew went down.

Miraculously, all of the men survived, crawled out of their plane, and climbed into a life raft. 

Captain Rickenbacker and his crew floated for days on the rough waters of the Pacific. They fought the sun. They fought sharks. Most of all, they fought hunger. 

By the eighth day their rations ran out. No food. No water. They were hundreds of miles from land and no one knew where they were. They needed a miracle. That afternoon they had a simple devotional service and prayed for a miracle. They tried to nap. Eddie leaned back and pulled his military cap over his nose.

Time dragged. All he could hear was the slap of the waves against the raft. Suddenly, Eddie felt something land on the top of his cap. It was a seagull!

Old Ed would later describe how he sat perfectly still, planning his next move. With a flash of his hand and a squawk from the gull, he managed to grab it and wring its neck. He tore the feathers off, and he and his starving crew made a meal - a very slight meal for eight men - of it. Then they used the intestines for bait. With it, they caught fish, which gave them food and more bait, and the cycle continued.

With that simple survival technique, they were able to endure the rigors of the sea until they were found and rescued after 24 days at sea. Eddie said all aboard were converted to Christianity while on the raft. 

Eddie Rickenbacker lived many years beyond that ordeal, (he died 23-Jul-1973) but he never forgot the sacrifice of that first lifesaving seagull. And he never stopped saying, "Thank you."  That's why almost every Friday night he would walk to the end of the pier with a bucket full of
shrimp and a heart full of gratitude.

What an awesome example of Romans 8:28: "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". 

Lives saved in an unexpected way and everyone on the raft became a Christian while they were lost at sea. 

Ps 100:5:  "For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations."

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The White House Project

God uses human hands to do His work and He has given the Brethren Charity Fund another family to help. We call this THE WHITE HOUSE PROJECT.

John and Martha White have three children and all three have disabilities. The parents and two sons have hypoglycemia which makes the other problems more of a challenge.

The older son, fifteen-year-old Matt has Chronic Disabilitating Migraine Disorder. He also suffers from allergies, chemical sensitivities and light asthma (used to be severe but he is outgrowing it). He often passes out with the migraines and becomes paralyzed for a time. He sometimes needs a wheelchair.

Six-year-old Michael had some oxygen deprivation at birth and has learning problems, possible sleep apnea, possible ADHD, and Ventricular Sept Heart Defect (small hole in his heart). He also suffers from allergies. 

Three-year-old Faith has Partial Trisomy 14 (Chromosome Disorder) and her difficulties are from Spastic Double Hemi-Diplegia Cerebral Palsy. She also has seasonal and household allergies. When we visited the family we saw Faith walk. The muscles in her left leg are tight and cause the leg to twist inward. She often steps on her right foot when she tries to walk. Thursday, 4-2-09, Faith had surgery to stretch the muscles in her left leg. She has to wear a brace now for several weeks and a body brace at night probably the rest of her life. And as she grows she will need more surgeries and new braces.  Faith is a very loving child and as you can see by her picture she hadn't really warmed up to the strangers in her house yet, but she gamely tried to smile for us.


Her wheelchair was delivered to her home the evening of her surgery.

So where does BCF come into the picture? The White House is not wheelchair accessible. And we find the existing house, while structurally sound, will need some major readjustments as we prepare to make it livable for this wheelchair-bound child. 

We anticipate adding a simple garage with enclosed wheelchair access into the house, a handicapped bathroom incorporated into an existing laundry room, and enclosure of an existing front porch to be used as a therapy area.

With funds which have already been allocated for this project, and assuming most of the labor will be donated, we project an additional $10,000- $12,000 may be needed. To parents and grandparents blessed with healthy and normal children, this is an opportunity to share the blessing with money and/or labor offerings.

Marsha White says: "We can't thank you all enough for all of your kindness and help. The words "thank you" just don't even seem to begin to describe how appreciative John and I are, Matt too. It has really been rough the last three years with the sudden death of my Mom and then it seemed like we have been continually finding out some medical problem concerning our kids. It has been a really rough valley and a test of our faith. I know that God never forsakes us, but I have to admit, sometimes it feels that way. You have all already blessed us so much more than you could ever know. Just through the care and concern for our family, it is so easy to see God's love shining through you all. It has renewed my hope and joy and helped to strengthen me when I was feeling wore out physically and mentally. God bless you all and thank you so much for everything."

Donations can be sent to: Brethren Charity Fund~ P.O. Box 356
~~Brookville, OH 45309~ Please designate it is for THE WHITE HOUSE PROJECT

If you have questions about THE WHITE HOUSE PROJECT you may leave a coment.

The first project is  downing the large tree. Then removing the back porch(which is now used for a therapy room) to prepare the area for a garage and covered wheelchair ramp.

The front porch will be inclosed to replace the therapy room.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

We Can Only Be Ourselves

~~But God Can Help Us Be Our Best Selves

John 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Reading Maureen Lang's book My Sister Dilly made me think back to when I first learned about the temperaments from Tim LaHaye. And how our character strengths can also become our weakness.

Hannah loved her sister, wanted to be there for her, wanted to ease her life. She didn't see herself as controlling and she for sure didn't see herself as smothering. I wonder if Dr. LaHaye would have classified her as a Chloric? 

And I think of we who are parents. Are we so afraid to see our children fall that we become controlling? Do we hurt so badly for them that we smother them and their endeavors? Do we love them so much that we hurt them?

We have Reinhold Niebuhr to thank for this prayer: 

God grant me the serenity 
to accept the things I cannot change; 
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time; 
Enjoying one moment at a time; 
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; 
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it; 
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life 
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Amen.

Just a reminder: We will have a drawing at the end of the week for a free book. All you have to do is leave a comment on my blog. Maureen Lang will send one blessed person a copy of My Sister Dilly.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Talking with Maureen Lang


Today we're visiting with Maureen Lang. We will have a drawing at the end of the week. All you have to do is leave a comment on my blog. Maureen Lang will send one blessed person a copy of My Sister Dilly.

Maureen has always had a passion for writing. She hand wrote her first novel around the age of ten, put the pages into a notebook she covered with soft deerskin for a “hardback” cover (nothing but the best!) then passed it around the neighborhood for rave reviews. It was so much fun she’s been writing ever since. Eventually Maureen became the recipient of a Golden Heart Award from RWA, followed by the publication of three secular romances. Life took some turns after that and she gave up writing for fifteen years, until her faith sent her in a new artistic direction. Soon she won a Noble Theme Award from American Christian Fiction Writers, and a contract followed a year or so later for her Inspirational historical fiction Pieces of Silver, (nominated for a Christy in 2007). The sequel, Remember Me, released in February of ‘07. She also has three women’s fiction novels from Tyndale House Publishers, The Oak Leaves released in May of ’07, On Sparrow Hill and My Sister Dilly released in ’08. She has a new 3-book series, the first of which will release from Tyndale in the fall of ‘09, set in Europe during the First World War. Maureen lives in the Midwest with her husband, two sons and their dog, Susie.


SHARON: Thank you for joining us today Maureen. It's always a blessing to get to know other writers. When and how did you get interested in writing?

MAUREEN: I’ve been interested in storytelling ever since I was a child. I was one of the youngest in a family of six children (just one younger brother, everybody else older than me) and everyone around me seemed to like to talk! That left me being the listener. One of my sisters loved telling the plotline of books and movies she’d seen, and that inspired me to think about story ideas. By the time I was reading young adult books on my own, I was already imagining myself a writer.


SHARON: Do you still experience self-doubts regarding your work?

MAUREEN: I’m fortunate enough to be on several writing loops where authors talk about this business and their journey in it. I can tell you that most of us, no matter where we are on the ladder of success, go through periods of self-doubt. I found just knowing that to be comforting, because of course it’s true for me, too. 

The publishing business is in the arts, and as we all know the matter of art is subject to taste, trends, and talent—all of which is hard to define in a universal way. One person’s definition of a masterpiece may not hold up to someone else’s opinion. This is a business that cannot predict what will be a best seller until it happens.

It’s important to realize self-doubts are common, but that, especially in the Christian realm of things, we know that God is in control of everything from the Cosmos to each and every detail of our life. That includes the place we find ourselves in this business. 

Reminding myself of things like that really help when I experience doubts.


SHARON: Why do you write the kind of books you do?  Why Christian fiction?

MAUREEN: While I think it’s important—vitally important, in fact—for Christians to write for the secular world, to reach beyond the Kingdom of believers so we can touch the lives of unbelievers, I have yet to be called to such a place. Someday I may be inspired to write a story for the secular market, but my prayer would still be that somehow it would point people to thinking about Him.


SHARON: What gave you the inspiration for MY SISTER DILLY? How was this story placed on your heart?

MAUREEN: My sister-in-law has a friend who used to spend quite a bit of time at the school where their special-needs children attended. One day my sister-in-law learned that this woman had been arrested for child endangerment. It was such a shock because this woman was such a caring mother, so “together” despite the demands of being a mom to a special needs child. But she’d allowed herself to isolate, with absolutely no support in the round-the-clock, intensively demanding job of caring for her medically fragile daughter. She became severely depressed and tried to take her own life, giving her daughter an overdose of medication so she, too, might die. After all, who would take care of her daughter if she wasn’t around to do it? Thank God she failed on both counts, because both are alive today. Although my sister-in-law’s friend is still in prison, her daughter is well cared for and waiting for her mother’s release. In prison, this woman has discovered a sincere and abiding faith, and looks forward to being reunited with her daughter again someday.

SHARON: In MY SISTER DILLY, what was your favorite scene to write?

MAUREEN: There is such a serious undertone in this book that I knew I had to balance it with something light and appealing. What better way to do that than through a romance? And so I introduced Mac, one of my favorite heroes.

I think my favorite scene was the one in which Mac admits he loves Hannah, who is the main POV character. He’s shy and uncertain but affectionate and completely sympathetic. Poor guy! In love and not quite sure if that love will be reciprocated.


SHARON: Which were your most difficult parts?

MAUREEN: Although I have a child with a disability, he’s not medically fragile like the child depicted in My Sister Dilly. I depended heavily on my sister-in-law for help in this area. While her friend and her daughter were the inspirations behind much of Dilly’s story, my sister-in-law has her own experience with raising a handicapped child. There were a number of scenes involving the medical aspects of caring for someone with various health issues, and I wanted to be sure I conveyed the details correctly. She was instrumental in getting all that figured out so it wouldn’t be too complicated—for me, or a reader.

One other difficult scene was the pig rescue. Action scenes are more challenging in some ways than highly emotional scenes, simply because clarity is so important with a lot of motion. But that led to the scene in which Hannah helps Mac clean up when the stench of the hog building clings to his skin, so it was all worth it.


SHARON: Of your own experiences, what influenced the writing of Dilly the most? What features became aspects that were Dilly’s alone?

MAUREEN: As I mentioned above, Dilly is inspired by a woman who actually exists, and so she influenced the depiction of my fictional character. I corresponded with her during my research phase, and she was instrumental in giving me some insight into what it might be like to be incarcerated. There is a scene in the book in which Dilly describes what it’s like to be on a suicide watch, which I never could have written without this woman’s help and input.

But as is typical when writing fiction, the characters themselves took over. By the time I wrote the scene in which Dilly described being on a suicide watch, I felt like I knew her as being someone entirely unique from the woman who inspired her.

SHARON: Have you received a particularly memorable reader response from MY SISTER DILLY?

MAUREEN: The notes I receive from other moms who have the experience of raising a handicapped child really touch me. They thank me for having captured the way their lives are, and for feeling understood. Those notes are very meaningful to me.

I also received a note from the facilitator of a prison reader’s group, and she shared with me some of the similarities between Dilly’s experience and some of the women she works with.


SHARON: Are you planning another book? If so, what is the story?

MAUREEN: I’m preparing to launch the first book of a three book historical series, The Great War Series. Book One is titled Look To The East, based on an anonymous quote:

“…Look to the east, where up the lucid sky
The morning climbs! The day shall yet be fair.” 
This is in direct contrast to what happens in the book, when the Germans begin their march through Belgium and into France and start the First World War. My hero, Charles Lassone, finds himself trapped behind enemy lines and seeks shelter in a small French village. Even as he falls in love with one of the villagers, he learns the Germans might not be his only enemy.

As much as I love history, and even war history specifically, this book and the ones t
hat follow are romances—my favorite kind of story!

SHARON: How can readers find you on the Internet?

MAUREEN: They can find me at:
www.maureenlang.com or visit my blog at http://maureenlang.blogspot.com/

Thanks for having me, Sharon!


SHARON: It has been my pleasure!

Book Purchase Links for My Sister Dilly:

Christianbook.com Purchas link for MSD http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/product?item_no=322247&netp_id=528166&event=ESRCN&item_code=WW&view=covers


Amazon.com purchase link for MSD
http://www.amazon.com/My-Sister-Dilly-Maureen-Lang/dp/1414322240/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1239107410&sr=8-1

Barnes and Noble purchase link for MSD
http://search.barnesandnoble.com/My-Sister-Dilly/Maureen-Lang/e/9781414322247/?itm=1

Monday, April 20, 2009

My Sister Dilly

As we boarded the shuttle to take us from the airport to the hotel where the ACFW Conference was held in 2007 we were greeted by a pleasant lady with a very warm smile. She was also on her way to the ACFW conference. We learned she was a published author and her name was Maureen Lang. Several times during the conference we took a few moments to chat and I found her to be gracious and genuine. She didn't have this big sign saying. I AM AN AUTHOR, STAND IN LINE TO GROVEL AT MY FEET. If you ever get a chance to meet her, attend one of her book signings, be sure to take advantage of it. You will be blessed.
I am pleased to write another review of one of her books: My Sister Dilly

The Blurb:

Hannah Williams couldn't get out of her small hometown fast enough, preferring the fast pace, trendy lifestyle and beauty of California's Pacific Ocean coast.

Only when her younger sister, Dilly, makes a desperate choice does Hannah realize she never should have left her behind in rural Illinois.

Hannah returns home, anxious to atone for failing Dilly in the past, leaving the one man she's ever loved in California. But Dilly is a changed woman, and when Hannah's plans don't go as expected, the bonds of sisterhood are tested like never before.

What Others Say:

While I was reading this story, all I could keep thinking in my head was "Wow." This is a story you would normally not think of when you think about Christian fiction. This is not your happily ever after, everyone's all lovey-dovey , everything always works out Christian fiction. This book is ripped from the headlines, make yourself really think, in your face fiction. Usually when you hear in the news about mothers who intentionally hurt their kids, your first thought it to condemn the mother. You cannot believe that anyone would want to purposely murder their children and that they must insane to do it. This novel shows the other side to that story and what could possibly make a mother even consider doing that to her child. As a reader, it took me by surprise that I actually felt sympathy towards a mother who did this and anger over the grandmother who wants to protect her grandchild. The story really blew me away by how much I invested into the characters. Dilly's sister, Hannah also touched my heart as well. She wants to protect her sister and is willing to sacrifice her own life to do so. However her reasons behind that are not as "Good Samaritan" as they sound. It's a wonderful character study between the two of them. My only qualm with the book was that it takes a while before the reader is finally told what exactly happened to put Dilly in jail. It's merely hinted at for about 3/4 of the book. It wasn't a problem but it made me feel like I had missed it somewhere because it kept being subtly mentioned at through most of the book. Otherwise, you will be enthralled by this book. The book is perfect is you're in the mood for something that is not fluffy and really makes you think afterwards. It's a story that stays with you and has you looking twice at everything you've always believed in. One of the most thought-provoking reads of the year. HIGHLY recommended. ~Deborah

My Take:

Even if I am reading a romance I look for the sibling and parent relationships. 
I was impressed that while there is romance in this book, it really is about how our sibling and parent relationships define who we are and how we will cope with the rest of our lives. 

We so often do not see ourselves as other see us. I hope reading this book will make a permanent change in me.

A Contest: 

We will have a drawing at the end of the week. Leave a
 comment on my blog. Maureen Lang will send one blessed person a FREE copy of My Sister Dilly.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Five People Who Have Influnced My Life

The Noticer Project goal is to launch a worldwide movement of people who will take a few minutes to “notice” five of the most influential people in their life. 

I want to give public recognition of five living people who have influenced my life in the past few years. Limiting the list to five is not an easy task.

1. My husband has always been my strongest supporter. When I learned to knit he made me show him a few stitches. When I took a ceramics class, he came a couple times and made me a beautiful planter. And he has always encouraged my writing. I thank God for Gary Lavy every day.

2. When my husband had his heart attack we were coming home from a tour of the Holy Lands. About an hour before we landed in New York he admitted his discomfort. Two friends stayed behind in New York and went with us to the Hospital in Queens. That night they slept in an uncomfortable crowded waiting room and I slept on the floor of my husband's hospital room. This formed a bond that cannot easily be broken. Dean and Nina Kinsley will always have a special place in our hearts.

3. My sister Pat Helmuth is not much older than I am. Most of our family lives on the West coast while we live in Ohio. She has always been there for me through the dark and down times. She is an inspiration.

4. Rosanna Huffman has been a great help in keeping me on the right track in my writing and is a great friend and companion at writing conferences. I would have never joined American Christian Fiction Writers without her encouragement. 

5. I met Meredith Efkin at my first ACFW annual conference. I met her in the prayer room where I went to calm the butterflies in my stomach before going to an agent interview. She prayed with me and asked God to calm my fears. And later in the year when I needed a freelance editor to help me smooth over some rough patches in my manuscript I was able to work with her.

Question: Who are the five people who have had the greatest influence in your life? If you have a blog, why not “notice” them now?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Noticer Project


by Andy Andrews

Dear Friends,

The Noticer is rooted in the belief that our time on this earth is a gift to be used wisely and one of the best ways to use that gift is by noticing those who have made an impact on our lives.  
For that reason, I am excited to announce the start of The Noticer Project, a worldwide movement to "notice" the 5 most influential people in your life.

------------------------------------------------------

I am really excited about this idea! It is a movement to encourage us to step outside our busy schedules and avoid waiting until a wedding, graduation or even a funeral to take notice of the special, influential people in our lives. By noticing those who have made a difference for you, you not only acknowledge their contribution, but will gain a new perspective on your own journey.

This is a grassroots initiative that I hope will have a positive impact– however small– on our country in this uncertain time. I know that when I sat down to think about the five people who have made the biggest impact on my journey, it brought to mind so many gifts that I have been given along the way and reminded me how lucky I am.

Some of you may be wondering how you can take part in The Noticer Project and begin "noticing" those influential people in your life. There is no right answer to that question. For some it may be taking their high school English teacher out for a cup of coffee to say thanks. For others it may be writing a letter or email to a friend they haven't connected with in years. For those of you who are looking for a more public way to notice your five, it may be as public as posting a Facebook note, joining The Noticer Project Facebook group or posting a few words about the five most influential people in your life on http://www.thenoticerproject.com.

I can't tell you how excited I am about The Noticer Project and I look forward to reading soon the stories you have about those you’ve noticed! Thanks in advance for anything you can do to help spread the word about The Noticer Project. If you have a website or blog that you would like to help spread the word, you can find The Noticer Project banners here:
http://www.thenoticerproject.com/pages/spread-the-word/.

Your friend,

Andy

Friday, April 17, 2009

DON'T QUIT

You're not finished when you're defeated, you're only finished when you quit. The most important quality essential to success is perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature. Winning isn't everything, but wanting to is. 

Success is connected with continuous action. It's largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go. You can have a fresh start any time you choose for your "failure" is not in the falling down but in the staying down. It's not over until it's over. If you'v got the courage to stick it out you can win.

Life  is too short to wake up with regrets.So love the people who treat you right. Forget about the one's who don't. Believe everything happens for a reason. If you get a second chance grab it with both hands. If it changes your life let it. Nobody said life would be easy they just promised it would be worth it.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Awesome Love Of God


1 John 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Why was it so hard for me to learn to take this at face value?

Looking back, I never felt a lack of friendships. As a young girl my friends often thanked me for being able to cheer them up and couldn't figure out why they couldn't always do the same for me.

I struggled with self-doubt all my life. I knew God was not willing that anyone should perish but I could never relate that to myself. I didn't really feel my parents loved me, so how could God even like me, let alone love me?

So how did I overcome this? Have I overcome this? 

Today, in 2009, do I think my parents loved me? Yes. Did they know how to show that love? No, but I forgave them long ago and the last years of their lives I did enjoy being with them.

And God, how did it all work out with Him? It seems so simple now, but it was a big deal at the time. One day I realized that the Bible only says God hated one person and that was Esau. And in reality, the real word used for hate probably means loved less. I'm not even sure God hated Judas, although Judas did have to pay the consequences for his deeds.

I had to ask God to forgive me for being so presumptions. To think I was different than all of Gods creation. That I was such an unlikeable person, when He is the one who made me and He called his creation good.

And I have a longing to help other hurting women. I would love to hear how others fulfill this need.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Missionary

Co-Authors William Carmichael and David Lambert:

William Carmichael, along with his wife Nancie, are the founding publishers of Good Family Magazines, which included Christian Parenting Today and Virtue. He is the author of several non-fiction books, including the bestselling Seven Habits of a Healthy Home. Books he co-authored with Nancie include Lord, Bless My Child and Lord, Bless This Marriage. 

William has a Masters degree in Education from the University of Santa Clara, and degrees from Southern California College and Bethany College, as well as an honorary doctorate from Corban College. William has served on the board of directors of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association; the Board of Trustees of Bethany College; and is current Corporate Vice President of Assist International. The Missionary is his first novel.


David Lambert is the author of ten published books, including the gold medallion award-winning Jumper Fables, co-authored with Ken Davis. Four of the ten have been fiction for juvenile or young adult readers. His short fiction has been published in periodicals as diverse as TQ, The Chariton Review, Sand, Virtue, Moody, Guideposts for Kids, and Story. 

David has an M.F.A. in fiction writing from the University of Montana. He has held a variety of positions in publishing, including managing 
editor of a youth magazine and founding editor of two others. He spent eighteen years as an acquiring editor at Zondervan, most of that time as Executive Editor for fiction. He is now senior fiction editor at Howard Books, a division of Simon & Schuster. David also sits on the Editorial Board of Jerry Jenkins's Christian Writers Guild and wrote the Guild's fiction curriculum

The Blurb:

Life Turns on Small Choices...

Yesterday, David Eller was an American Missionary in Caracas, Venezuela. Today, he's an international fugitive.

David and his wife Christie rescue impoverished children in the slums of Venezuela. But for David, that's not enough. The supply of homeless children is endless because of the corrupt policies of the Venezuelan government. 

In a rare moment of anger, David lashes out publicly against the government, unaware of the chain reaction that will soon follow. 

When the CIA offers David a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play a key role in a "bloodless" coup, he decides to go for it. But little by little, he falls into an unimaginable web of deceit that ends in a desperate, life-or-death gamble to flee the country with his wife and son, with all the resources of a corrupt dictatorship at their heels.

What Others Say:

"Taut and gripping. You'll be glad you made the investment." --Jerry B. Jenkins, author of Riven and co-author of the 65-million-sold "Left Behind" series 

"David Lambert is a master of words -- The Missionary is further proof." --Karen Kingsbury, New York Times bestselling author of the Above the Line series 

"The Missionary is a roller-coaster read that will keep your adrenaline rushing!" --Terri Blackstock, author of Double Minds and Last Light 

"Carmichael and Lambert write an action-packed thriller with a very human character who, for the love of desperate South American children, finds himself drawn deep into an inescapable web. I couldn't keep from turning the next page." --Deborah Bedford, New York Times bestselling author of The Penny, Remember Me and Any Minute 

"The Missionary combines ripped-from-the-headlines action with deeply felt themes and compelling characters. It all adds up to a flat out page turner and a truly satisfying read." --James Scott Bell, best-selling author of Deceived 

"Good people who want to heal societal evil in Christ's name can pay a terrible price. In The Missionary, Carmichael and Lambert spin a story of societal justice and political and military upheaval in which a missionary family finds out how high the price of well-meant involvement can be." --Kathy Tyers, New York Times bestselling author of Shivering World and the "Firebird" trilogy 

My Take:

If you love suspense, but don't need bad language you will enjoy this book. It is a page turner and you have to remind yourself to breath. Will they make it to safety? Some do and some don't.

A gripping tale of betrayal and forgiveness and a loving God who sometimes protects those who love Him, even when they take chances they should not take, make decisions they should not make, and put their family and friends in danger.

We know God is with us even when his decision might be to take us home to him.  Or to suffer the consequences of our foolish actions. This book had a very satisfying ending but not an easy ending. 

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Duct Tape or a Nail ?

A friend sent me this story. Today is a perfect day to share it with you.

A man dies and goes to heaven. St. Peter meets him at the Pearly Gates and  says , 'Here's how it works. You need 100 points to make it into heaven.

You tell me all the good things you've done, and I give you a certain number of  points for each item, depending on how good it was. When you reach 100 points, you get in.'

'Okay,' the man says, 'I was married to the same woman for 50 years and never cheated on her, and I loved her deep in my heart.'

'That's wonderful,' says St.Peter, 'that's worth two points!'

'Two points?' he says. 'Well, I attended church all my life and supported its ministry with my tithe and service.'

'Terrific!' say 's  St.Peter. 'That's certainly worth a point.'

'One point!?!!' 'I started a soup kitchen in my city and worked in a shelter for homeless veterans.'

'Fantastic, that's good for two more points
,' he says.

'Two points!?!! 'Exasperated, the man cries. 'At this rate the only way I'll  get into heaven is by the grace of God.'

'Bingo! 100 points ! Come on in!'

We often try to fix problems with WD-40 or Duct Tape. God did it with a nail.
God Bless Your Easter

Friday, April 10, 2009

GOOD ADVICE

 . . .from a friend

Remember the buddy system...because two have more fun than one!

When someone tries to surprise you, let them think they got away with it...


Always try to do what you are taught, it can sometimes lead to beautiful
Try to give a gentle lift to a friend in need...
Search for the best route to what you're hoping for...

No goal is too hard to attain when you persevere...
Sometimes it's better to watch from a distance and plan your next move carefully...

Get to know someone first before accepting that he may be your enemy... 

careful what you put into your body, health is too important to ignore...

Taking a power nap from time to time can put you back in the pink!

Present yourself well and mind your manners...


Remember, no matter how much you resemble your siblings, you are still unique. 
 

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Talking With Merrilee Whren

Do you like to read Christian Fiction? I do. And one of the blessings of joining American Christian Fiction Writers was meeting multi published authors and finding how approachable they are. How warm, how encouraging, how real.

I'd like to begin this series of author interviews with Merrillee Whren:

Merrillee is an award-winning author who writes for Steeple Hill Love Inspired. She is the winner of the 2003 Golden Heart Award for best inspirational romance manuscript presented by Romance Writers of America. Her second book, An Unexpected Blessing, won the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award and the Maggie Award. She is married to her own personal hero, her husband of thirty plus years, and has two grown daughters. She has lived in Atlanta, Boston, Dallas and Chicago but now makes her home on one of God’s most beautiful creations, an island off the east coast of Florida. When she’s not writing or working for her husband’s recruiting firm, she spends her free time playing tennis or walking the beach, where she does the plotting for her novels.

Please join me in welcoming Merrillee Whren:


SHARON: We are so glad to have you with us today, Merrilee. I'll ask the first question I'm sure our readers want to know:

Why do you write the kind of books you do?  Why Christian fiction?  
 
MERRILEE:  I write Christian romance because I've always been a romantic. I love a happy ending. I feel blessed to tell stories about people who find love for each other and for God. I love sharing my faith through my characters.
 

SHARON:  Where do you write? Do you have a dedicated office or a corner or nook in a room? 

MERRILEE:   I have my own computer desk in a corner of my husband's home office. I share a little of his space. I was really excited a couple of years ago when I got this new computer desk with lots of shelves and cubbies because I thought it would help me be more organized. But I'm one of those people who can't keep a desk neat no matter how hard I try. My other writing spot is the pool deck at the back of our house. Sometimes, when I am writing new pages of a book, I go out there because I need the quiet. My husband is on the phone a lot in his business, and all of his conversations with clients can make it hard to concentrate. 

 
SHARON: Merrilee, what keeps you writing in times of uncertainty?  

MERRILEE:   In times of uncertainty, readers keep me writing. When they send notes and letters to thank me for writing books that give them a message they needed to hear or a message that encouraged them, I know this is my ministry.
 

SHARON: In HOMECOMING BLESSINGS, What was your favorite scene to write?

MERRILEE:    Actually, I have a favorite scene and then the consequences of my heroine's actions that follow a few scenes later. My heroine is a no nonsense woman who has no use for fashion or make-up. She is a young woman who has just spent the last five years on the mission field. She had to leave unexpectedly because of unrest in the country, so she returns home with very few possessions. She needs to buy clothes. The hero takes her to a store where she is determined to buy everything as quickly as possible and prove to the hero that she is not the typical woman who takes hours to shop. I loved writing the scene where she is flying through the store like a contestant who has won a shopping spree. Then in the later scene she has to admit to the hero the mistake she made. I so enjoyed writing her reaction to his teasing.

 
SHARON:  What impact do you hope this book has upon the reader? Are there any themes you weren't expecting? Any that developed as the story progressed?

 MERRILEE:   I hope the reader takes away a lesson about helping others. Most of my themes come as a surprise. I tell the story, then realize that there actually is a theme. In HOMECOMING BLESSINGS, I realized that both the hero and heroine are learning to adapt to unfamiliar situations. Adaptation and new beginnings are the themes.

 
SHARON:  How has being published changed your life? 

MERRILEE:    Being published means having less time to read--something I miss. So I try to read when I travel or in between contracts. Being published also means that writing is my job, not a hobby.


SHARON:  Are you planning another book? If so, what is the story?  

MERRILEE:    My goal is to write at least one book for every state in which I have lived. My next proposal is a three book series set in a small town in southern Ohio. I hope to tell the story of two sisters and their male cousin who are all descendants of the founders of their town. I'm also working on a proposal for three other books about three teenage characters from my earlier books that I set in the fictional town of Pinecrest, Washington. The three teenagers are adults now, and I'm eager to tell their stories, which take place in Montana, Massachusetts and Tennessee. 


SHARON: Have you received a particularly memorable reader response? 

MERRILEE: I've received a number of memorable letters, but I can't share them all. Here are two that touched me. The first is about one of my older books, and the second is a response to the book I have out now, HOMECOMING BLESSINGS.
 
 " I just finished your beautifully written book "Love Walked In", I loved the story on forgiving yourself and letting God back in. I also closed my life off to God, when my mom passed away with Cancer. I was hurt and mad. Now I know that he didn't punish me, he just helped her. She was ready to go! I have rededicated my life last year on May 7th 2006 to Our Lord. I never want to be without him again. I am a divorced mom of three wonderful soon to be men.  I love them so much, and Beth's affection toward Max felt as my own story in a way.
God Bless you Merrillee. I needed this book. "   
 
"Just finished 'Homecoming Blessings'--WOW! That book is terrific. I usually take 2 or 3 days to read my Love Inspired book but this one was read in 1 day. Your description of those Georgia mountains and the characters were the best. Everyone of your books I feel are wonderful. I don't travel anymore and the way you describe areas bless me so very much. Thank you and may God bless you as you give us beautiful reading material." 
 
SHARON: How can readers find you on the Internet? 

MERRILEE:    Readers can find me at http://www.merrilleewhren.com 

Blurb for Homecoming Blessings:

Big-city businessman Peter Dalton doesn't think he and fresh-from-the-field missionary Ashley Hiatt have anything in common. Until his boss—her father—pairs them together on a special project to help those less fortunate. Suddenly, instead of making money, Peter is making dreams come true. He's a changed man. Well, maybe not when comes to settling down. With his past, he's just not cut out for family life. But lovely Ashley seems to think otherwise...and is making it her mission to prove it for good.

Book Purchase Links for Homecoming Blessings:

Christianbook.com Purchas link for HB http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/product?item_no=875252&netp_id=572105&event=ESRCN&item_code=WW&view=covers  

Amazon.com purchase link for HB
http://www.amazon.com/Homecoming-Blessings-Dalton-Brothers-Inspired/dp/0373875258/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1238931287&sr=8-1 

Barnes and Noble purchase link for HB
http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Homecoming-Blessings/Merrillee-Whren/e/9780373814039/?itm=1 

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Him or It?

author unknown

Him or It is the essential question. Is it him or is it It?  It is a thing, Him is a person. 

 

If we receive It we almost invariably lose It. 90 out of every 100 that receive It lose It. And It keeps them continually receiving and losing.  And this makes the life very unsatisfactory to the gainers and the losers, and almost everyone else. The Thing is not able to do the work of the Person. 

 

Our sanctification is such a valuable thing that we must watch and guard and keep It, as we have no time or room for any other work, and we become religiously selfish in our endeavors to keep It. To keep It we must talk, preach, and write. We must correctly pronounce It. We must associate only with those who profess It. And denounce those who place anything in the place of It.


I speak in love, I have no controversy, I bear no ill feelings. I tried the It life for many hard and weary and unsatisfactory years. I received It plainly, clearly, satisfactorily. It was what I sought and according to my faith It was done. As I received, so I walked.  As I taught, so I did. 

 

I prayed. No Romanist could have been more punctilious in doing my duty there. I fasted. I was faithful for this was necessary to keep It.  And years of many fastings were mine. Prayer and profession and fasting were not enough to keep It. For It was slippery and would slide and I thought I would die. 


Works. Good works were brought in to play, and I preached for nothing and built churches and fed the poor and established and maintained missions. I never read a novel. Never caught a fish. Never snared a bird. Never shot an animal.Never saw a play or a dance.  Never went to a race or a game. 

 

I gave my money, time, and talents freely to secure It. I did not laugh. I separated myself and ostracized and condemned others. I wore plain clothes and lived a plain life. I went to camp meetings and took hundreds, paying their way so that they might receive It. I held continuous meetings for years along this line, day and night in the churches of which I was a pastor.


I verily believed that I was doing God’s will and that in securing the blessing of sanctification. I had all there was for me and to think of anything more or better was a delusion or a snare and I had better just keep what I had or I would lose it all. 


I and they became clannish. And would only go to holiness meetings and hear holiness preachers. We became narrower and narrower, until we crowded each other out and said mean things one of another.  It was requisite, or so I thought, to keep It. I wore out my voice. I broke down my health and my strength in my endeavor to keep It and spread It. And my life was a failure and my efforts fruitless. 


In this time of dilemma, when my heart and flesh failed me and I was at the point of abandoning It as uncertain and unsatisfactory, a Person came to my rescue.

I was alone. None were near. None were interested. He quieted me.  He hushed my murmurings and my complainings and whispered to me in love, that It could not, but that He could. He communed with me and gently suggested that I take Him as All in All. 

 

I bowed and said yes to Him. That is all. No new blessing. A thousand would not meet. The Blesser came! He!  Him! A Person! And my life was altered. He abides. He satisfies. My doing is now done. I rest and rejoice. The hardness of my life is all gone. His sweetness has come in. His gentleness has made me great. He and His are mine. I am His.  He never leaves me. He loves me. The Him life is a thousand times better than the It life.


I know. I tried both. Beloved, Receive ye Him!

The Comforter Has Come


John 16:7 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:

Ten years ago my husband had his first introduction to his own mortality. He was a farmer and saw the God ordained process of death and rebirth every year. He was a pilot and loved to see God's creation from the air. And he really loved to fly above the white fluffy clouds.

The only way he could continue to enjoy flying over God's creation was to periodically have his airman's physical and have his medical certification renewed. But this year his blood pressure went sky high and medicine did not seem to control it. Although he went longer on the treadmill than most, the doctor finally stopped him because of a funny blip on the ekg. The angiogram didn't show anything for several minutes but finally three blockages showed up. My husband had three stints inserted.  

My husband went into the hospital feeling perfectly fine. He came home a sick man and needed time to heal and regain his strength.

During that time of recovery a group of friends who love to sing came to our home. One to the songs they sang was titled O Spread the Tidings 'Round. The chorus in the version they sang expounded on the theme: the song of triumph rings, the Comforter has come.

And now every time we hear this song we are reminded of the time our Christian Brothers and Sisters with the gift of singing brought The Comforter to our home.

Do you have the gift of singing? How can God use your gift of singing for His glory?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Love Finds You in Last Chance California

Miralee Ferrell's testimony:

I never cease to be amazed at the journey God has taken me on since I started writing. My writing journey started in February of 2005, when I attended a special service at a neighboring church. A speaker that I'd heard and trusted for a number of years was holding a series of services. He's a pastor with a prophetic anointing and often prays for people at the end of a service. In all the years I've heard him speak I don't believe he's ever had a prophetic word for me, or spoken anything out of the ordinary into my life.

This night was to be different. I went forward with no expectations other than wanting to give my all to the Lord. Pastor George Watkins began to pray, then stopped and spoke to me, instead. His words would become what I call "a defining moment" in my life, and changed the direction I was headed.

"You're supposed to be writing. I don't know what, whether it will be poetry, short stories, or something else. I have no clear leading on that. But I feel the Lord is speaking to me that you are to be writing. Does that witness to you at all?"

I replied that it was something I was interested in and had thought of before, but never pursued seriously. He urged me to do so, then added: "And whatever it is, it needs to be published." He then prayed for me, that the Lord would do a work in my life and bring His word to pass, and moved on to the next person.

Due to the rarity of this ever happening to me, and the belief that God had spoken, I took it seriously. Over the next two weeks I earnestly prayed for the Lord's leading, and sought counsel from my husband and pastor.

My journey progressed to fiction and the Lord dropped the seeds of a story line in my heart. I began to write that evening, and five weeks later the rough draft of The Other Daughter was complete. Several revisions and lots of editing later, I began to submit the book to agents, as well as sending proposals to one publishing house, and to Writer's Edge Service online.

I desired representation by an agent who believed in my book. I decided to send a query to Tamela Hancock Murray from the Hartline Literary Agency.

When she called, what a delight she was to talk to! Down to earth, a great sense of humor and excited about the proposal and three chapters she'd read before she called. We spoke at length, with the end result Tamela offering to represent me, and I happily accepted. The Lord brought exactly what I'd been praying for; an agent who believed in my book and was enthusiastic about representing it.

Tamela has been that, and so much more. She poured time and energy into reading the entire manuscript, making small suggestions and changes that she felt would strengthen it, before submitting it to a number of houses. After the first round of submission, I sent it to an editor & reworked the first twelve chapters, coming away with a stronger book & deeper plot line, then we began submitting again.

Then in December 2006 Kregel Publications offered me a contract. In January, 2007 I signed with them for a fall 2007 release date on my first book, The Other Daughter.

God has been so amazing...here I am, less than three years from the date He spoke to me through the special speaker at church, and I have two books in print and another one being considered. Where else and how else, but with God, could this happen!

The Blurb:

It's 1877 and Alexia Travers is alone in the world. Her father has died unexpectedly, leaving her burdened with a heavily mortgaged horse ranch. Marrying one of the town's all-too-willing bachelors would offer an easy solution, but Alex has no interest in marriage. Instead, she dons men's trousers and rides the range, determined to make the ranch a success on her own.
 
But despite Alex's best efforts, everything seems to go wrong: ranch hands quit, horses are stolen, and her father's gold goes missing. Alex is at her wit's end when wrangler Justin Phillips arrives in Last Chance with his young son, looking for a job. But there seems to be more to Justin's story than he's willing to share. Will Alex ever be able to trust him? More importantly, will the independent woman finally learn to depend on God?  

What Others Say:

I loved the book. Miralee is a fantastic writer with a knack for putting you right there in the action. Her setting and action descriptions are spot-on. I've ridden horses and as I read her book, I could feel the horse moving beneath me, smell the leather, breathe the dust kicked up by flying hooves. When Alexia was chasing the bad guy, I could hear the th-th-thum, th-th-thum of hooves over the baked desert. 

Miralee is also a great story-teller. This story is part romance-part mystery-part suspense and all good. It keeps you guessing up until the end as she adds complication after complication to poor Alexia's life. 

If you love historicals, this book is for you. If you love romance, this book has your name on it. But if historical romances are your "thing," run to your nearest bookstore or website to get Love Finds You in Last Chance, California. ~~A.E. Arndt ~~ South Carolina

I have finished Love Finds You in Last Chance, CA, and loved it. It's a "can't put
it down" type book that I enjoyed so much!!! I believe you are up there with some of our best # one Christian authors. Keep up the good work! Will there be a sequel to Last Chance? Sure hope so. Definitely a book one can be lifted by. ~~Vivian W. Thomas~~ Callaway, FL.

My Take:

I am one who likes children characters in stories and I was taken with little Toby and with his widowed father's care of him. I liked watching this rugged man put his child first. And as I read the story I was really rooting for Alex and Justin to solve the problems life threw at them. I'll just say the ending was satisfying.