She Could Have Walked Away: Don’t Miss Your “Ruth” Blessing!

Then they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her. And she said, “Look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.”

But Ruth said:

“Entreat me not to leave you,
Or to turn back from following after you;
For wherever you go, I will go;
And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
Your people shall be my people,
And your God, my God.
Where you die, I will die,
And there will I be buried.
The Lord do so to me, and more also,
If anything but death parts you and me.”

– Ruth 1:14-17

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The Book of Ruth tells the story of Ruth and Boaz

One moment in time. A bereaved mother, and her two daughters-in-law, on their way back to “the land of Judah” (Ruth 1:6-7 NKJV) from Moab after the deaths of both her sons. Two women, grieving for their husbands. One moment that would change everything and alter the course of history. Urged by their weeping mother-in-law to return to their people, both young widows had a decision to make at a moment’s notice that would change their lives one way or the other. With tears in their eyes, they wept, wanting to stay with her. Broken in her grief, with nothing left to offer them, the woman could only urge them to go back to the life they had known. The one kissed her and turned back. The other stood there, no doubt, with tears running down her cheeks as she watched her sister-in-law walk out of her life. She could have just walked away. But the choice she made in that moment would change her life forever. Her name was Ruth.

Have you ever had a “Ruth” moment? I am sure at one time or other, we all will at some point in our lives. For some, it will be the right choice they make in that moment. For others, it will be one they will regret for the rest of their lives.

For Ruth, it was the right choice. She could have chosen to go back to her people in Moab, and their gods. In the eyes of Naomi, her broken-hearted mother-in-law, there was no more reason for either of her daughters-in-law to stay in her life. The tension builds as they both look to her, weeping as they have, at this point, intended to go back with her to her people (Ruth 1:8-10 NKJV). It’s pretty clear that Naomi is thinking of their future, even in her grief, still weeping as she cries out, asking why they would want to stay with her, seeing she is past childbearing age, and knowing that even if she could have more sons, they couldn’t possibly wait until they were grown. The one, Orpah, finally kisses her mother-in-law and walks away. Naomi, looking to Ruth, can only try to get her to see the obvious pointlessness in her staying with her (Ruth 1:15 NKJV): “Look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” Yet, in that pivotal moment, the young, widowed Ruth couldn’t walk away and leave the poor woman to go on alone. In a dark time of faithlessness and everyone doing whatever was right in their own eyes (Judges 21:25 NKJV), she chose to be faithful to the God of Israel, and spoke the well-known words that have now been used in many weddings as wedding vows (Ruth 1:16-17 NKJV, see above). It was settled. Ruth chose in that moment to let it be firmly known that she would not leave her. In time, she would see God’s reward for her faithfulness.

As the two women reached the city of Bethlehem, you might say they had a pretty big welcome. Yet, when the women asked about her, calling her by her name, Naomi changes her name (Ruth 1:19-21 NKJV) to Mara, which, in Hebrew, means “bitter”, saying God had dealt very bitterly with her. Click here for the meaning and history of the name, “Naomi”.  So, this is a woman who is truly devastated at this point (Verse 21). Yet, before it was all over, God would turn her situation around.

You see, if you think about it, with the state of grief she was in, she could have adamantly ran Ruth off. Yet, instead, she chose to let her go on with her. Verse eighteen of Chapter One reads, “When she saw that she was determined to go with her, she stopped speaking to her (or, I guess you could say, she saw no further point to argue with her).

But here’s where it gets interesting. In those days, Jewish custom, or law, said that when a woman’s husband died before she could conceive, his brother was to marry her in order to raise children in his brother’s name. For example, in Genesis 38, we read of the story of Tamar, the daughter-in-law of Judah. So, you see now, why Naomi is so grieved for her daughters-in-law, thus, her emotional response to their pleas in verses 11-13 of that first chapter of Ruth:

But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Are there still sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? Turn back, my daughters, go—for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, if I should have a husband tonight and should also bear sons, would you wait for them till they were grown? Would you restrain yourselves from having husbands? No, my daughters; for it grieves me very much for your sakes that the hand of the Lord has gone out against me!”

Yet…I’ve gotta say it! BUT GOD!!!! (You had to know there was a “but God” coming!) 😀 So, Ruth was in the right place at the right time. God placed her directly in the path of Boaz, who was a relative of Naomi’s husband! You can read the Book of Ruth in like 5 minutes, but I love what he says to her in Ruth 2:11-12, after she asks why she has found favor in his eyes, that he should take notice of her, since she is a foreigner (Verse 10):

And Boaz answered and said to her, “It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before. The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.”

More and more lately, I believe, as Bishop T.D. Jakes has well said, Nothing Just Happens. In this message, at about 8:10, Bishop Jakes mentions Orpah and Ruth, and talks about this story, so if you’re interested, you can click the link and listen to this excerpt of his message on this. The footsteps of the righteous are ordered by the Lord (see Psalm 37:23)! So, as God’s reward for Ruth’s  undying loyalty to her mother-in-law, and her faithfulness to Him as the God of Israel, she was rewarded with an honored place in the bloodline leading up to the birth of Christ, through (of course) the Tribe of Judah.

The story of Ruth has to be one of the most beautiful love stories in the Bible, (2nd only to our Jesus and what He did for us, of course). So, Boaz married Ruth, and they had a son, who was named, Obed. Here, from Ruth 4:13-22, is the wonderful ending to their love story, as only God could write it:

So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife; and when he went in to her, the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son. Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a close relative; and may his name be famous in Israel! And may he be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you, who is better to you than seven sons, has borne him.” Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her bosom, and became a nurse to him. Also the neighbor women gave him a name, saying, “There is a son born to Naomi.” And they called his name Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David. Now this is the genealogy of Perez: Perez begot Hezron;Hezron begot Ram, and Ram begot Amminadab;Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon; Salmon begot Boaz, and Boaz begot Obed; Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David.

Remember when I mentioned Tamar earlier? Well, Perez was one of her twin sons. Even the well-known geneology sites can’t touch this! So, think about this story if you ever have a “Ruth” moment, and trust God. He only writes the best love stories.

So, Naomi found joy again, and no doubt, got lots of cuddles in with that new baby boy. Ruth took her place in history, in the bloodline through the Tribe of Judah, leading to the birth of our Savior. She was the great grandmother of David, and another page turned in Biblical history…

…And she could have just walked away. 

“Silent Night” in September?-A Love Stronger than any Hurricane #HurricaneFlorence

20180916_123651“True prayer is neither a mere mental exercise nor a vocal performance. It is far deeper than that – it is spiritual transaction with the Creator of Heaven and Earth.” – Charles Spurgeon

As most are probably aware by now, Hurricane “Florence” (OK, no “Flo” jokes) just tore through our area here in the Carolinas. It came ashore here in North Carolina, causing major damage and catastrophic flooding, then tore through South Carolina, and according to this news report, is still wreaking havoc, now spread over six states. As my husband and I just got our power back on Saturday night, and our internet wasn’t restored until late Sunday, we are just now being able to access information as to just how bad the damage has been. We had some tree branches down all over the place, including about half a tree in the back yard, which, thankfully, didn’t hit the house, and some flooding, which we are still dealing with, but we are thankful that our kids and everyone in our families is safe. That said, we are also praying for all of those in areas that got it worse, and especially the families that lost loved ones in this storm…which brings me to what this post is about.

The little angel figurine in the picture was part of a collection of Christmas figurines, some Nativity pieces, and other things, which, up until now, have remained in a box, carefully wrapped in pillow cases, etc. The collection came from household belongings which were donated to our church a couple of weeks ago by a local preacher and his wife after her mother passed away, most of which was dispersed by our Outreach team of our church. Keith and I have gone out with them the last couple of times, reaching out to the community, and we have truly been blessed and humbled by our experience so far. We are seeing lives restored and people saved and delivered at our church, and I believe it has only just begun.

Until recently, setting up a “prayer room” in our home was just an idea, something I had been thinking of doing, ever since I saw the movie, “War Room”. But when our pastor began to speak about it in his messages, we knew it was time to stop “talking about it” and make it happen. I can tell you, things have changed for the better since we cleared out that back room and turned it into our own “War Room”, and God has certainly made His presence known in that room in some powerful ways, which is just what happened this past Sunday morning.

I can tell you that if our own resources were better right now, and we weren’t sitting here unable to even get out or get anywhere much because of the flooding, (the dirt path leading to our house has pretty much been turned into a river), we would most certainly be out there, helping others who have gotten the worst of this storm. But since I can’t do that, I have done the next best thing, and that is, pray.

For the sake of everyone’s safety, our pastor as well as I am sure, most around here, made the decision to cancel services, urging everyone to still honor God in our devotions as well as staying in prayer for those affected by the hurricane. So, after I got up Sunday morning, I just felt the urge to go into the prayer room, and just pour it all out to God. I don’t mean just my family and our little circle of friends and all of that. I will just say here, that my faith has grown in leaps and bounds since I came under strong conviction to pray for others more, in our church, our community, and not just my family. We pray for each other in our church, and we share each other’s burdens. We rejoice when someone in the church’s prayers are answered, and it gives us a special kind of joy when we know we prayed for that need with them. It helps build our own faith. Galatians 6:2 says, “ Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” So, that is what we do. We rejoice with others as their prayers are answered, because we know that what God has done for them, He will do for us.

So, that is what I had in mind when I went into the prayer room. I knelt down at our humble little makeshift altar and just began first to praise Him, which is how I always begin my prayers. Then, I began to pour my heart out to God, not only for our own family, our kids, and our church, but for all those in our local church community, and the church as a whole. In other words, as the “Bride of Christ”, and others all over who have been affected by this terrible hurricane that has done so much damage and wreaked so much havoc and devastation everywhere. I prayed for God to help our Outreach program, and to help us all be the true examples, the light of Christ’s love, that we need to be as we reach out to those around us. I prayed for the families of those who lost their lives in this storm. I prayed until I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit begin to fill that room, lifting up my praises to Him.

When I came out, I looked at the time and realized I had spent at least a whole hour in that room, and I can tell you, I received an immediate answer. So, in effect, this special way God chose to answer my heartfelt prayer is for you, too, which is why I just had to share it with everyone. Immediately, as I walked out of the prayer room, I began to hear what sounded like a tune being played, from somewhere. At first, I thought something had happened with one of our neighbors, and it was someone’s cell phone. I walked all around the house, trying to figure out where in the world it could be coming from. It wasn’t my husband on his phone.

Then, I realized it was coming from somewhere in the house. It was muffled, like it was coming from inside of something…the box! That was it. It was coming from the box of Christmas figurines, which I had yet to even go through. I got down the box from where it was sitting, and opened it, and sure enough, it was coming from inside it. When I located the piece it was coming from, I carefully unwrapped it, the one you see in the picture above. It was playing “Silent Night”.

I sat down at the dining room table, where we usually have our devotions, and after a minute or so, turned it over to find the button to turn it off….

…it was already in the off position. 

Flipping the switch to “on” only made it play faster. I got my phone and took a picture of it, then shared it with our pastor’s wife. Ten, fifteen, twenty, then thirty minutes passed, and it was still playing. My husband actually had to take the battery out to get it to stop. Although it could very well be possible that this may have been a regular, or at least, occasional occurrence with this figurine, that doesn’t really matter. I know that my God is an on time God, and His timing is NEVER off.

It was then, that the Lord brought to my mind the passage in Romans 8:37-39 (NKJV):

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 

This all took on a special significance to me, as I sat there listening to “Silent Night”, after spending almost two days, and one sweltering night, without power, or internet service, in the dark, and with no way to access internet via phones, as we have just switched to flip phones for now to cut corners. Though it was just an electronic tune, I knew the words, and found myself singing along with it, and being filled and surrounded by the peace of God, in a way I had much needed.

So, there you have it, God’s immediate answer to my prayer, to yours, and all of those who have been affected by this catastrophe, as we pray for one another, and help each other through this. Whether it’s hurricanes, tornadoes, or other storms of this life, even after we have lost electricity, internet services, or even our homes, and even if we have lost everything, nothing, NOTHING, can ever separate us from the power of an almighty God who loves us and will never leave us, nor forsake us. Indeed, the God of Abraham, Jacob, and Isaac, the God of Israel, Who parted the Red Sea, and led the Israelites into the Promised Land, and Who sent His Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ to earth to die for our sins, has Himself sent this message of His undying love for us. So, as we all work together to rebuild our lives, may we ever be reminded, that even if we lose everything, and we have nothing left but God, it is then that we will realize, He is all we need.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, which was inspired by a powerful message we recently had brought by one of our newly ordained ministers, that saying is actually on the wall in our laundry room. You can believe I took another long, hard look at it, by flashlight, of course, during the time we were without power, reminded once again, that we will never lose the Power we have available to us through the Heavenly Father Who loved us enough to send His Son to die for us. Thanks to a little angel figurine that played “Silent Night”, one stormy morning in September, even though it was turned “off”, we have been reminded once more of the Love that is stronger than any hurricane. It is a timeless message, lovingly sent by a God who needs no electricity or modern technology to communicate with us, for His power, His love for us, and His amazing grace, are much stronger.

The Most Priceless Perfume You Could Ever Wear…

A reflection on 2 Corinthians, 1 & 2, emphasis: chapter 2, verses 14 & 15…This is something God led me to for our devotion this past week, and I thought it was so powerful that I just had to share it!
For those of you who may read my posts regularly, you know as an author, I have, up until now, only written fiction books (see my two currently available books in the side bar, or visit my home page). Currently, I have other projects I am still working on, which I hope to have available soon, but one, for which I am currently looking at publishers, is a non-fiction book, which will be inspirational to those who have suffered traumatic events and/or are giving up on faith in God. It will have my testimony of my near death experience in a horrific automobile accident in November of 1985. Click here to read more on this. Be sure to hit the subscribe tab above if you or someone you know would be interested in a copy when it comes out.

Priceless Perfume?

What do the words “expensive perfume” make you think of? Chances are, you are already naming off a few brand names. What are your favorites? How about “priceless perfume”? Perhaps you are thinking only celebrities could afford it if it was “priceless”. But the type of perfume I am talking about here is much more priceless than any of it…

2 Corinthians, Chapter 1 at a Glance…

In chapter 1, after talking about the “trouble” they ran into in Asia, so that they “despaired even of life” (verse 8), Paul thanks the Corinthians for their prayers for them (verse 11), and reminds them that they do not operate their ministry according to the flesh, or “fleshly wisdom”, but by the grace of God (verse 12). He goes on to remind them of the “yes” of the promises of God. I have read the entire New Testament, and one of the things that really impresses me about Paul’s ministry is, he put his whole heart into it, and didn’t just go one time to preach the Gospel to these people, he made it his life’s purpose to go back and follow up on them. In his writing to them here, he actually gives them the route he had intended to take to come by and see them. If you go back and study Philippians, chapter 4:10-17, he talks about giving, not that he “desires gifts from them”, but that “fruit abounds to their account”. He knew that once they understood this, and gave, either in money or provisions, food, etc, to help in his ministry, they would be “bearing fruit”, and he knew they would then see the ways God would bless them back for it (you can’t out give God! Try it!).

2 Corinthians, Chapter 2, Here’s the Good Stuff!

That’s just a little background info to catch you up to what’s going on in chapter 2. Now, to get into the good stuff! Although it’s not clear (to me) whether Paul is, at this point, in prison or what his exact circumstances at this point were (pastors, teachers, anyone, feel free to comment and elaborate on this), it is fairly clear, at least to me, in verses 3-4, that he very likely wrote these words weeping, in being unable to get to them. He makes it clear here, the love (of Christ) that he so “abundantly” has for them:

And I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all. For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you. (verses 3-4, KJV). 

Now, that is love! Paul’s joy in his ministry was in being able to go back and see them living the joy of bearing fruit for Christ, basically saying here, “your joy is my joy”. So, what really jumped out at me in reading this chapter was, he stated 4 reasons in his writing to them:

  1. Their joy (in Christ) is his joy, not sorrowing Him, but the joy of seeing the fruit of his labor, thus, his dedication in actually following up on them.
  2. That they would know his dedication and his love for them, in reflecting for them, the love of Christ for them all, which was his affirmation that he had gotten through to them, seeing the fruit of his labor, thus how he was able to rejoice, even in prison, through the tears he wrote them through.
  3. Reminding them of the importance of forgiving and comforting those who did wrong (“caused grief”, verse 5) as Christ forgives us, in His great love for us.
  4. To “put them to the test” as stated in verses 9-11, reminding them that not forgiving, as Christ forgives us, opens the door for the devil, (verse 11b-“…for we are not ignorant of his devices”).

Now, for the really good part! So, what, you may be asking, does all of this have to do with perfume? No doubt, if you really wanted to do some research on this, they did have “perfumes” in those days. Here are some other Bible verses about perfume. In Matthew 2:11, the wise men visited the Christ child and gave Him gifts of what would have been very expensive oils or perfumes in that time:

“And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.” -Matthew 2:11, KJV

And I actually found this! —> Scents of the Bible, click here!

Mark 14:3 tells the story of the woman with the alabaster box. Although the King James version doesn’t mention the word, several other translations refer to the costly perfume it held as “Nard”, which is actually one of the scents above, which is an Amazon page on which you can buy these 3 perfumes.

Now, back to 2 Corinthians, the two verses I especially wanted to emphasize here are verses 14 & 15:

Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: (King James version)

The New King James version of the Bible renders it this way:

Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.

In doing the things Paul was so dedicated to teaching us in showing the love and forgiveness of Christ to others, and being a Godly example in our daily actions, we “diffuse the fragrance of His knowledge” wherever we go, we are the “fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing”. For an insightful post I wrote this past Christmas on doing just that for those who “no longer feel the joy of Christmas” click here. 

When we go to dress up for a special occasion, we wouldn’t put on cheap perfume that stinks. Just the same, if we don’t do these things Paul talked about, and conduct any ministry we try to have in the ways Paul reminds us here, and show Christ’s love to others we minister to as he did, then, we “stink”. Plain and simple. We must “diffuse the fragrance of Christ”, everywhere we go, or we stink. And who wants that?

And you know I just had to include this for you. We’ve all felt like that woman at one point or other. So, here you go, enjoy, and go be that “Fragrance of Christ”!

Romance, Time Travel, and a River of Secrets…and an Idea for a Romantic Getaway! #greatvalentinesdayreads #loveisintheair

“They say there is a path that winds through the forest, that exists deep within our imaginations, in that childlike part of our minds…that gate is only open once. After this, the adult mind somehow closes it.” – “Anna” – “Summer of the Rose”

SOMEWHERE DEEP IN THE FOREST LIES A SECRET…

A rose is thrown onto the water, as its surface sparkles like diamonds in the sunlight, beckoning you to go just a little further…

Come with me on a path that winds through the forest, and even back in time… 

Romance, Time Travel, and a River of Secrets…

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A RIVER OF SECRETS…Anna Brownfield is 12 the summer of 1877, when she and her twin brothers, Jed and Josiah, 15, set out to find the secret place in the river, hidden in the forest near their little dirt road southern town, where folks say that if you touch the water there, you will look around and realize you have traveled forward or even backward in time. Little do they know what the “Enchanted Lady” winding her way through the forest, which Anna refers to as “Lady River”, has in store for them. 
ROMANCE…Did she find her true love because of a secret place in the river, like others claim they did? Anna is now 87 years old, and she has some stories to tell, but none quite like the “Summer of the Rose”. There are others who have stories to tell, and Anna knows who they are. She also knows that there are few who have ever been able to resist the River’s call.
TIME TRAVEL…Pull up a chair and sit for a while with Anna. She might just tell you a story you just wouldn’t believe…

Although my second book, “Summer of the Rose” is not classified as a “Romance”, (it has romantic “threads”, but that’s not the main theme), I feel it will truly take you on a journey you won’t soon forget. As you follow Anna’s journey as she tells of that magical summer of 1877, when she comes of age, and eventually finds her true love, you might be surprised at the lines she is willing to cross to find him. The Kindle version is only $2.99, and with a simple click, you could be reading it in just a few minutes! The book is also in the Kindle Matchbook Program, which means…”If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $0.99″.

I am currently working on other projects I hope to have available soon, but since it is Valentine’s Day, I just wanted to put this out there for you. It is a truly captivating tale that would make a great addition to your Kindle list, especially since summer is just around the corner. It is the first in a series, and I have started on the 2nd book, although I did kind of put this project on the back burner in order to focus on other projects, one of which I have been working on a bit longer (it’s gonna be good, I promise! More on this later…wink, wink!) so I really want to get that finished. That one ended up being a 2 book set, and I just recently got book 1 back from my editor, so I am in the dreaded re-write stage, but it’s all going to be worth it! So, if you don’t want to miss out on this and my other upcoming books, be sure to hit the subscribe button so you will be among the first to know!

Meanwhile, click here to read my “Interview with Anna” and I’ll just let her tell you a little about the story. But now, I’ll have to warn you, she’s 87 now and she says what’s on her mind! Also, for those who might be looking for a nice, cozy, rustic cabin for a romantic getaway with your sweetheart, the link is on the page (the “Interview…”, above). Be sure and tell Arizona Jane Keith and Flossie sent ya! The cabin is in Cherokee, NC, and we’re pretty sure you will enjoy it! For other things to do in Cherokee, click here. 

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Dancing Stones Cabin in Cherokee, NC

So, from Keith and me, HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY! 

Enjoy your evening with your sweetie, and be sure to check back later or subscribe for more of my exciting books coming soon! Visit my home page to learn more.

Meanwhile, what’s your story? Click here to read my post on getting your story out there and making it happen! Well?

Now, go get ready for that romantic date with your sweetheart! As for my sweet hubby and me, we’re having ours right here at home, with candle light and the works! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go put my roses in a vase and some water and get ready for my own dinner date to celebrate our love, married 3 years and counting, although we actually went to the prom in 1983! We may have walked away from each other, but we are thankful every day that God brought us back together and gave us another chance!  And don’t forget parents, grandparents, and others who are special to you too. They need to hear those three little words too! Oh, and if you two do decide to try the cabin, be sure to bookmark the page and check the calendar early, as special dates do get booked way in advance! You can thank me later!

 

The Light that Still Guides Us: Reaching Out to Those that No Longer Feel the Joy of Christmas

“When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” – Matthew 2:9-11

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?” 
― Dr. SeussHow the Grinch Stole Christmas!

 

Three wise men and the star

Well, here it is, Christmas time again, everyone’s favorite time of year…or not…

Unfortunately, with each passing year, more and more people I know have ended up in that second category. For these people and their families, the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays no longer hold the joy they once did. They are unable to feel the joy of the season because of the overwhelming feelings of grief and sadness. In many cases, the loss of their loved one has happened unexpectedly, only weeks or days before the beginning of the holiday season. Then too, others are unable to “get into the spirit” because they know they will be spending the holidays alone. Of course, being a “military brat” myself, my Dad having served fourteen years in the U.S. Army, I know first hand, there are many who have a loved one who happens to be deployed at the time of the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. I also know what it’s like to feel the pangs of grief because of a loved one taken way too soon, and the big hole it leaves in your heart, and your family. For these reasons, I couldn’t let this Christmas go by without at least offering my take on it all. I know that all the pretty words in the world won’t bring a loved one back, but still, a comforting word from one who’s been there can help more than you know.

No matter what reason a family you know might find themselves with an empty chair at their Christmas table this year, we cannot forget the reason we are celebrating Christmas in the first place, and it is because of Him, our Savior, Jesus Christ, God’s gift to us, that was given so that we could receive the gift of eternal life. We cannot forget that if we have that light of hope in our hearts that comes through having a relationship with Him, then we can share that light with others who are less fortunate than ourselves, those who are hurting, and those who are so overcome with sadness and grief, especially when it involves one who was lost way too soon, who had their whole lives ahead of them. I know several classmates (different schools) who have tragically lost a child. I also know from experience, what my family, especially my parents, went through when we lost my brother, Charles, at only 9 years old. The Christmas of ’77 is forever etched in my memory, and at times over the years, it has seemed almost as if I have been unable to move past that point. There were 3 of us kids, I was the oldest, 12 at the time. Our younger brother had just started school. Charlie’s passing left a big hole in our family that nothing can ever fill…that is, except the love and comfort of our Savior, the “peace that passes understanding”. But those who are hurting will never know we care, and that He cares, if we don’t share it with them.

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:14-16

For those families, friends, or others we may know who are going through this, it goes without saying that it can be rather painful, to see all of the photos posted on (I’ll just say, “social media”), of the seemingly picture perfect families, and the beautifully set holiday dinner tables. Then too, even for those who still manage to gather together for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, or even a New Year’s party, no matter how nicely and festively, or sparsely, their table might be set, it does nothing for the emptiness and pain of grief they feel because of that empty chair, where someone they loved should have been. Whether it’s a family grieving the loss of a loved one, a family facing Christmas without a deployed parent, husband, or wife, or someone spending Christmas alone for the first time, (I’ve been through my share of “Hard Candy Christmases”, too) it can be all too easy to label them a “Scrooge” or a “Grinch” when they post on social media about how they are unable to get into the Christmas spirit, or something to that extent (Okay, so you just thought it, that’s still just as bad, but hey, we’re all guilty on that one). I’ll even go so far as to say that with all that has been going on lately, and having just lost a cousin on my Dad’s side, I will admit I myself have been feeling more like a “Scrooge” at the beginning of the season. But let’s just back this whole thing up a minute…

This morning, my husband and I were led to Matthew, chapter 18. At the beginning of the chapter, Jesus calls a little child to Him, and tells those listening, that in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, we must all become like little children. So, to illustrate my point, I am going to do just that…

My youngest grandson recently spent some time with us during a period of transition with his daycare, and during that time, he wanted to watch “The Grinch that Stole Christmas”, the movie version with Jim Carrey as the Grinch, again and again. So, after awhile, I found myself really thinking about that story. I still remember the cartoon version of it we used to watch as kids. In the story, of course, we all know how the Grinch went to all that trouble to steal all the Christmas gifts, the turkeys and fixings for the Whos’ Christmas dinners, and even the Christmas trees, down to the last ornament, which he snatches up with glee, yet in the end, Christmas still came, without all the boxes, bags, bows, gifts, Christmas trees or decorations.

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?” 

Perhaps, if we really stop and think about it for a moment, we can really begin to see how the moral of this story applies to all of us. Christmas will come, whether or not our tables are decorated with all the fancy fixings, or the least that could be afforded. It will come whether or not our homes are all aglow with lights and decorations, and it will come, no matter what is under the tree, or how many or how few gifts there are. And it will come just the same, to those who have empty chairs at their Christmas dinner table.

For those of us who have the Savior, our Lord, Jesus Christ living in our hearts, it is that same light that lit up the night sky those years ago as the bright, shining star that the wise men followed until they came to where the Christ child lay, that is still guiding us. (And by the way, as far as I have been able to see, the Bible does not actually say there were “three” wise men. It doesn’t even mention how many there were, or if they actually rode camels. In fact, although most pictures we’ve seen depict three wise men on camels following the star, and the “stable” in the distance, the Bible actually seems to indicate that it was probably sometime later before they arrived to see Him. Note that in verse 11 of Matthew 2, above, it says, “and when they had come into the house…”, not a stable. Click here to read more on this.)

So what I am saying is…if we truly have His light shining in us, then it goes without saying that we will be looking around us and taking note of those who can no longer feel the joy of Christmas. We will be His hands reaching out to help them in whatever way we can, whether it’s through sending a card, providing some needed food supplies, or a meal. We will be His mouth speaking a comforting word, and His feet walking to do whatever we can to show them we care, for if that light is truly shining within us, then and only then, will they see and feel the true, healing, and comforting joy and peace of Christmas.

That light is still guiding us, for the same Christ that the wise men worshipped that night, is the One Who lives inside of each of us, and “Christmas” is already inside of us. It is that light that they’re looking for, not what’s under the tree or on the table. So, think of this, next time you wish someone a Merry Christmas. And if we can’t show that love of Christ to others in need, whether they are friends, family, or people we don’t even know, then perhaps we’re the ones being a “Grinch” or a “Scrooge”. Besides, if we take even a moment to look at Christmas through the eyes of little “Cindy Lou Who”, perhaps it is then, that it will all make a bit more sense.

If the light of His love, the light of God’s hope that lit that star up those years ago, is truly shining through us, then every day is Christmas! Why wait for that one time of year to actually reach out and show His love to others? With that said, thanks for stopping by, feel free to share this with anyone who could use it! I hope you and your family have a truly wonderful Christmas, and a blessed New Year!

Great Summer Reading: “Summer of the Rose” – now in hard cover! #TimeTravel #Southernhistoricalfantasy

“Is ‘The Wind in the Willows’ a children’s book? Is ‘Alice in Wonderland?’ Is ‘Treasure Island?’ these are masterpieces which we read with pleasure as children, but with how much more pleasure when we are grown-up.” – A. A. Milne 

2014-01-15_14-05-07_194 - Copy (3) - CopyGreat news for all you summer book readers! Book 1 in the “Secrets of Rose River” Time Travel Trilogy, is now in hard cover edition on B&N.comIf you liked “Tuck Everlasting”, you will love this one! A Southern Historical Time Travel Fantasy, with just the right amount of romance, and even a bit of mischief, this is a “coming of age” story being told by “Anna” who’s now 87, that will be enjoyed by young and old alike! Pull up a chair, Anna’s just getting started! The River has secrets she will never tell, but Anna just might know a few of them…

Summer’s just around the corner, and “Summer of the Rose” will make a great addition to your list!

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A RIVER OF SECRETS…Anna Brownfield is 12 the summer of 1877, when she and her twin brothers, Jed and Josiah, 15, set out to find the secret place in the river, hidden in the forest near their little dirt road southern town, where folks say that if you touch the water there, you will look around and realize you have traveled forward or even backward in time. Little do they know what the “Enchanted Lady” winding her way through the forest, which Anna refers to as “Lady River”, has in store for them.

ROMANCE…Did she find her true love because of a secret place in the river, like others claim they did? Anna is now 87 years old, and she has some stories to tell, but none quite like the “Summer of the Rose”. There are others who have stories to tell, and Anna knows who they are. She also knows that there are few who have ever been able to resist the River’s call…

TALES OF TIME TRAVEL…So pull up a chair and sit for a while with Anna, Sam “Tater” Jenson, Mattie Turner, and the others, along with “Flapjack”, the town hound dog as they take you back to a time of early southern America, when the town storytellers sat out in rocking chairs in front of the old stores and told stories of days gone by. Go back to a time when you saw the world through the eyes of a child and dared to imagine the impossible. You might hear a story you just wouldn’t believe…

A truly heartwarming, yet daring romantic adventure you won’t soon forget! Get it now on Amazon in Print (Paperback) and Kindle, and now on B&N.com in Hard Cover, as well as Paperback and Nook! If you liked the movie, “Tuck Everlasting”, <— (Click here for my “Interview” with “Anna” and a special treat at the end!), you will love this book!

Be sure to subscribe to my email so you won’t miss Book 2, “Scent of the Rose”, and my other future releases! If you know someone who would enjoy this book, please share to your Facebook or Tweet, via the buttons below! Get yours today, and I hope you enjoy it! Be sure to stop back by the Amazon or B&N pages and leave a review!

 

 

 

FREE Kindle Download! Aug 18-22!A Romantic Southern Historical Time Travel Story You Just Might Not Believe…#historicalfantasy #timetravel #greatreads

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

Hi everyone!


thickpaperbackfront_604x964I just wanted to post this little update letting you know about a FREE Kindle Promotion I’m having for my book, “A River of Secrets, Summer of the Rose”, the 1st book in the “River of Love’s Rose” Time Travel Trilogy. Now through Monday, August 22nd, you can download the Kindle version FREE! Also, both of my current books are in the Kindle Matchbook Promotion, so if you purchase the print version of either of them, or have in the past, the Kindle version is FREE for you to download. This is a truly enchanting and romantic Southern Historical Time Travel Fantasy that will take you back in time, to a charming little dirt road town “somewhere in the South” as “Anna” puts it, in the summer of 1877, where she’ll tell you a story you just might not believe…about a secret place in the river somewhere in the forest, where folks say if you touch the water there, you will look around and see that you have traveled forward or backward in time! There are others around town who have stories to tell and Anna knows who they are…

So mark your calendars so you won’t forget to download your copy, starting this Thursday, August 18th and running through Monday, August 22nd! Be sure to get yours, and share this post with anyone you know who would enjoy this wonderful little story that will take you on a truly heartwarming and romantic journey you won’t soon forget!

Here is the book trailer for it…

Click here to download it on Amazon.

The story was inspired by the movie, “Tuck Everlasting”, which was adapted from a children’s book by Natalie Babbit. It’s a long running favorite of mine, which my son introduced me to. Want to meet “Anna”? You can! Click here to read my “interview” with her!  But I’ll have to warn you, she’s 87 now and she’s something else! She says what’s on her mind; I’ll put it that way.  A lot has happened since that summer of 1877, when Anna was just 12, and she and her twin brothers set out to find the secret place in the river. A coming of age story in a sense, I feel it will appeal to young and old alike!

And one more time, just for you, here’s the movie trailer for the movie that inspired the series! If you have kids, this is a rather enjoyable movie they will enjoy watching with you. Here you go, enjoy!

It is my sincere hope that this book will take you on an enchanting and inspirational journey you won’t soon forget! Meanwhile, whether you are an author or a reader or both, I also want to tell you about a great club I am a member of, called Author Marketing Club. If you are an avid reader, you can subscribe with your email and receive daily emails of free books that are currently in free promotions to download. If you are an author, they provide some pretty awesome tools and resources to promote your books. Some of the resources are available to (free) members, others are only available to premium subscribers. I am a member, and definitely planning to become a premium member soon! Just thought I’d share! Click here if you’re interested…

Book Marketing & Selling Tips for Authors

For now, like many of you, I am an Indie Author working my way to the top, although like most of us authors, I am working towards finding a literary agent for some of my upcoming works, which I feel really excited about. Hey, we all know it’s hard work trying to make it as an author, especially with all of the competition we have out there. Click here to read my last post which featured links to some very helpful resources for authors, along with tips from learning from the pros, which I am sharing from my own experience. Now, if you’ve been procrastinating, like many of us have done at times (hey, I’ve had times I could be the queen of procrastinators, I explain more in the post linked above) check out that post and some of the tips I’ve shared, and get to writing that best seller. If you’ve ever dreamed of writing a book, you can! See you at the top! Believe it, dream it, and you can do it!

Know anyone who would love this book or find this information helpful? Please share! And if you enjoy the book, don’t forget to stop back by my Amazon page and leave me a nice review! Be sure to subscribe so you won’t miss out on any of my upcoming books! Remember, the free download dates are Thursday, August 18th through Monday, August 22nd! I hope you enjoy it! Thanks for stopping by!

 

On Love and Good Books…

Hi and welcome! If you are visiting my page for the first time, I am a writer and author of 2 books, with more in the works. I come by my writing honestly, as my mother has been one of my greatest teachers, and my dad got me into reading at an early age. You can click on the tabs above to learn more about my books and preview and purchase them, and read sneak previews of some of my upcoming books I am working on.

This one will be short and sweet. I just wanted to share something with you that I thought was really inspiring. It’s just never ceases to amaze me how these things happen. This morning for our devotion, my husband and I were led to a page in our devotion book that talked about love, and the fact that if you cannot love yourself, then you will not be able to love others. I know that for too long, I could not love myself, so I had trouble showing love to others. I have now begun making a point to show more love to others, my husband, my family, and friends.

So, of course, it capped it all off nicely when I had a message in my inbox from my oldest daughter, with the link to this video, which I thought I would share here with you. And now, a few words of wisdom from our dear friend, the late Dr. Maya Angelou, on love…

When you have finished viewing the video, you can click on the “Buy Books” tab above to preview my books and read sneak previews for them. I have redone things a little so that it is easier to preview them and click on the links to purchase them from the same page. Then you can click on the “Reader Reviews” tab, also under the “Buy Books” tab to see reviews I have gotten for these books. Hopefully, there will be more reviews in the near future. Maybe yours will be one of them!

My latest, of which I have not settled on an exact title, is a heartwarming story set in Big Sky, Montana, about a Siberian husky named Sadie, and her journey to becoming a Seizure Alert dog. For now, I am calling it “Sadie’s Love”, although it might just end up being a 2 book series. We shall see! Click here to read a sneak preview of “Sadie’s Love”.

Check back for more on this, or book reading events and other good stuff. For reviews of other good books that have inspired me on my own journey as a writer, check out my “Flo’s Reading Room: Book Reviews” section. This is something new I am doing, and of course, I will be adding new selections to my little “virtual library” from time to time. Oh, and be sure to subscribe to my email via the tab above so you don’t miss anything!

Meanwhile, if you’ve got Love and Good Books, then you’ve got a good thing going!