April 29, 2013
In Honor of Mother’s Day
Instead of a devotion today, in honor of Mother’s Day, we’re having a poetry contest. I’d love to feature one of your own poems about mothers. Send me a poem you’ve written about mothers, rhymed or prose, no longer than 100 words. It must be original, and make sure that you own all rights to your poem, even if it was previously published.
How Do I Enter? Read more
March 4, 2013
If you’re looking for inspiring books to read, The Moses Quilt shares both a contemporary, interracial romance of two young people, Mazi Hartford and Edward Clayton, and the story of Harriet Tubman, a former slave. Through the pages of history, author Kathi Macias skillfully weaves a courageous tale told piece by piece through the quilt owned by Mazi’s great grandmother. She does a good job of bringing contemporary and history together in a unique way.
Mazi’s reluctance to marry Edward is a puzzle both to him and other family members. Even Mazi herself doesn’t understand her hesitancy. But the quilt–and the journey she follows through Harriet Tubman’s life–may help her find the thread she needs.
The plot is simple, and so are the characters. You won’t find an in-depth page turner here, but you will discover a story that crosses racial and generational boundaries–and one in which one woman’s courage made a lasting difference to those around her–and to succeeding generations.
Keep reading to find out how to enter the book giveaway. Read more
February 18, 2013
Big books, little books, kindle books—I love books, and I love reading. Last year I shared with you some of the books I’d been reading, and why. There’s nothing like God’s word to read for our growth, our encouragement, and to know God deeper. But God has also used Christian authors to both inspire and encourage us. I’ve read about 50 more books in the last twelve months. Here are some of the ones I recommend for your reading pleasure. Read more
December 3, 2012
I received a copy of Dianne Neal Matthews’ newest devotional book recently. It’s a great “through the Bible” kind of devotional. Diane has graciously agreed to give away a copy of her new book.
I first “met” Dianne through the pages of Guideposts‘ new devotional: 2013 Mornings with Jesus: Daily Encouragement for Your Soul. Dianne and I were two of the ten writers for that devotional this year.
I’ll let her tell you more about her own new devotional Designed for Devotion in this interview: Read more
September 9, 2012
Today’s post features an interview with Jocelyn Green, author of the new historical fiction release, Wedded to War. Be sure to leave a comment at the end of today’s blog to be entered in this book giveaway. Her book is an interesting read, and you’ll be amazed at the amount of research that must have gone into this historical fiction piece.
Let’s talk about Wedded to War (River North Fiction/Moody, July 2012). Please tell us about it.
This novel grew out of research I did for my nonfiction book, Stories of Faith and Courage from the Home Front, which just released this summer, too. Wedded to War was inspired by the life of Civil War nurse Georgeanna Woolsey. So the book begins in April 1861, and the Union Army‘s Medical Department is a disaster, completely unprepared for the magnitude of war. A small group of New York City women, including 28-year-old Charlotte Waverly (inspired by Georgeanna), decide to do something about it, and end up changing the course of the war, despite criticism, ridicule and social ostracism. Read more
September 4, 2012
Fear of flying ranks high on the list of phobias in our country, no doubt partly because of 9-1-1. But what about the fear of flying “spiritually?” What makes Christians so chickenhearted about spreading their wings? And how can we overcome our fear and find the freedom God wants for all His children? Read more
January 23, 2012
Someone’s always asking on facebook, “What are you reading right now?” So in today’s blog, I’m answering that question and giving you an opportunity to do the same.
Why? No one’s paying me to promote their books. I’m not trying to get you to read certain author’s books. I just love to read, I enjoy learning, and I believe that books, through the power of God’s Spirit, do have power to inspire, change and encourage lives. Through the years, books have not only encouraged me; they’ve helped to mentor me and keep me grounded in my faith and Christian walk. And as a writer, the things I read always enrich my writing.
Sometimes I read for inspiration; sometimes for pleasure. Other books I read for instruction, to broaden my world, to increase my skills, or to strengthen my spiritual life. Why do you read?
I’d like to share with you some of the 100 + books I’ve read in the last year or so. At least that’s how many I remembered to write down. These are not in any order of importance, urgency, favorites, or recommendation. Some are older, some newer books. Some may interest you; others won’t.
There is no book like the Book–God’s Word. That’s a given. But accept today’s post in the spirit in which I write it: to offer you some sources that might encourage you in whatever area you need. And at the end of this blog, be ready to offer your own suggestions about what you’re reading so we can learn from each other. Read more
November 1, 2011
Springtime in Winter
Call me optimistic. Persistent. Unrealistic. Dreamer. But I learned as a writer to discover God’s encouragement in the most ordinary places–like a surprise of Springtime in Winter. Read more
August 12, 2011
It’s what we trust in but don’t see yet that keeps us going (2 Corinthians 5:7, Message).
It doesn’t really matter what occupation you’re in, you’ll need a healthy dose of faith/perspiration to get through each day. What do I mean by that? Aren’t faith and work opposites?
Because I’m an inspirational writer, the simple truth for today may sound contradictory. Let me try to explain that truth from a writer’s perspective. Do I believe in inspiration? Absolutely! Without God “breathing in,” we writers have nothing to write. Read more
July 19, 2011
Do you need to jumpstart your brain or create a new project? Are you facing writer‘s block? Do you want to find new ideas for writing an article, book, or blog? Whether you’re a seasoned writer, a wannabe just getting started, or an entrepreneur craving new ventures, here are five ways to find creative ideas and start your fingers flying:
Keep your “quiet times” with the Lord fresh and up to date. My book shelf is filled with notebook journals where I’ve penned inspirational thoughts from reading God‘s Word. Five minutes on the run might satisfy temporarily, but a writer thirsty to hear from God needs chunks of time: time to think, time to read, time to pray and digest. The majority of my books were born from the pages of those journals. Sometimes the ideas come from Scripture, like my two books, 40 Days in God’s Presence, and 40 Days in God’s Blessing. Other times, I just write my impressions and thoughts from events and life around me.
Whether you use a notebook, a computer, or other device to journal, just do it. Give yourself time to think. Half a writer’s time may involve thinking and meditating about the things you see, read, and hear. And if your journal or device is not handy? I’ve known songwriters who have written their song lyrics on restaurant napkins. Keep a notebook–or something to write on–with you at all times.
Lately, one of the places I’ve found creative ideas is in our church worship service. Inevitably, either during the praise service as the words and music sweep through my spirit, or during the message, ideas begin to flow. I do take sermon notes, but the bulletin also becomes my temporary journal page as well. I confess that at times I’ve even grabbed a small notebook or piece of paper by my bedside to scribble an idea down before I lost it–yes, in the middle of the night–yes, in the dark. As I grow older, I realize ideas will no longer hover around my brain like a buzzard over fresh kill. If I don’t write it immediately, the idea may vanish into the night.
2. Life Experience
Have you been through a crisis? Learned any new lessons? Make a list of the things you’ve learned. What stories can you tell from your own life growing up, as a child, as a teen, from your marriage, from places you’ve been. What have you experienced that could minister to someone else? What humorous things have happened to you? Most of my early books, articles, and even blogs have evolved from life experiences–as a child, a wife, a mom, a friend–always with the hope that it might encourage someone else.
My first solo book, At Home in My Heart, Preparing a Place for His Presence, was born from both personal life experiences and journaled thoughts. And my most recent devotionals, Day-votions® for Women, Day-votions® for Mothers®, and Day-votions® for Grandmothers were also conceived from life experiences, along with Bible principles.
Nothing inspires me more than being out in God’s creation, whether it’s in my own backyard, at a mountain retreat, or beside a lazy river. Many of my blogs originated from nature, including the recent 2-blog series, “Lessons from Alaska about God’s Character and Ours.” If you’re stuck in a rut and the walls are closing in, take a break if at all possible. Plan for a brief getaway, go for a walk, or just go outside for a change of pace. And when you are blessed to go on vacation, don’t forget to take your notebook or computer (and I don’t mean for checking e-mail or facebook) for recording fresh inspiration.
As a greeting card writer, photos are especially helpful to me when looking for ideas. But they’ve also created inspiration for articles and blogs. In fact, I’ve become so interested in photography that I often spend as much time finding the right photo as I do the blog itself. Buy yourself a good camera, and watch for photogenic opportunities.
You can also view (and use) pics from free photo places online such as stock.xchng. Or look at old greeting cards, your own photo albums, or visit an art gallery. Ask yourself questions about the photos: “What if’?” “Why?” I love to watch for unusual objects and scenes that might jumpstart my creativity later.
5. Books, Movies, and Newspapers
You’ve heard it before. Good writers are readers. What we read, like what we eat, affects and influences us. Well-written books and inspiring movies embed themselves in your brain, feeding you inspiration and creativity. Vary your reading to include biography, fiction, and non-fiction. Good books will jumpstart your thoughts positively. Many fiction writers have gleaned working plots from newspaper articles. Truth is still stranger than fiction.
I can always tell when my thoughts become dull and uninteresting. I’ve stopped stretching, growing, learning, and reading. I averaged reading at least one, sometimes two books a week this past year. I’d like to read even more. You’d be amazed at the odd times you can find to read if you really want to.
In fact, you’ll be amazed at the ideas you’ll find, the things you’ll write, and the creations you’ll make–if you really want to. I have found that as I seek first to know God intimately, then offer my life as a blank page to the Lord, He fills my file folder full of ideas–many of which were born from places like these.
And then God answered: “Write this. Write what you see. Write it out in big block letters so that it can be read on the run. This vision-message is a witness pointing to what’s coming. It aches for the coming—it can hardly wait! And it doesn’t lie. If it seems slow in coming, wait. It’s on its way. It will come right on time.” Habakkuk 2:2-3, The Message
What about you? What sparks your creativity? Where do you get your ideas? Please share your comments below. Your words might encourage someone today! You will not be hounded, prodded, or automatically added to my mailing list if you do so. Feel free to email this blog to someone or to re-post on social media, using the buttons below. If you want to re-post any of my blogs on your own blog or website, please contact me for permission first.