Friday, May 27, 2016

Don't Get Comfortable! WORK!

I'm just returning from the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. The worship and keynote speakers were all wonderful and inspiring. But why is it that I always seem to have one of those epiphanies? More like a kick into something God is trying to teach me.

Last year I had it in my head - notice I said in my head - that there were some questions I would answer for myself and my writing career. I talked to some very smart people and concluded that I was all right. Just keep doing what you're doing.

So this year I decided that I would just go and be spiritually refreshed and maybe connect with old friends and new ones and maybe teach a tidbit or two that could be usable to my class attendees and one on one appointments. Then God inspired a sweet woman I ended up sitting next to during the one on one appointments to speak right into my life and my stubbornness.

Sweet Christian brothers and sisters, I have learned that in the calling God has for me, I am never to just get comfortable and ride along. God's plans are a process that I am to work out until I stand in front of Him in Glory. Sometimes this involves pushing myself harder to a higher level than before. Yeah, it's easier to bask in past glories and coast on that level. But that's not His way.

"Be strong, all you people of the land," declares the Lord, "and work. For I am with you," declares the Lord Almighty. "This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And My Spirit remains among you. Do not fear." Haggai 2:4-5 NIV

This verse pierced my heart. The Lord would have me to be strong but work. If God were finished with me, I would be standing in front of Him in heaven. Since I'm still here, there's still work for me to do. But I do have the promise that He is with me. God birthed the calling to write for Him in my heart and He still expects my efforts toward that calling. I can trust Him to move me to the higher level He is calling because His Spirit is in me to guide and instruct. I don't have to stay in my comfortable spot. He reminds me that I shouldn't fear. And twice He pauses to remind me of Who is talking - "declares the Lord" and "declares the Lord Almighty."

God has the blueprint for my life and even knows how what I do will influence others for Him. And I get to work for and with Him. Did you catch that? I get to work with the God of the universe.

So as I evaluate my takeaways from the conference, I'm reminded that I have to get back to work. I have to strive for excellence on a higher level because He deserves no less.

I pray my lesson may help you in some way to resist getting comfortable and work for the Lord!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

New Book You Don't Want to Miss!

Today, I'm hosting Julie Marx. Read on to discover what inspired her to write Family Lies Deadly Ties.

Welcome, Julie!

Thank for having me, Paula.

What inspired me to write Family Lies, Deadly Ties?

Family Lies Deadly Ties birthed in an unusual way. I write psychological suspense, but I’m surrounded by a circle of fantastic romancer authors in my critique group. So, I took the challenge, stepped out of my comfort zone, and plunged into the adventure of trying to make a girl meet a guy—and kiss. How hard could that be for an author driven by the thrill of suspense and not the passion of lips touching? Ha!

I had recently returned from the land of Hanalei on the island of Kauai, HI, the perfect setting for love…and terror. I created my protagonist Rylee Shepherd as a transfer from the Rocky Mountains (my stomping grounds) so she could give the reader a fresh taste of the island from a non-native point of view. She stands out as a tall and very white and studious chick with zero interest in a boyfriend.

Her unexpected love interest, Noah Logun? Let’s just say this laid back drummer is on a passionate mission, and some believe he’s a troublemaker. The citizens of Hanalei are divided on what to think of him, and Rylee gets caught in the middle. And yes, their lips do meet. And it’s good!

Family matters, and finding a place in this world is the hidden desire in the heart of both characters. My hope is that readers will experience a deeper sense of God’s adoption of us into His heart and into His family, a place of belonging, purpose, and hope. “If nothing else, I want you to know how much you are wanted.” -J.A.

A glimpse into Family Lies, Deadly Ties
Rylee Shepherd’s background is everything but enviable, and her time as a nanny in Hawaii is ticking away. God, however, is teaching her to live by grace, not by works. She overcomes false beliefs about herself and her past. The twins she nannies, who are raised on heavy doses of Disney, are hard not to fall in love with.
Her boss’s estranged son, Noah Logun, lives with his gracious pastors who are helping train him how to fight a spiritual war according to his faith in Christ. Noah desires to acquire ‘the eyes of Elisha’ (2 Kings 16) and overcome his history as a ‘loser.’
Will Rylee and Noah discover the truths that will help them win the biggest battle of their lives? Can they do this before felons Lizard and ‘Kojak’ execute their wicked plan?

Multi-published author J.A. Marx writes from Texas. Her hobbies are painting, fitness and nutrition. She has co-authored 3 Christmas novellas, The Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt, A Ruby Christmas, and Christmas Apples. Her novella Mirror, Mirror released April 2016, and her psychological suspense trilogy The Destiny Series released in 2014.

J.A. hangs out with her children and grandchildren and loves serving at Gateway Church. Above all, her desire is to see people healed and set free to live and love.

Amazon page:  
Pinterest (for this novel)  
Buy Family Lies, Deadly Ties:

 Readers, you know you must add this romantic suspense to your reading list! You won't be sorry. 

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Monday, May 9th - Lost Sock Memorial Day

Sounds like a crazy little holiday, doesn't it? But truly I think there's not another more fitting day to follow Mother's Day.

How many times have we moms been completely baffled as to that one sock that is left over when we've folded all of the laundry? And of course, that is the exact pair of socks which will go perfectly with her outfit. But now what will she do? Why, she'll have to change the whole outfit!

I'm pretty sure a mom had to start the fad of wearing two different socks. What better way to solve all of those singles?

Is there a special place all of those lost socks go? It would seem when the washer and dryer were transported to another house, a whole stack of socks should be hiding underneath. But I've never found this to be true. Thus, we would have to assume socks are being eaten by the washer or dryer. That thought conjures a scary feeling, making me a bit leery and yet more respectful of my appliances.

Then again, we mustn't blame all of those poor lost socks on the appliances. Just when I give up, trash all of the singles, and buy new pairs, several lost socks will magically reappear from under beds, floors of closets, and even under the clothes hamper.

Lost Sock Memorial Day doesn't cause me to reflect on all those single socks I've found through the years. No, I think about how fortunate I've been to be called a mom. Though I've often dragged myself through washing those socks, it was one way I took care of my daughter. I'm thankful God has allowed me to provide socks for her feet and watch those feet grow.

One day when she's a mom and asks me where all those lost socks go, I won't have an answer, only theories. I'll just tell her to be thankful and to hide a stash of socks in her dresser drawer for those little feet.

God, socks make me think about the little things in life. I need to thank You for the little things, too.  

Monday, May 2, 2016

Me Quirky?

Please check out this interview I did for Sandra Robbins' blog.

She included some interesting questions. One has to do with the word quirky. Read to find out what my response was after asking my daughter about the word quirky in relation to me. Inquiring minds want to know. LOL

Click on the interview link below, read the interview, then return here and comment what you found most interesting. I have an e-copy of The Crux of Honor for one commenter.

Interview on Sandra's Blog

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Newest Release Shows God's Unconditional Love

The release day is finally here. Friday, April 29th, The Crux of Honor will be available.
Dear Readers, I have looked forward to sharing this story with you. 
Please read about some of the inspiration for this story and a little blurb to entice you. 
Do you know someone who could use the message of God's unconditional love? Share this book with them. My prayer is that this book will touch someone who feels unloved with God's love. 

We’re told in Scripture that God is love. He definitely proved His kind of love is an unconditional and undeserved type through sending His Son to die for our sins.
Some love isn’t hard to conjure. God just helps us to enhance it. For example, I am still head-over-heels in love with my husband of twenty-six years. But through God’s Word and leading, I’ve learned to love my husband more like God planned for a wife to love her husband.
When my little girl was born, I was in love, even though it took a lot to get her here. But God has shown me how to love my daughter through example and discipline.
I struggled with infertility issues before finally conceiving my only daughter. My bitterness heightened each time I would hear about a young woman or girl who conceived out of wedlock and by accident. I cried out to God that this wasn’t fair. I wanted a baby and would care for that child and love that child, giving her a mother and a father.
Some years later I was approached by the director of our church association’s Pregnancy Crisis Center to become their devotional leader. I struggled with my answer for a bit but knew God was pushing me to do this.
As I shared about the love of God and then listened to these girls tell their stories, I had to repent of my former bitterness. God taught me to love and care for these girls and their babies. They each had a story with hopes and dreams of their own.
Everyone deserves to know about the unconditional love God offers. This is what I hope readers see in the story, The Crux of Honor.
Since God is love, when we allow Him to teach us His kind of love, we can’t help but be richer and enrich others.

Check out Paula’s contribution to Prism Book Group’s new Love Is series…

The Crux of Honor
“Love does not dishonor…” 1 Corinthians: 13:4

Chelsea Wilson’s life is a constant reminder of what living dishonorably looks like. At every turn she continues to prove her mother’s shunning must be deserved. 

Dr. Kevin Alley returns to the old home place to establish his medical practice. After running into Chelsea, he knows his love for her is still strong. 

Chelsea is ousted from her small rented room when her mother bursts in, proclaiming Chelsea’s pregnancy. 

Kevin takes Chelsea in, giving her space to live on the upper level of his house. 

When Chelsea’s baby displays life-threatening symptoms, Chelsea must face her mother. Secrets unfold about Chelsea’s parents. Can Chelsea and Kevin uncover the secrets linked to Amish heritage in time to save the baby? Can the two find love together despite their history?

Saturday, April 23, 2016

God's Always in the Teaching Business

Hey all you Readers! I felt led to share a post I wrote for another blog. 

No Matter the Cost - Really?
Do you struggle with some of the things Jesus said as recorded in the Bible? I've always struggled with a passage in Luke, but God illustrated it for me recently.
Luke 9:59-62: "He (Jesus) said to another man, 'Follow me.' But the man replied, 'Lord, first let me go and bury my father.' Jesus said to him, 'Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go proclaim the kingdom of God.' Still another said, 'I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family.' Jesus replied, 'No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.'"
Seems a bit harsh, doesn't it? I mean, these men were asking to take care of their families, and Jesus tells them to follow him. I've often rationalized this scene, thinking I don't know the whole story. Maybe these two men didn't really have to do the things they asked to return home to do. Jesus would have known their hearts.
Upon further consideration, I believe that Jesus was sending a message to these men, those around, and to us, reading this account in the Scripture.
Here's the same passage in The Message translation: "Jesus said to another, 'Follow me.' He said, 'Certainly, but first excuse me for a couple of days, please. I have to make arrangements for my father's funeral.' Jesus refused. 'First things first. Your business is life, not death. And life is urgent: Announce God's kingdom!' Then another said, 'I'm ready to follow you, Master, but first excuse me while I get things straightened out at home.' Jesus said, 'No procrastination. No backward looks. You can't put God's kingdom off till tomorrow. Seize the day.'"
I think this version makes things a bit clearer for me in understanding why Jesus answered the way He did.
Recently, one of my husband's pastor/friends came to our church to preach a revival service. Before the service, the pastor explained about his father who was dying in a nearby town. He had been told that it was only a matter of a couple of days. He was going to be with him after the service that evening. Twenty minutes before the revival service began, this pastor received word that his father had passed.
My husband encouraged him to go ahead to be with his family. The visiting pastor said, "No, my father was a retired pastor and I know he would tell me to suck it up and get up there and preach what God gave to me. I will deliver the message God has been unfolding to me for almost two months. Then I will slip out and you can tell the congregation why I've left so quickly."
We prayed for the pastor to be able to deliver the message that he knew God had given to him. After his sermon, several people hurried to the altar. It was obvious that the message had touched many.
As the pastor slipped down the aisle and out the back doors, the scripture passage above from Luke came to me. Chills ran up my arms. I finally got it.
It was more important for the pastor to deliver a message that meant people could be drawn to salvation or that Christians could get right with God again, than for him to be with his father when he passed. The visiting pastor knew his father was headed for heaven. But God needed his message to draw some at our church who might not have been heading for eternity with God.
Jesus wants us to know that telling others about Him and the salvation He offers isn't something to be put off until another day. We don't know what the next day holds. We have to seize the moments we have , even if that means pushing aside our agendas.
Yes, taking care of family business is important but not at the expense of a soul being lost or a child of God straying. In the Luke passage Jesus wasn't being heartless. On the contrary, He was seeing the most important need.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

National Encourage a Young Writer Day

Sunday, April 10th is National Encourage a Young Writer Day.

When speaking with students these days, many don't enjoy writing or even reading. I take this as a personal challenge to motivate them to read good writers and to become good writers.

Honestly, I began to wonder not too long back who would become our future authors. When teachers announce a writing assignment, many are met with groans of dread. Part of the reason for this, I'm afraid, is that the writing we're teaching them is geared toward passing tests. Instead of being able to work through an intriguing writing curriculum, teachers are forced to hammer writing survival tactics to produce essays on tests that mean nothing in the end. Students are left to think that this is all there is to writing.

I've been piloting a program in the school I work in part-time called TAG - Tomorrow's Author Guild. I'm creating hands on, visual type writing lessons, presenting them to various classes, and then challenging them with a writing assignment. My publisher, Prism Book Group, is sponsoring this endeavor because of the strong desire to support future authors.

For this obscure holiday, I want to encourage the young writers out there. One way to learn more about writing is to read good books. As an author, I do this myself. I not only enjoy reading a book for the story but for learning more about how authors write. Another way to learn more about writing is to write. Dabble in writing poetry or stories or even reporting on things that have happened. The more you read, the better you will become at reading. The more you write, the better you will become at writing.

Encourage young writers - they will be the authors of tomorrow.

Check out my TAG blog where you'll find helps for teachers and an ongoing story for young readers.

TAG Blog Link