Tuesday, April 30, 2013

New Book - The Issue of Abortion

Welcome once again to my author/friend, Eileen Rife. Read on to discover her new book, Laughing with Lily, and some of the issues addressed in this book.

1.      What inspired you to write Laughing with Lily?
Two things: I wanted to take a trip down memory lane, returning to a time when my husband and I were newly-married, thirty-seven years ago. I also wanted to highlight abortion, showing the struggle that many mothers have in the wake of aborting their babies.
2.      Are any particulars of the story based on your own experiences?
Yes. The adorable white-frame dollhouse is modeled after Chuck’s and my first house when we lived in Warsaw, Indiana. I drove by the house every day on my way to the Cardinal Center where I worked as (you guessed it) an aide with mentally-challenged teens. When the FOR SALE sign went up in the yard, I begged Chuck to take me for a tour of the home.
As an aside, as far as I know, there is no Schreiber, IN. As with most of my novels, Laughing with Lily is a combination of both fictional and real places.
3.      Your stories typically revolve around an issue that is red-hot on your heart. Why did you choose abortion to profile in Laughing with Lily?
Psalm 139 details how a loving God carefully and meticulously fashions each one of us in the womb, thinks about us day and night, covers us with His hand, and numbers all our days. We are made in His image. So, both pre-born babies and their mothers are precious to God. To destroy a life He has created is to tamper with His image. And that breaks His heart. I want to be a person who shares the heart of God.
In addition, I want women who have undergone abortion to know that God loves them, just as deeply and completely as He loves their babies. Through Christ, He wants to draw them close, forgive and heal them.
4.      Does the story hold any particular meaning for you personally?
Yes. In 1981, my husband and I lost our second baby at four months gestation—a perfectly-formed baby boy spanning the length of the obstetrician’s hand. He called it a “spontaneous abortion.” We called him David Nathaniel.
I had no choice in the abortion. My body simply and horribly rejected my child. I not only grieved over my loss, but for all the babies who had been aborted by choice. And for all the mothers who had been duped into thinking that their babies were merely globs of tissue, easily discarded.
In 1985, the unthinkable happened. I lost another baby, a little girl—Allison Marie—again at four months gestation. My doctor determined that my uterus, which is supposed to be shaped like a pear, is actually shaped like a heart. David and Allison attached to the crook in the heart (a weak place) and at a certain size automatically detached, inducing labor and subsequent delivery. 
5.      What do you hope will stay with readers long after they’ve read the book?
I want readers to know that God delights in making something beautiful out of the ugly circumstances of our lives. Whether it’s an abortion attempt like Celeste encountered or a serious, debilitating accident as in Joe’s case, God can use human tragedy to draw us close and move us into relationship with Him. I also want readers to know that often in the “letting go,” we can discover God’s love in deeper ways.  
6.      Who do you hope to touch through Laughing with Lily?
 First of all, I want to touch readers who have in some way been affected by abortion. I want them to know that no matter the guilt or grief they carry, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Wounded Healer, stands ready to cover them with His healing and forgiveness (Isaiah 53). Secondly, I want readers who have not experienced abortion to show both truth and grace toward those who have.
 7.      How can readers reach out to a woman with an unplanned pregnancy?
 Supporting and/or volunteering at your local crisis pregnancy center are two ways a concerned person can get involved. In fact, a portion of proceeds from Laughing with Lily goes to support my hometown agency, Blue Ridge Women’s Center. Their website www.blueridgewoman.org details who they are and what they do to help women.

A long-buried secret.

An unexpected encounter.
A quest for answers.

Celeste Tatem, a special-education teacher at The Brighton Center in Schreiber, Indiana, couldn’t be more in love with her husband, Joe. But the memory of one day in the past haunts her, threatening their relationship. When Joe dies in a factory explosion, she sinks into depression.
It will take the arrival of a new student, Lily, and her delightful honesty, laughter, and joy at life’s little things to awaken Celeste to hope. When Don, an old flame from college, reenters Celeste’s world, the flickers of love stir once again, and startling questions arise. Questions that threaten to rip the veneer off of her carefully guarded secret. Then the most unexpected thing of all happens….
A story of love and forgiveness
in the most unexpected places.

Thank you, Eileen, for sharing with us about this new book. Sounds like a definite don't miss. 
Some of my readers know that I am the devotion leader at our Baptist association's Pregnancy Crisis Center. We've seen many babies saved from being aborted, and many young women saved from their sins and find salvation through Christ because of the mission of this center.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Do Suffering and Blessing Go Together?

Check out my guest post on Ada's blog. I discuss how suffering and blessing really can go together, and how that relates to my soon coming book, BE THE BLESSING. I also mention how my mother taught me through example about suffering and yet blessing others. Click on the link below to check it out.


Friday, April 19, 2013

Tragedy and Evil

In light of the tragedy of the Boston bombings, Christians should reflect on what God has told us in His Word.

Second Timothy 3:1 states: "But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days." Also in that passage it states that people will be lovers of themselves, brutal, and not lovers of good.

Obviously, we have seen this played out on our televisions. Men who acted brutally, and who acted out of evil.

First Peter 5:8-9 says: "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings."

God has warned us in His Word to be on the watch because our enemy is just looking for someone to use. As the scripture from First Peter says, we must resist the devil and stand firm in our faith. The enemy may seem strong when he shows his evil in acts like that in Boston.

But, remember First John 4:4b: "the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world."

Our God is stronger! Our enemy is defeated - he knows his days are numbered so he must try to hurt the heart of God while he can. But, one day, my brothers and sisters in Christ, God will say - "No more!" Until that day, we stand firm in our faith and shout the name of Jesus in the devil's face. Then, we show Christ's love to those who suffer from the evil one's fallout.

Lord, comfort those who are hurting as only You can.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Do Your Best

What kind of work ethic do you have? Do you always put forth your best effort? When you do work hard, do you get positive feedback?

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism." Colossians 3:23-25 NIV

Another version called The Message puts it this way:
"Servants, do what you're told by your earthly masters. And don't just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you'll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you're serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being Christian doesn't cover up bad work."

My parents instilled a good work ethic by their example. Both of them were always loyal workers at whatever job they had and went over and above what was expected of them. Even though my mother is retired now, she still approaches her volunteer work the same way. My father still maintains company airplanes and co-pilots on trips. He continues to go over and above the call of duty to insure the planes are in top condition.

Though my parents have been ideal employees, they haven't always had openly appreciative bosses.

When you work hard and don't feel appreciated, it can be hard to continue. Often, you might want to cut back and just do what is expected or less.

We all experience times like this in our jobs or even in other tasks we might undertake within our churches or other organizations. But, how do we keep our good work ethic when we're not appreciated? How do we stay motivated to do our best?

Reread the scripture passages above and be encouraged to take a different perspective. As you work at anything whether a project with your church or community or in your vocational job, focus on working for the Lord. No matter what you do, you are serving God.

As I've tried to take on this perspective of my work, I feel an even greater responsibility to do my best. And, God's retirement plan is out of this world!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Eight Track Tape Day

April 11th is Eight Track Tape Day.

Some of you are giggling with memories of these bulky tapes and others of you are scratching your head wondering what in the world an eight-track tape is.

My parents had a car with an eight-track player in it. We thought we were somebodies listening to our Southern Gospel favorites while riding along. Then, when we were at home, Dad would put a stack of LP's on the record player and more Southern Gospel would ring throughout our house.

It's amazing how eight-track players and record players are now completely obsolete. They have been replaced by cassette tapes, then CD's, then MP3 players, and IPods, and now we listen to music on our cell phones.

Can I tell you something though? No matter how you listen to it, Christian singers are still belting out the same gospel. Because, even though technology seems to change by the moment, God never does.

Changes in technology have been said to be an improvement over the product before it. God's plan was perfect to start with - no improvement needed.

Still yet, the wages of sin is death.
Still yet, Jesus paid the sin-debt on the cross.
Still yet, we must make Jesus Savior and Lord of our lives.
Still yet, the saved will live forever in heaven.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Earthen Vessel with Heavenly Contents

"Though I am an earthen vessel, I am designed to be filled with heavenly contents."

Does this quote from Sarah Young's Jesus Calling catch your attention? It does me.

I have mulled this over for a couple of days. To think that even though I am just a mortal formed from the dust of the ground, God intends for me to be filled. And, not just filled with junk from this earth, but godly stuff.

For you see, if we are filled with earthy stuff, it would be only temporary and not satisfying. To be filled with heavenly contents would mean lasting and contentment-supplying.

What kind of heavenly contents are we talking about here?

Love. Not the world's kind of love but God's unconditional, He gave all, kind of love.

Joy. Not a temporary feeling like experienced through things of this earth. No, a joy that is sustained even through suffering and trials.

Peace. Not a fleeting peace, always on the rocks wondering when it will falter. God's peace is an inner peace that transcends understanding.

I am so thankful that God wants to fill my earthly vessel with His good stuff.

Let God fill the emptiness in you with heavenly contents. That's the way He designed us - to search until we find the only thing that will satisfy - Christ in you.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Wit and Wisdom from the Wee Ones

Is this the cutest cover you've ever seen, or what? I'm so excited to give you a peek at this book which is coming soon. And, I'm equally thrilled to say that Eileen included some of my quotes in this book. This would make a wonderful Mother's Day gift. Read on to find out more about this gift book.

Kids can take us right to the heart of God, one way or another. When they provoke frustration, we breathe a silent prayer for grace. When they incite giggles, we hear God’s laughter as well. When they stimulate an endearing moment, we sense God’s touch. When they utter a profound statement, we step back in wonder.
What is this phenomenon a little one evokes?
Bubbly ripples of laughter that transport us to another realm. Unabashed honesty that cuts to the chase. Joy splashing around our ankles, light spilling into shadow, awakening us to a childlike appreciation for the world around us.
If we take the time, if we listen, if we stoop to their level, we can go where kids go—straight to the heart of God.
Wit & Wisdom from the Wee Ones is a collection of cute quips and quotes inspired by Eileen’s grandchildren. Along with other contributors, Eileen cracks the door to the whimsical, yet often wise world of the child.
Lean in close . . . you may just hear God’s heartbeat.

Author bio:

Eileen Hinkle Rife is a veteran homeschool mom and author of several nonfiction books, as well as four fiction titles: The Born for India trilogy (Journey to Judah, Restored Hearts, and Chosen Ones)and Second Chance. Her byline has appeared in numerous magazines, including Marriage Partnership, Light & Life, Mature Living, On Mission, Discipleship Journal, and Christian Home & School. She and her husband, Chuck, conduct marriage seminars and speak on a variety of topics for church groups and organizations in the States and overseas. When not writing and speaking, she enjoys playing with her six grandchildren.

Here are two of my quotes which are included in the book to give you an idea of the wit and wisdom you'll find.

Purple groundhogs
  Andie is a three-year-old who claims to know everything.
Her mother was quizzing her and her big sister on what animals are nocturnal.
Andie confidently announced that a groundhog is a nocturnal animal.
Her mother said, "No, I don't think so. We see them out in the day." 
Andie quickly replied, "Have you ever seen a purple groundhog?" 

Her mother shook her head. 
"See the purple groundhog is nocturnal 'cause you've never seen one." 
 Clean up your act

Three-year-old Maddie is rather outspoken at such an early age.
She spotted a man with a tattoo while riding in a shopping cart during her mother's grocery trip.Maddie knew it was her duty to advise the man, for she knew the trouble she had encountered when she had drawn on her own arms with markers.As the man came back into sight, she proclaimed in her best southern drawl: "You need to clean that mess off!"

Monday, April 1, 2013

Children's Book Day

Did you know that April 2nd is Children's Book Day? When I heard about this day, I immediately thought about books I enjoyed as a child. I liked Dr. Suess books as well as Bible story books my mom brought me from her job at a Christian book store. I also liked activity books.

Today, I want to introduce you to a new author/friend, Kimberly Payne. She has a new children's activity book out called Trees of the Book. Even this "kid" found the stories, facts, and activities interesting and enjoyable.

Kimberley Payne is a motivational speaker and author. Kimberley has volunteered as a teacher in many children's programs at her church, as a teacher's aide for students' reading in the classroom, and within the library at her children's school. She works as an Elementary School Secretary for the Catholic School Board. She combines her teaching experience and her love of writing to create educational materials for children about family, fitness, science and faith.  www.kimberleypayne.com

Explore the Bible and learn from God’s creation. This entertaining and educational book offers children loads of fun. At the same time they’ll be learning about the Bible.

Inside its pages you’ll find:

·        Bible stories told from the viewpoint of the tree
·        Fast facts to help identify the specific tree
·        An activity to help reinforce the truth in the lesson
·        Challenging questions to support each story
·        Glossary and “People of the Bible” sections at the back of the book define words which are highlighted in bold
·        Project suggestions to enhance your learning

This engaging and instructive book is a colorful introduction to trees, leaves and their corresponding Bible stories. It’s ideal for 7 to 9 year olds, for home or school use and classroom sharing in grades 2/3 to supplement the Life Sciences Curriculum on Plant Life.

 Take a moment to check out this great resource. 

And, think back to the children's books you adored. Share some of them in the comments section.