Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Most Beautiful Ugly Words

"Surely, he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed. "
Isaiah 53:4-5

This passage of scripture at this Easter time of year moves me emotionally. On the one hand I'm moved to tears picturing what Jesus endured for me. Then at the same instant I'm moved to smile and rejoice because He took that on for me.

My sins and His wounds were ugly yet beautiful in that through those ugly wounds I am reconciled to God and God doesn't see my ugly sin any more.

Too often we become so familiar with the Easter story that we don't stop to remember what Christ did for us. What love the Father has for us to allow His Own Son to suffer for us.

I have only one child. Though I love my close family and friends, I couldn't sacrifice my daughter for them, not to mention for everyone in the world. When I stop to consider His sacrifice on this kind of personal level, I'm brought to my knees.

I imagine watching as my daughter was inflicted with those ugly wounds. How did He bear it? Then I imagine turning away from my daughter as she breathes her last. How could He do it?

I'm not sure how He could restrain Himself from ending all of the suffering. But what other proof would we need that He loved us? This is the ultimate demonstration of love. "...and by his wounds we are healed."

As my pastor/hubby often says: "He turned his back on Jesus so He would never have to turn his back on you."

As the song says: "How deep the Father's love for us; how vast beyond all measure."

Bask in those most beautiful ugly words from Isaiah during this Easter.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

A Giveaway

Hey Readers! Jean Williams has offered a free copy of her book, Just Claire to a commenter.

If you missed the information, just refer to the previous post on this blog where you can read about Jean and her book.

You may comment on the former post or this one for a chance to win the giveaway.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Just Claire: Written to Give Hope

Please welcome Jean Williams as she shares about her book. 

I was inspired to write Just Claire because my own childhood was difficult. My mother became ill when I was ten years old, which began her life-long descent into severe mental illness. I wanted to write the book I wish I’d had to help me through those difficult growing up years. So in writing Just Claire, my goal was to give readers hope, to show them they are not alone in their own personal struggles.

One mother damaged. One family tested. One daughter determined to find her place.

ClaireLee’s life changes when she must take charge of her siblings after her mother becomes depressed from a difficult childbirth. Frightened by the way Mama sleeps too much and her crying spells during waking hours, ClaireLee just knows she’ll catch her illness like a cold or flu that hangs on through winter. ClaireLee finds comfort in the lies she tells herself and others in order to hide the truth about her erratic mother. Deciding she needs to re-invent herself, she sets out to impress a group of popular girls.
With her deception, ClaireLee weaves her way into the Lavender Girls Club, the most sophisticated girls in school. Though, her best friend Belinda will not be caught with the likes of such shallow puddles, ClaireLee ignores Belinda’s warnings the Lavenders cannot be trusted. ClaireLee drifts further from honesty, her friend, and a broken mother’s love, until one very public night at the yearly school awards ceremony. The spotlight is on her, and she finds her courage and faces the truth and then ClaireLee saves her mother’s life.

Downloads available at Amazon:

Author Jean Ann Williams, the eldest in a large family, enjoys digging into her fascinating childhood to create stories for children. Having written over one hundred articles for children and adults, Just Claire is her first book. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, and Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and she writes regularly on her blog. Jean Ann and her husband live on one acre in Southern Oregon where they raise a garden, goats, and chickens. Her favorite hobbies are hiking through the woods and practicing archery with her bow.

Question for readers: What topics would you like to see more of in books for todays tweens and young adults?

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Letters and Actions = Same

My hubby just completed our January Bible study last Sunday night. The study was through the book of Second Corinthians.

As he wrapped up that study, a particular passage spoke to me. Reader, you know this happens frequently with me. *Chuckle*

In the last few chapters of this second letter to the Corinthians, Paul finds he must defend himself against some criticism. Read this section from the tenth chapter and verses nine through eleven from The Message translation.

"And what's this talk about me bullying you with my letters? 'His letters are brawny and potent, but in person he's a weakling and mumbles when he talks.' Such talk won't survive scrutiny. What we write when away, we do when present. We're the exact same people, absent or present, in letter or in person."

I immediately reread the passage then examined myself as to whether I follow this same rule. Do people find the same person as the message I portray in my writing?

I've been told that my stories are very emotional which impacts the reader even deeper with the Godly message. Often I've shared with readers that the lessons and messages sift through me and impact me before I share them in my fiction writing. Therefore, when I speak about these topics, I've "been there."

Like Paul shared with his audience here in the Corinthian passage, I don't just throw in the truths from God's Word for effect. What I write reflects what I believe and the way I live my life.

Now there are some who find Christian fiction preachy. I've even read a critic who said if he wanted a sermon, he would go to church.

Sweet Readers, I disagree. I read only Christian fiction (dabbling in nonfiction) and that's what I write. I like to be entertained by a good story just like the next person, but I truly like the messages I receive when I read a good Christian fiction. It's that "icing on the cake" kind of thing. To me it makes the book even more enticing to read when I know I might be led to consider another facet of God's character. Or maybe I'll learn something about my own Christian walk. I might even learn how to treat others in a more godly manner and learn to show more compassion.

Whether I am reading or providing a story for my readers, I want more than just a good story. I want encouragement in faith and an urging to keep my focus on God.

Thus, I will strive to make my letters match my actions in person. I want to be like Paul. No matter if you hear me in person or if you read my writing, I want you to experience the same thing: encouragement in your faith and living a Godly/Christian legacy.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Check out TAG

I'm sharing this blog launch with all my readers.

Please check out the first posts of TAG - Tomorrow's Author Guild. This blog will reflect my work with children in the public school classroom in the area of writing instruction. Teachers can also find lessons and suggestions for teaching writing on this blog as well.

Go on over and nose around each tab to learn what TAG is all about.

You may subscribe through email to stay connected and up to date on the latest happenings there. Also you'll find a contact form should you wish to contact me for more information about anything on the blog or for possible lessons or workshops.

Pass the word on about this new blog. Thanks to our sponsor, Prism Book Group.

Click here for TAG blog