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

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Pictures Worth a Thousand Words?

You've heard that saying, right?

A picture is worth a thousand words.

My daughter recently took some beautiful compositions. Take a moment to "read" these nature photos.

Words like spring and colorful and majestic come to my mind as well as awesome Creator.

What words come to your mind?

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Children's Book Day

Yikes! I just about let this little holiday pass by without letting you know about one of my favorite children's books of all time.

Robert Munsch wrote a great little tale called The Paper Bag Princess. I've used this book with children and adults to teach about the elements of a story. And I've just read it for the fun of it.

This isn't your normal princess and prince story with a dragon thrown in. No. Instead of Princess Elizabeth being saved by Prince Ronald, Munsch puts a twist on the same old story.

This princess is spunky and clever.

I use this little book for story writing lessons because Munsch follows the "rules" of good story writing so perfectly.

At the very beginning we are introduced to the main character and the setting but immediately we see an inciting action that pulls the reader in. The classic three act structure is seen, but the author doesn't give us a cookie cutter main character but a unique one. The ending isn't predicable either.

Check it out, friends!