Friday, December 19, 2014

Lester Did it Right (It Matters How You Live Part 2)

Our actions directly affect lives around us. What you choose to do. What you choose to say. How you choose to live your life, it makes a difference—more than you think.

Last week I talked about my great-grandfather. A man who only saw the church and the people in it as white-washed tombs, people who seemed pretty on the outside, but dig deep enough and his life was cleaner than theirs. Why should he make a point to change the way he lived when they weren’t?

Those people might not have realized it, but their actions were directly affecting my grandfather’s lack of a walk with God.

Except for Lester.

My great-grandfather was a farmer, a mountain of a man, who spent the last few years of his life confined to a nursing home, separated from my grandmother because it wasn’t a facility that accommodated them living together.

Cousin Lester visited every week. Pushing my grandfather throughout the grounds of the facility, in and out amongst all the flowers and plants my farming grandfather would have loved. Lester didn’t just come because he wanted to connect and spend time with his family, Lester came because of an aching desire to make sure Grandpa didn’t die lost.

It wasn’t through words that Lester showed Grandpa his need for salvation. It was through actions. It wasn’t through preachy sermons and demands that Grandpa “change his ways”. He already thought he was righteous. It was through the simple fact that Lester lived his life with a passion for Christ.

Your life is a mirror.

You either reflect Christ.

Or you reflect the world.

It’s not a complicated choice and it does have eternal effects. You touch lives everywhere you go. 
You can’t walk through this life without leaving some kind of fingerprint on another person’s life. My question for you is: are you walking with Christ in such a way that people see you as different? If you aren’t seen as having something different, all witness is lost.

Grandpa saw something different in Lester. Someone genuine, something he didn’t have.

My dad used to tell me, “if you can spot them (those being in the world and lost), they can spot you.” To be honest, I struggled with believing this. How could my life, lived in such a way that didn’t have me preaching on a street corner, point people to Christ?

But it does. And I saw it over and over when I worked at the medical office. Patients stopped me in the halls, spoke to me at the counter or made comments just in general passing—that I was different.

You’re either ridiculed for following Jesus or you’re praised for it. Either way, people can’t get away from the love that I have for my Savior.

And Lester? He didn’t give up. He kept chasing God in front of Grandpa up until the very end. It wasn’t a sprint to make an impression on an old man, it was a marathon he was running for life. And 
Grandpa’s wasn’t the only life changed. I guarantee it.


You don’t know what seeds someone else has planted that you’re watering, weeding, harvesting. I just know a man that didn’t need to preach to spread the gospel, ended up bringing a hard-core, crusty farmer to know the Lord. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Giveaway! This Quiet Sky by Joanne Bischof!

Welcome to Writing for Christ Joanna Bischof, it is great to have you here! So you’re a writer? What made you decide to start creating characters and story world?

Thank you! I’m so glad to be here! Thinking back on how I got started as a writer, I can’t recall a time that I wasn’t creating characters. It just seems like I was always telling stories. The habit is getting harder to kick as the years go on. ;)

What is the one title that has significantly impacted your life?

Ooh, that’s a hard one. It kind of sounds cliché, but I’ll say Little House in the Big Woods. It’s one of the first books I can remember hearing my dad read to me as a child and it not only made me country at heart, but it planted that seed in my heart for story. It’s one that I’ve loved sharing with my own children now.

If you could get a do-over when it came to learning this whole thing called writing, what would you go back and tell yourself?

I’d tell myself that the more you write and work and learn, the more you will wish you could go as you were meant to.
back and re-do, but to press on and in looking back, only look back with joy and thankfulness that with each story, in that point of your life, you wrote the book you were meant to exactly


5 preference questions:

Homemade or take-out? Homemade (but I almost wrote take-out)
Email or snailmail? Snailmail. My dad’s a mailman so I’m biased. And I LOVE sending and receiving cards.
Online shopping or Black Friday deals? ONLINE SHOPPING
Books or movies? Books! I’m a sucker for Dystopian YA and that is my great escape.
Note-taker or memorization? Note-taker all the way
               

Yes, I’m asking you to play favorites…which of your books is your favorite, published or unpublished? And if this is your debut novel, has your favorite been published yet? 

Oh what a question! Hmmm… I’d say that my favorite book is yet to be published. It’s one that I wrote this year and was such an intense experience. It was a storyline that I didn’t dare tackle, in a time of my writing career when I didn’t dare try and write another book….but them sometimes God has different plans. The story tumbled into my lap at church in the middle of the sermon and I quickly dug through my purse and found an old receipt to write the idea down on (sorry Pastor, Joe!).

It was a subject that I knew very little about and would require a lot of research. It was also a subject that pretty much terrified me. I have a dear friend who I confided in and asked her to talk me out of it. She ended up talking me farther into it and four weeks later, after an utter whirlwind of writing and simultaneous research, I had a 93,000 word book staring back at me. Despite the hectic pace, or perhaps because of the pace, it was the most worshipful writing I’ve ever done. It was a God-thing through and through, each step of the way. The story is so dear to my heart and I’m dreaming of the day it might be published.

Places for readers to learn more about you?

Readers can find me on Facebook or at my website. Also, I send out a newsletter 3 times a year and in the upcoming Christmas edition, I’ll be giving away some goodies to subscribers!

Oh, and I’m on Pinterest so if you’re a pinner, I’d love to clink teacups there!

Thank you for being with us today!


Thank you for having me, Casey!

Readers, enter to win Joanne's book here! (this is an ebook only contest)

Please leave an email address! If I draw your name and there is no email, you will not win.

For extra entries:
~Be a follower
~Be a subscriber

Contest is only open in the U.S. and void where prohibited. Chances of winning are based on the number of entries and winner is draw from a non-biased third party- Random.org. I am not responsible for any lost or damaged items for said prize.

Thanks for coming by to enter! Contest ends on December 26th
Attn Readers! If you're struggling to leave a comment on my blog, please email your comment entries (in ONE email) and I will submit it for you. But PLEASE only do this after you've failed to leave a comment. My email is: caseym.writer(@)gmail.com 

Friday, December 12, 2014

It Matters How You Live

I love country music.

Now, before my jazz-loving, corny-lyric-hater friends click off this post, allow me to continue. I want to tell you a story.

While I do love country music, I am very picky about what I listen to. And most of the time Pandora gets it spot on, but every once in a while, they sneak a song in that has me quickly flipping back to Chrome and hitting the “thumbs down” button.

But this time…I stopped. The tune was catchy (really any country tune is pretty catchy), the crooners’ voices the right mix of twang and spice. Yes, my ears perked up. Then my brows dropped. The lyrics were far from what I could call acceptable listening material and I was ready to flip to the next song, but the lyrics paused me again, for an entirely different reason.

I’ll give the quick and easy Casey paraphrase: “Prayin’ on Sunday and cussin’ on Monday…”

What?

So I listened again and sure enough those same lyrics repeated themselves. My heart cracked a fissure’s length and I wanted to wave my hands, stop the music and holler, “wait, that’s not right! Do you realize it matters how you live? It’s not just today. It’s not just tomorrow. It’s everyday living in Christ with your life as a blazing flame for Him.”

But no one was listening to me in that editing room.

My great-grandfather and grandmother
My great-grandfather was an old salt-of-the-earth farmer. A bear of a man, he towered over my great-grandmother, with hands like slabs, calloused out of hours working over the farm ground he loved.  He was the iconic overall-clad man of America.

He died years ago when I was tiny—I don’t remember the man at all. At his funeral my dad asked one of his cousins, “Did Grandpa know and trust Jesus as his Savior?”

Why such doubt about my grandfather's salvation? 

Because Grandpa had one statement to say about church people: he didn’t smoke. They did. He didn’t drink. They did. From their actions and for all intents and purposes, he lived a cleaner, holier life then they did. What made them any different than the rest of the world? He didn’t see one.

Ultimately, his choice for salvation, was just that his choice. He owns that choice.

But those “church people’s” lack of living for Christ greatly influenced my grandfather.

I’ve been called legalistic for my stance on how I believe my life should be lived: purified and holy in Christ. 

I’ve been told it’s ridiculous for me to expect Christians to walk in this same path of purity and holiness in Christ all the time.

What do I look back and tell them? How you live your life affects everyone around you.

My grandfather looked at a church and saw a white-washed tomb. What made them so different that he should change to follow their God? There wasn’t a difference. So he didn’t.

So you’ll forgive me if I’m on fire. You’ll forgive me when I look you directly in the eye, lower my shoulders and speak it like it is: it matters how you live.

Let the world, made up of the individuals you run into every day, see you and see something beautifully different.

Pure.

Holy.

(My grandfather's story doesn't fully end here. Next week, I want to share a sliver of someone's life who did show Grandpa Christ and how it changed the thread work of my family story.)  

Monday, December 8, 2014

Giveaway! The Princess Spy by Melanie Dickerson!

Welcome to Writing for Christ Melanie Dickerson, it is great to have you here! So you’re a writer? What made you decide to start creating characters and story world?

Hi, Casey! I actually started writing again—I say ‘again’ because I wrote two novels and lots of short stories and poetry in high school and then quit when I started college—because I was looking for a job where I could stay home with my kids. As soon as I started writing again, I was hooked. I knew it was what I was meant to do.


What is the one title that has significantly impacted your life?

I think Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers really made me see certain situations in a more grace- and mercy-filled light. It is a powerful story of love.


If you could get a do-over when it came to learning this whole thing called writing, what would you go back and tell yourself?


I would tell myself not to quit writing after high school. I wasted 15 years! Just kidding, sort of, but I wish I had continued writing in my spare time and had continued learning about writing and publishing.

5 preference questions:

Homemade or take-out?  Homemade. I love to cook (when I have time)
Email or snailmail?  Email
Online shopping or Black Friday deals?  Online shopping!
Books or movies?  Both!
Note-taker or memorization?  Neither? :-)
               

Yes, I’m asking you to play favorites…which of your books is your favorite, published or unpublished? And if this is your debut novel, has your favorite been published yet?

I think it might be The Merchant’s Daughter. I put a lot of emotion into writing that book!


Places for readers to learn more about you?

Facebook. I’m always on facebook! I have a personal page and an author page, and I love interacting with people on both.

Thank you for being with us today!


Thanks, Casey! It’s my pleasure.

Readers, enter to win Melanie's here!

Please leave an email address! If I draw your name and there is no email, you will not win.

For extra entries:
~Be a follower
~Be a subscriber

Contest is only open in the U.S. and void where prohibited. Chances of winning are based on the number of entries and winner is draw from a non-biased third party- Random.org. I am not responsible for any lost or damaged items for said prize.

Thanks for coming by to enter! Contest ends on December 19th
Attn Readers! If you're struggling to leave a comment on my blog, please email your comment entries (in ONE email) and I will submit it for you. But PLEASE only do this after you've failed to leave a comment. My email is: caseym.writer(@)gmail.com 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Your DREAM (a One-Word Post), Your Purpose is God-Ordained

For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is of God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God. Acts 5:38-39 (emphasis mine)

How often to do you stand in the face of a situation or circumstance and gulp back the fear crowding out your vocal chords and constricting your chest in a vice grip? How often do you stare down the length of a dream that seems so very far away and want to turn around and slink back the way you came?

So often it seems like the easier way out.

But we forget that little promise at the top of this post. For if their purpose….their activity is of God nothing can stop you.

Let me repeat that for the power behind this simple word: NOTHING. Nothing can stop you. Not man, though he may try. Not the devil, though he will definitely do everything within his power to divert your attentions, your energies—emotional, physical and spiritual.

Not the uphill climb that at times you think might kill you. Not the war zone we often feel trapped in. 
Nothing, nothing, nothing can stop you.

The thing with living this life? It’s not going to be easy. You’re going to be put into situations that aren’t going to be pleasant. They are going to stretch and grow you in ways that will often be uncomfortable—even downright painful!

But God’s plans for you will not fail.

Who can come against God?

There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord. Proverbs 21:30 (emphasis mine)

Do you walk in confidence in that promise? Do you walk in faith and surety that any plan man has against you is like fighting against God?

And we all know who wins against the King of Kings.

When we stop bowing to the world’s pressures, when we stop cowering in fear at the feet of those who want to see us defeated and we rise into the confidence God is calling out in us, through His almighty strength we start to live a different life. We start to live a life that acts out the promises He put in His word.

You have a dream. A passion. A drive. You have a purpose. It’s as unique as who you are. Doesn’t matter if you’ve been to college or have the highest degree you can attain. Doesn’t matter if you wipe children’s noses all day or manage the most corporate of accounts. You have a heavenly purpose God is going to use if you open your heart and life to His guidance and direction.

The question is: are you going to walk forward believing, trusting, confident that God’s plans for you will succeed and nothing man has to say against you will ever gain a foothold?

Man’s arrows only find purchase when you turn your gaze off God and back to your problems.


Pursue those dreams. Fight that battle. March forward in confidence. Believing that nothing man does can defeat our God’s plans created for you.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Giveaway! That's Amore by Janice Thompson!

Welcome to Writing for Christ Janice Thompson, it is great to have you here! So you’re a writer? What made you decide to start creating characters and story world?

I’m a playwright at heart, so I’ve always been fascinated with characters. I can almost envision them coming to life on the stage or the big screen. I started developing characters as a child, fiddling with story ideas and eventually stage plays. By the time I reached adulthood, I was hooked! At first I wrote to fill a need (plays for the theater company I worked with). After that, my love of books took precedence and my first few novels were born. My first book (Duty to Die) was published in 2000 and several romances followed. In 2005 my career took off when I discovered first-person, light-hearted writing. I haven’t looked back!

What is the one title that has significantly impacted your life?

Narrowing it to one is tough! I guess if I can only go with one, it would have to be Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I’ve always been a huge fan of her lead character, Jo March, in part because of Jo’s fascination with the written word. Like me, Jo loved play-acting and character-creating. She also dared to dream that she could pull off a “man’s career” (writing). Her ink-stained hands proved her right! I aspire to be more like Jo.

If you could get a do-over when it came to learning this whole thing called writing, what
would you go back and tell yourself?

If I could really re-do one thing, it would involve re-thinking my “brand” (what I’m known for). Back in the earlier days (prior to 2005) I fought the idea of being branded because I thought it would limit my writing. Once I finally settled on my tagline (“Love, Laughter, and Happily Ever Afters”) I truly found myself. I wish I’d settled on my light-hearted “brand” earlier on because it helps define me and also gives me direction for future books.

5 preference questions:

Homemade or take-out? Homemade
Email or snailmail? Email
Online shopping or Black Friday deals? Both! (I spent a small fortune in stores and another small fortune online! This is what happens when you have eight grandchildren.)
Books or movies? I have to choose? I love movies so much. Like plays/theatricals the story springs to life in front of me!
Note-taker or memorization? Note taker. I’m A.D.D. to the max!
               

Yes, I’m asking you to play favorites…which of your books is your favorite, published or unpublished? And if this is your debut novel, has your favorite been published yet?

Fools Rush In, my first “Weddings by Bella” book is definitely my favorite. The idea came from a wedding I was in, one with a real-life Texas bride and a groom from a large Italian family. Merging those worlds seemed like so much fun, so I took the idea and ran with it, creating Bella Rossi’s all-things-Italian family with D.J. Neeley’s down-home-southern-boy-with-cowboy-boots persona. What a blast!

Places for readers to learn more about you?

Facebook: Janice Hanna Thompson
Twitter: booksbyjanice

Thank you for being with us today!


You are so welcome! Thanks for having me!

Readers, enter to win Janice's here!

Please leave an email address! If I draw your name and there is no email, you will not win.

For extra entries:
~Be a follower
~Be a subscriber

Contest is only open in the U.S. and void where prohibited. Chances of winning are based on the number of entries and winner is draw from a non-biased third party- Random.org. I am not responsible for any lost or damaged items for said prize.

Thanks for coming by to enter! Contest ends on December 12th
Attn Readers! If you're struggling to leave a comment on my blog, please email your comment entries (in ONE email) and I will submit it for you. But PLEASE only do this after you've failed to leave a comment. My email is: caseym.writer(@)gmail.com 

Friday, November 28, 2014

When Thank You Just Isn't Good Enough

It was a night painted in blackened canvas across the sky, pinpricks of light poking holes and blinking greetings in the shape of the little dipper and others I wouldn’t be able to point out.

God’s creation. Unfathomable.

And yet He loves us. Created us to love him with a passion and a drive that is almost startling. That we could and would fall in love with Someone we have never seen.

And yet I only continue to fall in love.

There was a group of us young people gathered around a blazing campfire. Often standing too close, stretching out cold fingers and puffing the smoke of our breath into the air. Laugher ran rampant like a wild thing. The comforting promise of home cooked food in cast iron over hot coals tempted growling stomachs.

I stood on the edges, smiling, the fellowship filling a hungry void in my soul that had long gone unfilled. And all that ran through my head was: I’m so blessed. I’m. So. Blessed.

Blessed by these people.

Blessed by their love for God.

Blessed by their desire to honor Him.

Blessed by the sheer fact that they have accepted me into their group. Given me their unfettered friendship.

Musical instruments appeared from their hiding place behind the fatness of tree stumps hauled over for makeshift chairs. We settled in closer, shoulder to shoulder as the guitars, mandolin and banjos were picked and tuned.

Slowly, gradually, gently, the words of long-favored hymns filled the air between the tendrils of smoke and the warmth of the still-blazing fire. And the voices of a dozen people, in love with God, rose in unison.

Awana favorites. Modern praise and worship songs. The old hymns often forgotten in today’s typical services. These were our campfire songs of choice.

Emotion clogged my throat, bubbling in my chest and an overflow of gratitude welled in my heart that I can’t, still, put into words. Gratitude for the hearts of the people around the fire, the sound of our voices and the knowing that even as we poured out praise to our Creator, I, at least, was being filled up immeasurably.


We take these kind of things for granted. Maybe you are part of a church family already—have been for years.  We tend to forget the impact this has on those looking in and those on the inside. We get caught up in emotions and politics. What one person has said or done that we didn’t care for.

Those things don’t matter.

From someone who never, truly, had this promise of fellowship before, every petty, unimportant thing falls completely by the wayside and only Jesus in the center of the relationship still stands.
I love this group. I thank God that I have found and been found by them.

It’s the day after Thanksgiving. My heart is reflectful. My mind (and not just my stomach) is full.

We have so much to be grateful for. I have so much to be grateful for. This is the season for these two little words that to me, always seem so shallow to truly touch on how deep my gratitude lies.

But they will have to do.


So…Thank you. 

It's just going to have to be good enough. 

FTC Rules

According to new FTC rules I must let you, the reader know, that all views shared on this blog are strictly my own. Books to review are either provided for me by the author, publisher or ones I have purchased and I am under no obligation whatsoever to present anything, but my true opinion on any product. I receive no monetary compensation for anything written on this blog. Any giveaways on this blog are provided by the author/ publisher and I am not responsible for any views they express in their work or on this site. Giveaways are void were prohibited and chances of winnng are based on the number of applicants. A random winner is draw when a book is given away.

 
Blog Design by Imagination Designs all images from the Country Wildflowers kit by Laurie Ann