Posts by Julie:
I’m thankful for the twenty-five years we spent with our son, before he died by suicide. It took me a long, long time to really mean this above the pain and sorrow, and now I do! Happy birthday today to Joshua. He would have been thirty-nine.
Bio: Jean Ann Williams is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She writes regularly for Putting on the New blog and Book Fun Magazine on the topic of child suicide loss. Her book “God’s Mercies after Suicide: Blessings Woven through a Mother’s Heart” started out as a blogged book on her Love Truth site. Jean Ann and her husband of forty-seven years have thirteen grandchildren from their two remaining children. They reside on one acre in Southern Oregon where they raise a garden, fruit orchard, goats, and chickens. Jean Ann’s favorite hobbies are practicing archery, hiking through the woods, and big game hunting with her bow.
A Child’s Life of Christ: PROMISE KEEPER
Storybook #6 in Series THEY MET JESUS
In order for the children to have the same books and chapters as their parents reading the adult version, I wrote both versions with the same chapters. In this book, Jesus is arrested and treated badly. I have toned it way down for the children, but the reader should still decide whether to perhaps skip a chapter or two.
In storybook 6, your children meet….
*Zaccheus where they learn to make friends with someone no one likes.
*Mary of Bethany where they learn just giving a cup of water to someone is like giving it to Jesus.
*Earth Kingdom People where they learn it is nice to have a special celebration for Jesus, but better to celebrate him every day.
*Foreign Grecians where they learn not to use Jesus’ name as a swear word.
*Jesus Like a Lamb where they learn that a sacrifice is giving up something valuable for someone else.
*Judas where they learn to go to church, not for the prizes, but because they love Jesus.
*The Angel where they learn about taking someone else’s punishment for them.
*Deserters where they learn to never run away from Jesus just because our friends make fun of us.
*Annus & Caiaphas where they learn Jesus understands what it is like to be yelled at and beat up.
*Prince Herod where the learn Jesus let people be mean to him and make him hurt so we could go to heaven some day.
Here is a sample of one of the chapters:
EARTH KINGDOM PEOPLE
More and more the people wanted Jesus to be an earthly king and to rule in Jerusalem from the palace and Temple.
Since Jesus could perform miracles, he could just wink and all the Roman soldiers and bad rulers would disappear forever ~ or so they thought.
Plus Jesus knew how to make bread and fish get big enough to feed thousands, So, no one would be hungry again. And he could heal people, which means no one would be sick again. It would be a perfect kingdom.
They could prove Jesus was God’s choice as king because he was a son many times removed of King David, and he had been born in Bethlehem. The Bible said he should be king.
But they wanted Jesus for all the wrong reasons. They wanted Jesus for selfish reasons. They wanted to use Jesus.
Jesus decided to go into Jerusalem and let them call him their king, but he would do it in a strange way.
In the days of King David and other kings of the Jews long ago, their kings rode on donkeys or mules. They did better in hot climate than horses did. Everyone understood that. But Jesus did it differently. He got a baby donkey to ride on to enter Jerusalem.
Katheryn Haddad was born in the cold north, but now lives in Arizona where she does not have to shovel sunshine. She enjoys hot weather, palm trees and cacti in her yard, and a computer with the letters worn off.
With a bachelor’s degree in English, Bible and social science from Harding University and part of a master’s degree in Bible, including Greek, from the Harding Graduate School of Theology, she also has a master’s degree in management and human relations from Abilene University.
Her newspaper column appeared for several years in newspapers in Texas and North Carolina ~ Little Known Facts About the Bible ~ and she has written for numerous Christian publications.
Currently she teaches English over the internet every morning, using the Bible as a text book. Most of her students are Muslims. She has taught some 6000 thus far, and has former students, now Christians, in hiding in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Jordan, Uzbekistan, and Palestine. “They are my heroes” she declares.
She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Christian Writers of the West, and is also an energetic public speaker who can touch the heart of audiences.
Purchase PROMISE KEEPER HERE
One of the activities I have going on this season is I’m hosting a book discussion with a group of ladies. The book is NO MORE FAKING FINE by Esther Fleece. When I first started reading, I thought just that—it would be a great resource to share with others. I’ve benefited from a healing I can only credit God with where I used to be so worried what others thought that I lost sleep. I was wracked with worry and pretended I was just fine. I have felt for a number of years that the person that God sees is who the world sees. I’m authentic.
I still believe I am transparent, and I didn’t intentionally fake my feelings, but this book is kicking my tail HARD. An early chapter talked about the coping mechanisms we use. I had to face the truth. I used many of them, and had been for some time. Stuffing my feelings. Laughing it off. Gossiping about it. Even making a vow to God to protect my heart from ever getting hurt at that depth again.
As I kept reading, I realized the theme of the book, learning to use the power of a lamenting prayer (a raw, unfiltered prayer) was something I had done before, without knowing I was giving Him my lament. Thing is, I knew that was quite a while ago and that there were several areas where I had not given my true, raw, not-very-pretty feelings and thoughts to the Lord.
At first I thought, hey, this will be easy. I’ll journal that. It’s not a bad idea, but as I read further, I knew for me, God needed the power of my voice. Not that I have any authority, but by speaking my pain out loud, not only am I truly handing it over for Jesus to deal with, it strips the true defeated one of any power he thinks he has, and any access I gave him by isolating myself and pretending all is well when it hasn’t been.
This week I have been intentional with my laments. It is a raw vent to God about how I really feel. It is not full of Christian-ese or thous or thee or anything you think you might hear from me. To your ears, perhaps my laments sound like tantrums. There are things, especially in the last 14 years, I don’t get.
And when I spewed it all out, I realized I was angry.
- Angry because there has been so much carnage in the fields of grief, and change.
- Angry because the vision God gave me not only didn’t come to pass in some ways, it is a fraction of what it was to begin with.
- Angry because being obedient has left me lonely, used, betrayed, and I realized in my lament, I’ve isolated myself further and have become skeptical in light of these things.
- Angry because the people I’ve prayed for, so very, very few are walking in the ways He showed me the potential they had.
- Angry for the losses we have had in loved ones, relationships, and finances when we did everything right.
- Angry that I’m tired and often depleted, still fighting for things I thought would be victorious by now, and not fighting for things I probably should be.
But I’m thankful.
Because in finally speaking these things out to the Lord, I KNOW the healing from inside out can begin. I will not be walking in ignorance or disobedience. Will it be hard? Yes. I’ve been down this road before. Will it be worth it?
I don’t regret being obedient or the paths He has put us on. But I did have to surrender my anger because so much is different than I thought, and there have been a lot of tears over the years. But so many good things, too. Crazy favor that again, only God could get credit for. The honor to pray for situations and people. Opportunities through writing and speaking to show His goodness. Yes, His goodness, even when I was pushing down private and escalating pain and anger.
I’m not done with the book, and I know the healing process isn’t mastered. But I am thankful I can place my laments in the hands of the Master, the One who created me and knows me best.
If you can relate to anything I’m sharing, I highly recommend No More Faking Fine. If you want to work through it with me as a private, confidential book study online, I am in the middle of one now, but you can contact me and we can start one in 2018.
Have a blessed Thanksgiving.
Thankful for Home and Family by Laura V. Hilton
I signed up to write a Thanksgiving post, and then life hit. This went wrong, then that went wrong and I’m still reeling from the blows when I get an email notice—oh, I need to write a blog post. And it’s due yesterday. Guess I’d better do it.
So I’m sitting here in my living room looking around. My youngest daughter is looking up something on the desktop computer, my middle daughter is sitting on the loveseat a few feet away from me reading a book, the dog hanging out with the youngest girl. A homemade pepperoni pizza is in the oven.
My husband is downstairs in his “study” working on the sermon for one of the messages tomorrow. My youngest son has just had facetime with me. Encouraging me, discussing Christmas plans with me, and discussing his plans for Thanksgiving since we’ll be apart.
I haven’t talked to my oldest daughter today, but she plans to come home for Thanksgiving and I can’t wait to hug her. My oldest son plans to be home too, but his future is iffy. I don’t know on a daily basis where he is or what he’s doing.
My computer is open to my manuscript, due to the publisher in a little over a month, and I wonder, what am I thankful for? So much. What do I capitalize on?
The big thing is home and family. Most of my children will be home for one holiday or the other. And they have a home to come to. A wood stove for heat, chairs to sit and catch up on, a table and food.
We are blessed.
May your family and loved ones be with you (at least in spirit) this Thankgiving, and may you have plenty to give thanks to God for.
As Thanksgiving approaches, Becca Troyer finds herself overwhelmed with an abundance of winter squash and pumpkins that she isn’t a bit thankful for. Desperately trying to sell them at a farmer’s market so she won’t have mountains to can, she’s surprised when a mime drops to his knee in front of her and proposes marriage.
Yost Miller is helping the volunteer firefighter raise funds at the city park when he notices his long-time crush Becca selling vegetables. Drawn across the grass, he spontaneously proposes marriage. But afterward, Yost isn’t sure how to proceed to show her that his feelings are real.
Just as he begins to find solid footing, confidence is yanked away, leaving him floundering. Will he lose Becca to another man? Or will this Thanksgiving be a season of blessings and wishes come true?
Faithe Beiler believes God wants her to feed the poor at her family’s restaurant, but when she mistakes Crist Petersheim for a homeless man and gives him a free breakfast, he’s offended. Yet he can’t help being intrigued by this pretty waitress with a giving heart.
Crist blames God for the tragedies in his life, so the last thing he wants is to get involved with an Amish girl, who trusts God in all circumstances. He fears for Faithe’s safety, though, when she invites every homeless person in the neighborhood, including drug dealers and criminals, to a free Thanksgiving dinner. Street savvy, Crist risks his life to protect her from danger.
As Crist’s heart softens toward God, Faithe finds herself falling him. Then she discovers his deception, and her world is shattered. Can she ever trust him again?
The Thanksgiving Frolic
Monroe has the prettiest girl and the fastest horse— but pride goes before a fall.
Monroe’s girlfriend, Rosemary, and her family organize the Thanksgiving Frolic, a service project to help Amish folks who have fallen on hard times. Monroe wants to go along but his dad won’t let him. Furthermore, Monroe’s dad thinks Rosemary’s family should clean up their own messy farm before they try to help others. Will the contrast between Monroe’s and Rosemary’s families end their relationship for good? Rosemary’s grandpa tries to offer words of wisdom, but people don’t take him seriously. The Thanksgiving Frolic heats up to a fever pitch, before a moment of silence changes everything.
Laura V. Hilton is an award-winning, sought-after author with almost twenty Amish, contemporary, and historical romances. When she’s not writing, she reviews books for her blogs, and writes devotionals for blog posts for Seriously Write and Putting on the New.
Laura and her pastor-husband have five children and a hyper dog named Skye. They currently live in Arkansas. One son is in the U.S. Coast Guard. She is a pastor’s wife, and homeschools her two youngest children.
When she’s not writing, Laura enjoys reading, and visiting lighthouses and waterfalls. Her favorite season is winter, her favorite holiday is Christmas.
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THE STAR MOVIE REVIEW: A FILM FOR EVERY MEMBER OF THE FAMILY
Julie’s note: This review from Deanna Evans can be found here.
I was asked recently if I’d like to review THE STAR movie, based off of the very first Christmas, from the animal’s perspective surrounding Christ’s birth. This was something I had never done before but was excited about doing.
Wow and Wow! This film has it all from start to finish you will be mesmerized by its characters, colors and the story surrounding the Nativity. When I finished screening the movie, I was loving it! The story of Bo the Donkey along with Mary and Joseph flooded my heart with all kinds of emotion. I watched the film three times with the same reaction after each viewing! Bring in the amazing music and singing of Mariah Carey’s title track song for The Star, you have a new playlist and movie for Christmas!
In Sony Pictures Animation’s The Star, a small but brave donkey named Bo yearns for a life beyond his daily grind at the village mill. One day he finds the courage to break free, and finally goes on the adventure of his dreams. On his journey, he teams up with Ruth, a lovable sheep who has lost her flock and Dave, a dove with lofty aspirations.
Along with three wisecracking camels and some eccentric stable animals, Bo and his new friends follow the Star and become unlikely heroes in the greatest story ever told – the first Christmas.
CAST OF CHARACTERS
The voices of the beloved characters are like no other. Steven Yeun, Gina Rodriquez, Zachary Levi, Keegan-Michael Key, Kelly Clarkson, Anthony Anderson, Aidy Bryant, Ving Rhames, Gabriel Iglesias, Patricia Heaton, Kristin Chenoweth, Christopher Plummer, Tracy Morgan, Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey.
If you’re like me try and figure out who is who in the film. Some may be easy to figure out but others you may have to think about or look up.
One of the goals of director Timothy Reckart was to make these animated characters feel life-like, so that we, the audience, would be drawn into the story and be able to relate to the way they thought and acted. During the interview with director Reckart, he stressed this importance when he said, “the goal was to create characters that were based on clues we have in the Bible that also gives each character an opportunity to have an arc.” I was thankful the director took this approach and was cognitive of the actual biblical story. Animated films need to take some creative liberties when retelling a biblical story, which often includes adding humorous (and fictitious) elements. But I felt director Reckart stayed within the bounds of reasonable storytelling. There are many examples throughout the movie but one example is when the donkey named Bo interacts with a sheep by the name of Ruth. These characters take our minds back to the Old Testament narrative of the story and book of the Bible Ruth.
A MOVIE FOR EVERY MEMBER OF THE FAMILY
The take away from this movie will leave you feeling ready to enjoy the Christmas season ahead. Reminding us of the true meaning of Christmas. This will be a welcomed addition to the Christmas Classics seen year after year. I know it will be in our home!
THE STAR OPENS IN THEATERS NOVEMBER 17, 2017
Check out some of the online interactive activities:
Interactive Animated Coloring Book
By DEANNA EVANS
Deanna Evans is a freelance writer for Flyby Promotions, a Blogging Network and contributing writer for Telling Ministries. She is a busy Pastor’s wife and mother to a young son, who keeps her days filled with adventure.
Image credit © 2017 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved