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2016, A Year of BIG Surprises, by Janetta Fudge Messmer

2016, A Year of BIG Surprises, by Janetta Fudge Messmer

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I Thessalonians 5:16-18

These verses are favorites of mine, and I’ve used them as my blog heading for years. They remind me of what the Lord expects of me each and every day. To rejoice. To pray. To give thanks.

2016 has been a year of all years. One for the record books for thankfulness, and one I’ll never forget. I’m almost sure I told the Lord “thank you” a million times. A slight exaggeration, but He blessed the socks right off my feet. Let me give you a few examples of his lovingkindness:

  • I’m a published author of three books (Early Birds, Southbound Birds, and Chords of Love). And it happened this year.
  • The Lord continues to bless me with a great husband. This year he also rocks as my CEO of Marketing and Daily Operations.
  • I turned 60 years old in January (not an easy age to reach when you still feel 16, and act like it most of the time)
  • I’m over-the-top thankful for our pooch, Maggie. She’s the one who gave me the great idea for my debut novel, Early Birds. (Piece of advice: Always listen to your pet when they ‘talk’ to you. Might surprise you what they have to say).

As you can see, I could go on for days about what I’m thankful for. But, I do have days that it takes every bit of my energy to see past the problem in my path. To even utter a coherent prayer. To proclaim victory in His name.

It is at those tough times that I pick up my Bible and reread (as many times as it takes to get it through my head) I Thessalonians 5: 16-18. These three verses are where I find the remedy to what ails me. They help me to realign with what the Lord is trying to teach me through His word.

What about you? Has life thrown you a few curve balls (illness/extra doctor bills, car not running right, job ended, relationship, etc.)  Take it from me, read the verses in I Thessalonians and follow His instructions: Rejoice always. Pray continually. Give thanks in all circumstances.

Trust me, if you do these three things, it’ll be a life changing experience. Won’t you give it a try? The Lord is waiting for you.

Janetta Fudge Messmer Bio:

head-shot_editedJanetta Fudge-Messmer is an inspirational author, editor and speaker. She’s received Honorable Mention for fiction and nonfiction articles from Byline Magazine. She also received Honorable Mention for a fiction article from Writer’s Digest Magazine. Her article, “A Working Relationship” was published in Guideposts Magazine. Guideposts Books published, “Shorthaired Miracle”. Along with writing, Janetta also speaks at seminars, helping others to “Tell Your Story”. Janetta, her husband Ray and precious pooch Maggie, became full-time RVers in 2013 and love traveling around the USA in their Minnie Winnie.

book-cover-image_editedBook #2 in the Early Bird series finds Rose and Larry Wilford hitting the highway on their next RV adventure. Ben and Betsy Stevenson are right behind them in their 5th wheel. The other two Early Birds, Jeff and Mary Miller, promise to hook up with them as soon as they finish some ‘business’ in Colorado.

On their way to Florida, they make a stop in Mississippi. Soon Rosie wonders if they’ll ever get On the Road Again. The RVs have stalled in Biloxi and it has nothing to do with mechanical issues in any of their rigs. They’ve found another church that needs their help.

Rose, Betsy and Mary spend their days as fashion consultants, dressing young women for success (or as Rosie says, “Playing dress up.”). Larry, Ben and Jeff, they’re up to their eyeballs in sheetrock and drywall mud, and any other handyman task they can find to do.

The one thing Rosie has decided, if and when they start traveling toward the Sunshine State, she’ll still occupy the passenger seat of their dually. No driving for her. Larry can pester her all he wants.

And the fact her bestest friend, Betsy, drove their albatross on I-10 and lived to tell about it, won’t change her mind either. The only way Rose will get behind the wheel is if the Lord, Himself, figures out a way to put her there. ‘Cause at the moment, F.E.A.R. is her middle name.

Instead of legally changing her name or letting trepidation win, Rosie does what she does best. She PRAYS. Larry, on the other hand, is having troubles too. His prayer is that their 5th wheel survives his driving and he’s not sure it will. One more mishap and he’s handing the keys to his wife.

The Early Birds continue to have as many surprises as the state of Florida has palm trees. So why don’t you come along, if you dare. Rose, Larry, Ben, Betsy, Jeff and Mary (and some new friends) would love to have you join them on their travels across the U.S.A.

 Connect with Janetta at:

Early Birds, Southbound Birds, and My Secret Love, are Available on Amazon: https://goo.gl/SX7mfP

E-mail: janettafudgemessmer@gmail.com
Website: http://janettafudgemessmer.com/
Blog: http://www.nettie-fudges-world.blogspot.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/janetta.fudge.messmer
Twitter: https://twitter.com/nettiefudge

 

 

 

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Thankful for Perspective

I'm thankful for perspective.

I’m thankful for perspective.

I don’t know how to explain it, but I had a feeling in the pit of my stomach 2016 was going to be a long haul.

Some things I knew were happening—a wedding in the same time frame as a graduation. A child’s genetic testing. Another child transitioning from high school to college.

But, as the year unfolded, there were plenty of surprises.

  • I felt a stirring I attribute to God that I was to my own ministry/business as an author and speaker. By February, I was moving forward with Surrendered Scribe Media. By March, ENTRUSTED was re released and ENTANGLED was released.

 

  • My husband changed his job. I had a feeling this was coming, but what I didn’t anticipate was his working from home much of the time.

 

  • My father-in-law passed away in July. The kindest man, talk about a huge void.

 

  • Grief from loved one’s choices I couldn’t control (and still can’t!)

 

  • A complete flip in health that was hormone/menopause related. It hit me HARD.

 

It was rough, and I honestly wanted to define the year that way. However, the word for my year is perspective, and I’ve really tried to apply that. I see why it is the word for me, because I learned a lot.

 

The absolute fear and anger I had over my husband being home on “my” schedule also offered a lunch partner at times, and help when I wasn’t able to get our child from school.

 

Watching God grow our loved ones closer through as they listened to us share with transparency regarding choices. Had I stayed grief-stricken, I don’t think God could have used us. Seeing it in time as an opportunity instead of devastation changed everything.

 

I’m sure there is more I’m not seeing yet, but perspective definitely helps me move forward and not dwell on the negative. As we wind the year down, we also had a very thankful Thanksgiving. Not only are we surviving all these things, but we learned Tom’s oldest daughter is expecting. It’s the first grandchild for us, and we are thrilled for her and her husband.

What are you thankful for this year? Do you think of perspective at all? How?

 

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Thank God for Memory by Patti Shene

THANK GOD FOR MEMORY

Two deaths in the space of four months—first my mom in February, then my husband in June—labels 2016 a tough year in my history book.

Death of a loved one is never easy, but to experience two losses in such a short period of time is like having the ambulance transporting you after a car wreck you just survived T-boned on the way to the hospital.

You’ve barely had time to catch your breath from the first gaping wound when another is inflicted.

Grief is nebulous, yet poignant; crippling, yet cleansing; personal, yet universal.

The last word that comes to mind when hearing the word “grief” is “thankfulness.”

Yet, would grief exist if joy, happiness, and love had not precluded it?

When I struggle to put grief in perspective with the goodness of God, I am drawn to the book of Job. We all know of the misery he suffered, the unspeakable sorrow he bore, the devastating despair that enveloped him. Yet, how did he respond?

His wife said to him, “You are still as faithful as ever, aren’t you? Why don’t you curse God and die?”

10 Job answered, “You are talking nonsense! When God sends us something good, we welcome it. How can we complain when he sends us trouble?” Even in all this suffering Job said nothing against God – Job 2:9-10

dorothy-k-shene_editedIt was harder to accept my mom’s death than I thought it would be. I was so sure I was “ready” when Mom passed. Although mentally keen as a knife drawn across a sharpening stone, physical maladies, pain, and exhaustion warned us her days on earth were nearing their end. To be honest, my sister and I prayed for her relief from suffering.

Since her death, too many moments have come and gone that I wish I could share with her. The fact that I can’t produces a dull ache, kind of like the nag of an arthritic joint on a cold, cloudy day.

Although we had been forewarned of the gravity of his condition, my husband’s passing was much more difficult to bear. Reports from the surgical suite were optimistic, so much so that I went to the hospital chapel and thanked God for his mercy in bringing Manuel successfully through yet another surgery. It was upon my return to the waiting room that I was informed he had suffered cardiac arrest and was unable to be revived, despite heroic efforts by the surgical team.

Kind of reminds me of Job in a remote way. I’m sure that iconic Biblical character asked more than once how life could be so good one moment and so bleak the next.

The loss of my husband has inflicted a more acute, more frequent pain that throbs like a knife slash to the gut. His death has forced me to examine myself as a widow, a self-sufficient woman, and a child of God.manuel-pat_edited

The drug that renders my pain bearable through both of these losses is memory. Sure, photographs, videos, greeting cards, and conversations with others whose lives they also touched trigger vivid recall of the part these loved ones played on my life stage.

Yet, it is the intimate moments of laughter and tears, triumphs and failures, dreams realized and hopes dashed, shared within those relationships that bind me to Mom and Manuel across the span of time. Without that treasure trove of deep seated memories that allows me to drink my fill, the pain would be so raw that it would surely crush my spirit under its weight.

There is much in my current circumstance that I have to be thankful for, but the one gift from God that stands out most prominently for me during this stretch of my life journey is memory.

My sentiments about this blessing are reflected in the following poem, recited by me at my mom’s funeral service and printed on my husband’s memorial card.

God gave us memory,

A dear and precious gift,

That on our darkest day

We could receive a lift.

 

He knew we’d suffer pain

Along life’s rocky fall,

And so He gave our brain

The power to recall

 

Our loved one’s tender smile

Or kind, devoted touch,

The guidance thru each trial

That fueled our love so much.

 

Though gone from here below

And where we cannot see,

Love leaves our heart aglow

Thanks to our memory.

 

So when your day is long

And sadness in you burns,

Your loneliness is strong

And there seems nowhere to turn

 

Take a moment from the day

To get down on your knees,

Bow your head to pray

“Thank you, Lord, for memories.”

Patti Shene

Can you find thankfulness in any grief you may have experienced this year?

Patti Shene is thankful for memories.

Patti Shene is thankful for memories.

BIO: Patti has had short work published in two anthologies and local publications. She has three novels in progress. She has conducted workshops at Christian Writers conferences and served as an editor with a small publishing company. Patti loves to promote writers, both published and unpublished, on her two blogs, Patti’s Porch and The Over 50 Writer. She shares stories through personal interviews of those who have found their way from a dark place back to light or those who help others back to light on her weekly Blog Talk Radio show, Step Into the Light.

Patti lives in Southeastern Colorado and is fortunate to reside in the same town as her daughter and fifteen year old granddaughter, her only grandchild. Still, her heart brims with memories of the Adirondack North Country of New York, where she spent many childhood vacations and still returns periodically to visit family.

Website-www.pattishene.com

Twitter – https://twitter.com/PattiShene

Facebook – http://ow.ly/QN1u306koqf

Facebook (Step Into the Light page) –  http://ow.ly/CRNS306koSJ

Blog talk radio show http://www.blogtalkradio.com/stepintothelight

 

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My Thankful List by Jean Ann Williams

 

My Thankful List by Jean Ann Williams

I’m thankful for my Lord and Savior Who drew me from the pit of suicide loss and remolded me to need Him for everything.

I love my husband of forty-six years, and who I’ve known since I was eleven when he took me on motorcycle rides with me sitting on the tank of the bike. And, yes, after we married, we rode together on his motorcycle for over thirty years.

I adore my thirteen grandchildren of age’s twenty-two to three, and my three children, of which two are still here on Earth.

The friends who did not leave after my son, Joshua’s, death by suicide, I’m so very grateful to them. And to the acquaintances who drew closer because of my loss.

Does being thankful for God’s beauty on Earth count? Yes, I love the mountains surrounding our tiny valley. The fox sparrows when they sing. They seem to sing at the perfect moments when I’m struggling with difficult people and or with my own sins. Fox sparrows in our part of the country are rare, and I don’t take them for granted.

My health is something I’m thankful for, since I’ve been ill for over five years. Two years ago, I even prayed for the Lord to take away some of my old injuries pain. He did. Right away. And I’m grateful. I had struggled with intense pain in both shoulders and my neck from a long ago car accident. After I began praying for God to heal me from some of my pain, I fell one evening outside with palms down and my neck jolted forward and backward. Even though I was extra sore the following morning, by the evening my neck and shoulder pain disappeared and has never returned as a constant pain.

God’s free adjustment and it cost me to only trust Him and to understand it had to come as His perfect will.

I’m thankful my two remaining children are in good health and they are still here and not gone to the Great Beyond like their brother. But, God taught me to not place anyone, including my children, above Him. This is a gift of extreme relief and abiding in Him.

My thankful list would not be complete without my acknowledgement of God’s Word. I’m grateful for the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross for my sins, and I look forward to Heaven with Him.

 

bookfunmagazinephoto_edited

Jean Ann Williams

Bio: Jean Ann Williams is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, and Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She writes regularly on Putting on the New blog and her own Love Truth blog. Jean Ann and her husband of forty-six years have thirteen grandchildren from their other two children. They live on one acre in Southern Oregon where they raise a garden, fruit orchard, goats, and chickens. Her favorite hobbies are practicing archery, hiking through the woods, and big game hunting with her bow.

See the Trailer: https://youtu.be/yvNDlNHEyok

God’s Mercies After Suicide:

What if your child shot himself while you were in the next room? What if you held him as his heart beat for the last time? What if Satan whispered in your ear, “Now where is your God?” Find out how Jean Ann Williams reached out with her spirit and mind to the one true Father. Discover how the Lord God answered her, and walked alongside her in the most difficult grieving journey of her life.

My Thankful List by Jean Ann Williams

My Thankful List by Jean Ann Williams

Purchase links for God’s Mercies After Suicide

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Gods-Mercies-after-Suicide-Blessings/dp/0997701609/

CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/6569595

Jean’s Blog: http://Joshua-mom.blogspot.com/

Author Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Jean-Ann-Williams-848295125269670/?ref=hl

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Thankful for What God’s Taught Me in 2016 by Darlene Franklin (GIVEAWAY)

Julie’s Note:

Darlene has graciously offered to give away one physical copy of her book below. Please leave a comment on what you’ve learned this year and I’ll draw one winner on November 28.

***

I’ll make a list of God’s gracious dealings, all the things God has done that need praising, all the generous bounties of God, his great goodness to the family of Israel—Compassion lavished, love extravagant. (Isaiah 63:7, MSG)

 

Oh, my, the list is endless, as infinite as God Himself. But I’ll limit my list to a couple of things God has taught me over the last twelve months. They seem to state opposite things:

God wants me to want Him. “I’m after love that lasts, not more religion. I want you to know God, not go to more prayer meetings.” (Hosea 6:6, MSG)

Two things came together. I’ve spent a lifetime wanting to spend more time in prayer. Also, living in a nursing home gave me a glimpse into my potential future. If I get Alzheimer’s or dementia, what will spew from my mouth? I decided to cram my brain as full as possible of Bible verses as possible.

A little more than a year later, I’ve memorized almost 400 verses. (Try https://scripturetyper.com/). The regular review recommended on the website takes me an hour a day and most of Sunday—and I wish I could do more.

As I’ve spent more time memorizing God’s word (and hearing Him speak to me), I’ve spent more time talking to Him. My barely ten-fifteen minutes a day, maybe fill up a page of a prayer journal has grown to an hour a day, sometimes as many as five pages—often filled with prayers inspired by the verses I’ve memorized. I wish I could spend more time in prayer.

Do I sound like I’m bragging? It’s more like, I wish I had discovered this years ago! But years ago, I didn’t have this kind of time, a reward for living in a nursing home.

Here are one some of those scripture prayers: See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:24 NIV) What a burden lifted to learn my anxious thoughts aren’t automatically offensive to You. You test them and weigh them, and then show me the better way. May I take your anti-anxiety pill by following the path You have made clear and straight before me, one step at a time.

Lesson #2: God is a Fire and He burns away impurities in my life. For God is not an indifferent bystander. He’s actively cleaning house, torching all that needs to burn, and he won’t quit until it’s all cleansed. God himself is Fire! (Hebrews 12:29, MSG) He refines us in the furnace of affliction. (Isaiah 48:10, MSG)

This is something I’d rather not be thankful for. I’ve been terrified of fire ever since I saw Bambi’s mother die in the forest fire. But from heaping burning coal on our enemies’ heads to the burning coal from the altar cleansing Isaiah’s sins and this passage from Hebrews, I’ve been running into the image of fire as an instrument of sanctification.

God only disciplines His children. So, burn, Darlene, burn—until I shine as pure gold, see through so that God’s glory shines within

My theme for this coming year: hope. I can’t wait to see what God has to teach me.

 

Bio:

dhf_edited

Author Darlene Franklin

Best-selling author Darlene Franklin’s greatest claim to fame is that she writes full-time from a nursing home. She lives in Oklahoma, near her son and his family. She is an active member of Oklahoma City Christian Fiction Writers, American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Christian Authors Network. She has written over forty books and more than 250 devotionals.

Website and blog

Facebook

Amazon author page

Twitter

Blurb of Blue Ribbon Brides, which has my story, A Taste for Honey:

blue-ribbon_editedMeet nine men and women whose competitive goals take them to state and county fairs between 1889 and 1930. From baking pie to polishing pigs, from sculpting butter to stitching quilts, everyone has something to prove to themselves and their communities. But in going for the blue ribbon, will nine women miss the greatest prize of all—the devoted heart of a godly man?

Purchase Link

 

Physical Giveaway copy is possible if you do that kind of thing.

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Win Spiritual Warfare with Giving Thanks by Ada Brownell

Win Spiritual Warfare with Giving Thanks

 By Ada Brownell

Gratitude changes my attitude.

Sometimes I forget when I pray, seeking God for specific needs, that I should be thankful first. The Apostle Paul instructed us “in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6).

He precedes that statement in verse 4 with “Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say, Rejoice.”

I am amazed sometimes at how many things I have to be thankful for. There is no way I can name them all, but at the top of the list is God’s mercy, love and caring. I’m so thankful Jesus came to give abundant life here and eternity.

Then I am thankful for my husband and family and that they have the Word of God planted in their hearts. We’re not a perfect bunch, but we are so blessed with children and grandchildren who love and serve Jesus.

I’m thankful for America and freedom.

I’m thankful for friends, those I know personally and those I’ve interacted with online. I pray for friends I see often who have needs, but also pray for others I seldom see and those I haven’t seen who check out my blog from the United States and about a dozen other countries.

In these perilous times when there are so many refugees around the world, I’m thankful for food, a home, and all our needs supplied. I pray for the suffering church.

I’m thankful most of all for a loving Heavenly Father who gave His only son so that I can have forgiveness of sins and live forever. I’m thankful for the Holy Spirit’s comfort, peace and joy.

Here are a few scriptures on gratitude:

“Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20).

“I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world” (Romans 1:8).

“Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Colossians 3:17).

“But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).

“Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be unto our God forever and ever” (Revelation 7:12).

Although Thanksgiving might not be a holiday in your nation, may God grant every one of you no matter where you live, a grateful heart. In his instructions in Philippians Paul said when we enter the gates to speak to God and are thankful, “The peace of God, which passes understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).

 
ADA BROWNELL BIO
ada-brownell_editedAda Brownell, a devoted Bible student, has written for Christian publications since age 15 and spent much of her life as a reporter for The Pueblo Chieftain in Colo. She also is a veteran youth Christian education teacher. After moving to Missouri in her retirement, she continues to write books, free lance for Sunday school papers, Christian magazines, write op-ed pieces for newspapers, and blogs with stick-to-your-soul encouragement. She is the author of four non-fiction books, three novels and more than 350 articles and stories published in Christian magazines. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Ozarks Chapter of American Christian Writers. She and her husband have five children, one in heaven, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Her books: Read sample chapters on Amazon. Her Amazon author page is https://www.amazon.com/author/adabrownell

Connect with Ada at:
Facebook
Twitter
Amazon Ada Brownell author page
Google
Goodreads
Blog

Free book days info   
rancher-cover-1_editedAda Brownell’s book, Peach Blossom Rancher, an Inspirational Historical Romance, will be free 11/20 to 11/24 on Amazon: A handsome young man inherits a ranch in ruin and hopes to bring it back to its former glory and also marry a beautiful young widow who is an attorney. But she takes up the case of a brilliant doctor committed to an asylum because of one seizure. Will the rancher, the attorney, and the asylum patient achieve their dreams?
Suspense, romance, humor, murder, insanity, hope, fun, wrapped in a Western you won’t forget.
http://amzn.to/2arRVgG
https://www.amazon.com/author/adabrownell

 

 



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