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.
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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Thanksgiving and Praise
Enter His gates with thanksgiving; go into His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and bless His name. Psalm 100:4
November is a beautiful month in East Texas. The trees begin to sport their fall colors in full. Autumn comes to our area a month later than in the northern states. Thanksgiving is a colorful time. Many years we have spent Thanksgiving with our family at our camp in the pretty woods near Lake Sam Rayburn. The day holds promises of good food, too much to eat, watching parades on television, and great fellowship. It will be a good day, and I will praise the Lord for His many blessings in my life.
The Psalmist said when you praise God, giving thanks to Him for His goodness, you enter His gates and are ushered into His presence. What a wonderful place to be, in the presence of God. He listens to the praise of His people and you bless Him. Blessing means to make happy. Praising God is something you do for Him out of the fullness of your heart, because He has blessed you.
Praise is a sacrifice to God. It is a sweet aroma in His holy nostrils. The ancient Jews burned incense on the temple altar daily. The incense was made from a specific formula given to Moses by God. The sweet odor traveled heavenward, reaching the very presence of the Lord. Knowing His children were obediently carrying out His command pleased God. Their obedience meant they were thinking about Him. God is blessed by your praise, because you are obedient, and He is taking first place in your thoughts and mind. He tells you to praise Him and be thankful in all circumstances.
Revelation 5:8 says your prayers are incense offered to God. He keeps them close and is reminded of your petitions, answering each request in His own time and way. Your prayers never leave His presence. They are a sweet aroma that He loves. Praise is a type of prayer we offer to our Lord. Thanksgiving is a type of praise. Be thankful and praise Him in all circumstances of life, because He is there with you, keeping you close and listening to your prayers. Hold tightly.
Cornbread Dressing with Chicken
3 packages of cornbread mix, prepared as directed
3 chicken breasts, boiled and chopped
3 cups chicken broth from the boiled breasts or from a can
3 ribs celery, chopped
1 bunch green onion, chopped
½ package Pepperidge Farms Cornbread Stuffing
4 large eggs, boiled and chopped
4 slices of white bread, toasted, cooled, crumbled
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Sage to taste
Preheat oven to 350.
Prepare cornbread mix as directed. When cool, crumble in a large pan along with toasted bread. Add seasonings and mix well.
Sauté celery and onions together in a small amount of oil, and then add to mixture.
Add chopped eggs, chopped chicken, and then chicken broth. More broth may be added to make a moist mixture. Mix well.
Spray a 9*12 baking pan or large casserole dish with cooking spray. Put dressing mixture in the pan and bake at 350 until top is brown – about ½ hour.
Dressing may be frozen until needed.
May be served with baked turkey for your Thanksgiving dinner, or with a salad and green peas and rolls for another meal.
Praise the Lord this Thanksgiving and thank Him for all His blessings.
A Highland Emerald
I will give away an ebook copy of A Highland Emerald to a commenter.
Aine MacLean is forced into an arranged marriage with Sir William, Chief of Clan Munro, yet her heart belongs to a handsome young warrior in her father’s guard. She must leave Durant Castle, the home of her birth on the Isle of Mull, and travel across Scotland in a perilous journey to her husband’s home on Cromarty Firth. William agrees to a year and day of handfasting, giving Aine an opportunity to accept him and his clan. He promises her the protection of Clan Munro, however, Aine experiences kidnapping, pirates, and almost loses her life in the River Moriston. She doubts the sincerity of William’s promises and decides to return to Durant Castle when the handfasting ends. William determines to win Aine’s heart. Will the brave knight triumph in his fight for the bonnie lass?
A Highland Emerald is the third book in the award-winning Highland Treasures series. It tells the story of Aine MacLean and William Munro, and is the prequel to A Highland Pearl.
Isle of Mull
My father sat in his usual chair in front of the crackling fire, staring at the flame with dim eyes and a fur robe wrapped around his broad shoulders, the deerhound curled at his feet.
“Where are you going, Aine?” he asked with his back turned toward the stone, spiral staircase where I stood. “Come, sit with me for awhile.”
I pushed the arisaid from my shoulders, letting it drop to the floor, then stepped over the wrap. Making my way to the stool where my mother’s embroidery frame stood, I took a seat and watched the flame.
Without turning his head, my father, Lachlan Og MacLean, eighth chief and fourth Laird of Durant Castle, asked, “Where are you going?”
“How did you ken ’twas I?” He never ceased to amaze me with his uncanny knowledge of events around him although his eyes, so dimmed by injury, saw very little.
“I heard the rustle of your skirts.” He extended his hand for me, so I rose and hugged his neck.
He smiled, embracing my arms. “And I ken your scent, lass. ‘Tis so like your mither’s. You use the same scented soap as she.”
“Aye, but from so far away and with the smell of burning wood and dog in your nostril’s?”
“Your odor is a different pleasantry among the usual burning wood and dog. It stands out in my memory as does the pleasant odor of your mither.” He smiled broadly, showing still straight, white teeth beneath a greying beard. I could almost feel his penetrating gaze upon me as in the days before his sight was taken in battle. He asked, “Where are you going this dreary night?”
“Here, Da. To sit beside you and talk of the feast on the morrow.”
“Don’t try to deceive me, lass. I heard the sound of your arisaid dropping to the floor. You are planning a tryst, I feel certain.” His dimmed gaze pierced through to the depths of my soul. “I could see the turn of your head toward him each time he spoke at the evening meal.” A line formed between his brows and a shadow darkened his face. “You are to marry the Munro.”
“I dinna love William Munro.” My voice began to rise, and I struggled to control the cry climbing from the depths of my heart. “I wanna marry him, Da. You promised I could wed for love, not convenience.” The cry emerged from my lips. I buried my head on his shoulder and sobbed.
Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/5-mYnAJd_Hc
The desire to write historical fiction has long been a passion with Brenda B. Taylor. Since elementary school, she has written stories in her spare time. Brenda earned three degrees: a BSE from Henderson State University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas; a MEd from Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas; and an EdD from Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas; then worked as a teacher and administrator in the Texas Public School system. Only after retirement could she fulfill the dream of publication.
Brenda and her husband make their home in beautiful East Texas where they enjoy spending time with family and friends, traveling, and working in Bethabara Faith Ministry, Inc. She crafts stories about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people in her favorite place overlooking bird feeders, bird houses, and a variety of blooming trees and flowers. She sincerely thanks all who purchase and read her books. Her desire is that the message in each book will touch the heart of the reader as it did hers in the writing.
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