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Thankful for Home and Family by Laura V. Hilton

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.

Happy Thanksgiving!

***

Gingerbread Wishes

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?

Thanksgiving Strangers

 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.

Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Laura-V.-Hilton/e/B004IRSM5Q 

visit my blogs: 

http://lighthouse-academy.blogspot.com/  & http://lauravhilton.blogspot.com/ 

twitter:

@Laura_V_Hilton

Facebook: 

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Laura-V-Hilton/161478847242512

Pinterest: 

http://www.pinterest.com/vernetlh/

 

Purchase my books:

 Amazon   http://www.amazon.com/Laura-V.-Hilton/e/B004IRSM5Q 

CBD: http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/easy_find?Ntt=laura+hilton&N=0&Ntk=keywords&action=Search&Ne=0&event=ESRCG&nav_search=1&cms=1

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/laura-hilton?store=allproducts&keyword=laura+hilton

Deeper Shopping http://www.deepershopping.com/index.php?query=laura+hilton&x=0&y=0&module=productsearch&_logmode=Y&querymodule=SPX

 

 

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Unexpected Blessings by Rachel J. Good

Unexpected Blessings

By Rachel J. Good

 

Last Thanksgiving was a stressful one for me because I was dealing with some family and financial struggles. I’d just heard that my publisher planned to close their fiction line, so the book series I’d recently finished writing had been cancelled. I had no idea how I’d support myself over the coming year.

After I prayed about my concerns last Thanksgiving, I gave thanks for all the good things I had—my health, good friends, supportive family members, awesome readers, a career I loved, and darling grandchildren. Most of all, I was grateful for God’s presence in my life.

One week after I prayed, my agent called (she’s one of my many blessings this year!) to tell me we had an offer for a 3-book Amish series from a major publisher. She wanted to wait until the New Year to see if any other offers came in. Meanwhile, a sweet fellow author (another blessing!) recommended me to one of her publishers, and they contracted me for 2 books in an Amish series they were developing. In January, my agent had more good news. Another publisher had made an offer on the 3-book series. After some negotiations, we went with the second offer. I’m thrilled to have the first book in that Love & Promises Amish series, THE AMISH TEACHER’S GIFT, coming out in April 2018 with Hachette/Grand Central, to be followed by two more books.

Two anthology offers soon followed from Celebrate Lit (SPRINGS OF LOVE and LOVE’S THANKFUL HEART). And we recently agreed to two more anthologies for 2018.

Then a publisher contacted me about writing 2 books in the Second Chance Ranch series for middle graders (under a pen name). TAKING CHANCES and WILD MIDNIGHT will come out in January 2018.

The second book in my Sisters & Friends Amish series, BURIED SECRETS, released in April. And then, out of the blue, another publisher contacted me, wanting to publish the books that had been dropped by my previous publisher. Within several months, I’d gone from having no book contracts to having 12 books under contract.

Yet, the blessings kept rolling in. An African friend who runs a mission in Kenya asked me about writing a picture book about her father. The story of his courage and faith touched my heart, so I’m writing this post from Kenya, where I’m researching for that book as well as helping her with mission work. If anyone had told me last Thanksgiving that I’d be returning from Africa one year later, I’m not sure I would have believed them.

 

This November I look back on all the blessings I’ve received this past year and marvel at God’s provision. I found that trusting Him, even when the situation looked bleak, led to wonderful surprises and some unexpected changes in direction.

What unexpected blessings have you received in your life?

 

Love’s Thankful Heart

Because it’s almost Thanksgiving, I thought this anthology would be fun to share. It also includes stories by Laura V. Hilton and Tom Nye. My story in the anthology is a suspense novella, THANKSGIVING STRANGERS.

Blurb for Thanksgiving Strangers

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 he’s deceived her, shattering her hopes and dreams. Can she ever trust him again?

 

Biography

Inspirational author Rachel J. Good writes life-changing, heart-tugging novels of faith, hope, and forgiveness. She is the author of several Amish series in print or forthcoming – Sisters & Friends series, Love & Promises series, and two books in the Hearts of Amish Country series – as well as the Amish Quilts Coloring Books and the contemporary novella, Angels Unaware, part of the Hope Chapel series. Rachel also juggles freelance editing and illustration careers. She loves reading (of course!), traveling, and spending time with her five children and three grandchildren. Visit her at her website, Facebook, author page, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads. You also can sign up for her quarterly newsletter here.

 

 

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Thanksgiving 2013: Perspective and Abundance

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Thanksgiving speaks so many things to me.

Pumpkin pie.

Turkey.

Thanksgiving parade.

Family.

Time passing on traditions in the kitchen.

No matter where we are, Ohio or New York,

just the four of us or extended family,

I always try to take extra time to reflect on our blessings.

The word God gave me for 2013 was abundance.

What a beautiful word.

And what a faithful God.

Abundance of healing after losing my mother-in-law.

Abundance of family time with a vacation we saved years for.

Abundance of unity with fellow believers as we chose forgiveness together.

Abundance of God’s provision as we have a new pastor we know God handpicked for such a time as this.

Abundance of time to write so I could finish my first novel.

Abundance of prayers from others to help direct my writing steps.

Abundance of laughter as I navigate life as a wife, mom, writer, mentor.

Abundance of healing as my wrist is well.

Abundance of unexpected blessings as I was able to travel to the Adirondacks with my mom.

Abundance of new opportunities as we close doors and open new ones, with His leading.

Abundance of clothes on our backs and closets.

Abundance of food on the table and in cupboards.

Abundance, abundance, abundance.

I also realized this season to have abundance also means choosing perspective, perspective, perspective.

May your perspective this Thanksgiving be about abundant blessings!

Thank you for reading today. I appreciate you!

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The Ordinary Life by Leslie Umstattd

The Ordinary Life

Most of us live what is considered an ordinary life. We go through life each day with the typical routine of getting up, going to work, doing laundry, shuttling children to their events, and retiring for the evening. The days and months pass by and before we know it, November hits and we are reminded to be thankful.

The retail stores force images upon us, the commercials on television have us grabbing the tissue box, and the Hallmark channel releases heart-warming movies with happy endings. It is that time of the year when even the most ungrateful person finds a reason to be thankful. We look around and begin to be appreciative even in the small things.

A few years ago my husband and I decided as parents we wanted to begin to lay the foundations of thankfulness in our children. To be completely honest, instilling the practice of thankfulness in our children forces us, beckons us as parents to model for them an attitude of appreciation.  Beyond Thanksgiving, we wanted our children to recognize how blessed they are and to be thankful for how God has provided for our family daily. We began by asking a simple question,  “What are you thankful for?” Most responses seem so child like. “I am thankful I got to eat lunch at school today.” “I am thankful that I got to jump on the trampoline after school.” “I am thankful I got to stay up, watch a movie, and eat candy!”

Thankful_edited

 

As they have grown, their thankfulness focus has turned from “I am thankful I got to watch Veggie Tales today,” to “I am glad I met a new friend at school.” As I listen to my children express their thankfulness for what seems like the “mundane” things in life, I am reminded where Christ tells us to come to him as little children, with child-like faith. A childlike faith finds good in the simple things, gives the benefit of doubt, extends grace when there is hurt, and even can be thankful for getting to eat candy before bed!

Being thankful for the small things helps to provide us with eyes that see how blessed we truly are in our lives. We have opportunities to be thankful for something small like having a friend who can be your running buddy, finding a $5 bill in last year’s winter coat that has been packed away, folding laundry which means we have clothes to wear, or a friend sending a text saying that she is praying for you and thankful for your friendship. These are the things in life that swell our hearts with gladness. It is in the ordinary things of life that we find God moving and blessing us.

It seems this time of year more than any other we find ourselves evaluating, assessing our thankfuls in life. We contemplate because we want to have attitudes of gratitude. The challenge of thankfulness is not just being thankful during the Thanksgiving season but creating mind-set of being grateful in the good, the bad, and the ugly. Being thankful that God is in control no matter the circumstances. Being thankful that we woke up this morning with hands and feet that move and eyes that see. Being thankful we live in a country where we can freely worship. Creating a year around attitude of gratitude starts with a speck of gratefulness for the ordinary life so when the big blessings come we have no trouble recognizing them, but we also realize that the ordinary life is our biggest blessing.

 

headshot_edited

Leslie Umstattd has been involved in women’s and children’s ministry areas for over 15 years. Before moving to Missouri in 2008, she was an elementary school teacher in both the public and private sector. She recently graduated from Midwestern Seminary with her Doctorate in Educational Ministry and currently serves as Adjunct Professor in the Christian Education department at Midwestern. She has been married for 12 years and has two daughters.

 

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Saturday Confession: I Thought I Was God’s Punchline

Posted by Julie on October 26, 2013 in encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, Saturday Confession |

This has been a tough month. If it were only the government shutdown or healthcare issues.

But it seems so much more, you know?

My inbox has been fuller than usual with requests asking, “would you pray for me?”

  • There have been jobs lost
  • New diagnosis
  • Family issues
  • Relationship troubles
  • and more.

It wasn’t that long ago that I was in a season where the hits came coming. They were so fast, so devastating that as a pretty solid in faith Jesus girl, I was reeling. To the point of wondering if God had a punchline, and I was it.

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I learned a lot from that season, and the ones that have followed it. Earlier this week I was at Christians Read and I shared what my husband did to help me.

His answer may help you, too.

Do you have a confession? If so, share here. Let’s encourage each other. You are not alone.

 

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Thankful: Tiffany Amber Stockton’s Gratitude Born From Selfishness

GRATITUDE BORN FROM SELFISHNESS

 

I sat for a bit, pondering what I would say in this post on being thankful. Sure, I could start a long list of reasons for giving thanks, but so can anyone else. Then, it hit me. Although I have a lot of reasons to give thanks today, I didn’t always do that in the past. Instead, I spent a lot of time lamenting over what I did NOT have than praising God for what I DID have.

 

After growing up in a Christian household, graduating with honors from high school and a private college, finding consistent work, and having parents who graciously accepted me back home after I made some critical mistakes and had no place to live, I still wasn’t happy. On the contrary, I drifted more toward asking God why I had never had a boyfriend, or why I wasn’t married yet, or when I would land that “dream” job, or why I was living at home again, or where were those close friends I’d always wanted. Looking back now, it was quite selfish of me to demand all those things in light of all God had given me in other areas. And in hindsight, I see how God protected me in so many ways. Had He given me what I wanted when I wanted it, the end result would have been certain disaster.

 

But we are all human, aren’t we? And selfishness reigns supreme when we don’t allow God to guide our thoughts and hearts. As hard as it is to admit this, being selfish seemed to be a way of life for me. Sure, I *thought* I was looking out for others or putting others before me, but in reality, I was only doing that because it would give me something in return. It was *my* interests at the core of everything I did or said.

 

It’s amazing God stuck with me and continued to bless me in spite of my ungrateful behavior.

 

Yet bless me He did. And after a hard lesson where I lost several jobs in a row and had to humbly approach my parents for financial assistance, I finally “saw the light” so to speak. Immediately, I hit my knees and prayed for forgiveness, admitting my selfishness, my mistakes, and thanking God for not turning His back on me. I certainly turned my back on more than one person who didn’t seem to bring me benefit. And now, I cringe when I think of how callous I used to be.

 

Today, though, I’ve had a landfall of blessings hit me in a relatively short amount of time. It’s almost as if God said, “All right. You finally admitted you need me, and you’ve admitted your shortcomings. Now, I’m going to give you the desires of your heart. So, in the span of 4 years, I sold my first novel (which has led to 10 more), met and married the love of my life, moved to Colorado and the mountains I’ve always loved, and added a daughter and son to our family. Talk about everything hitting at once. I’m still reeling from the after-effects of it all, and it’s a daily process adjusting to it all.

 

One of these days, I’ll get a handle on things…perhaps when my kids are grown and out of the house. *grins* Until then, I daily remember to give thanks to God for His abundant blessings and protection. After all He’s done for me and the many bad situations from which He’s protected me, how can I do anything less?

 

Tiffany Amber Stockton has been crafting and embellishing stories since childhood. Today, she is an award-winning author, speaker, online marketing specialist, and a freelance web site designer who lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, in Colorado. They have a  daughter, a son, and a vivacious Flat-Coat Retriever/Australian shepherd named Roxie.

 

Her writing career officially began in high school with the publication of her first children’s book, but she didn’t pursue adult fiction until college where she dabbled in fan fiction and received continuous requests for more stories. Amber wrote her first novel in 1999, but it wasn’t until joining ACFW in 2002 and attending their annual conferences that she received a request for a full manuscript in September 2004. Two years later, in December 2006, the request resulted in her first sale. And in January 2008, her debut novel released.

 

She has since sold eleven books and one novella to Barbour Publishing with more on the horizon. Three of her novels have won annual reader’s choice awards and in 2009, she was voted #1 favorite new author for the Heartsong Presents book club. Other writing credits include writing articles for various publications, five short stories with Romancing the Christian Heart, and nine contributions to the book, 101 Ways to Romance Your Marriage.

 

A born-again Christian since the age of seven, her faith in Christ has often sustained her through difficult experiences. She seeks to share that with others through her writing. Read more about her at her web site: www.amberstockton.com.

 

Web site: www.amberstockton.com

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/AmberStocktonAuthor

Twitter: www.twitter.com/amberstockton

 



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