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Jean Ann Williams: Christmas After A Loved One’s Suicide (GIVEAWAY)

Posted by Julie on December 22, 2016 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

 

My son, Joshua, died by suicide on March 16, 2004, and I will never be the same. Nor do I want that old person back. God has given me His strength as I journeyed through the most difficult time in my life. And, I’m not a novice to loss. I began losing important loved ones by the age of ten, with the mental illness of my mother, and the death of my dear Nana and my baby sister Maria.

During the year of firsts in noted celebrations after Joshua’s suicide, Christmas was indeed the hardest after Joshua’s birthday in November. My husband and I felt tossed about in waves of denial, pain, and just plain not-caring-to-recognize the traditions part of Christmas.

As the celebration of Jesus’ birth came closer, our eldest granddaughter, Morgan Ann, age ten at the time, found out our plans to skip Christmas traditions. Below, is a chapter from my book, God’s Mercies after Suicide, and how Morgan Ann helped us, her nana and papa.

***

“Nana, please, we have to bake cookies, and you need a Christmas tree to decorate.”

 

Our eldest grandchild, Morgan Ann, would not quit on the topic of Christmas. I did not want to bake. The idea of a tree saddened us; Joshua had always been involved with the choosing. When Morgan pleaded more than once with us, we relented.

 

Morgan and her two sisters, Lynsey and Carley, came over early one morning. My heart’s desire was to hang only handmade ornaments on this year’s tree.

 

Our granddaughters created a mess with glue, glitter, and construction paper. We decorated cutout egg cartons for bells and strung cranberries and popcorn on strings. The girls hung the ornaments on a three-foot-tall tree.

 

A welcoming inspiration, Morgan insisted we make Joshua’s favorite cookies. We baked thumbprint cookies, and hand-decorated snowmen, Santa Claus, and angel-figure sugar cookies with pink, red, and green frosting. The colored frosting got on the table. My granddaughters howled with laughter over smeared frosting on their faces. I snapped oodles of pictures which I shall always cherish.

***

If you’ve lost a loved one recently and don’t feel like celebrating, it’s really, really OKAY. The only reason we went ahead and acknowledged the traditional part of Christmas was to not disappoint our granddaughters.

In return, we did everything on a smaller scale this first Christmas after Joshua’s death. And at the end of the season, my husband and I looked back and smiled at what one little ten-year-old had accomplished in an otherwise confused and difficult time in our lives.

Twelve years later, we still talk about what Morgan Ann did for us.

And even if we had not participated in a tree and the baking, we still would have celebrated Jesus’ birth and life during the difficult Christmas of 2004.

 

Jean Ann Williams grew up with a parent who suffered from mental illness. Her son died by suicide at age 25 in 2004. From 1996 to the present, Jean Ann has written over one hundred articles & puzzles for youth related magazines, which included a healthy eating column. She has published articles in eight book anthologies. Currently, she writes a column for Putting on the New blog & Book Fun Magazine on the topic of suicide loss. Her first book “Just Claire” is an upper middle grade novel which touches upon the topic of mental illness of a parent. Her second book, “God’s Mercies after Suicide: Blessings Woven through a Mother’s Heart” is her memoir devotional about the loss of her son, Joshua, to suicide.

Purchase GOD’S MERCIES AFTER SUICIDE HERE

Julie’s note:

Christmas time is a season when suicides increase. Please, if this is something you are considering, talk to someone you can trust. A member of clergy, or Suicide Prevention at 1-800-273-8255. There is also an online chat from Suicide Prevention.

Jean Ann would like to gift a copy of her book, God’s Mercies After Suicide. Please leave a comment and I will choose a random comment. Make sure you leave a working email in case you win.

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Expectations by B.J. Bassett

Posted by Julie on December 6, 2016 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Expectations

 

Many years ago, I was expecting our daughter and her family to arrive for Christmas. I’d taken the day off from work to enjoy spending time with them. Shortly after they arrived they left again to do some last minute shopping, and they didn’t ask me to join them. My heart sank. It wasn’t what I’d expected.

 

The door closed behind them and I slumped into a chair to host a pity party for one. (I read once that a pity party is of the Devil). After a while I stood, brushed myself off, and headed downtown to look in the pretty decorated store windows. I went into our florist shop, and strolled amongst all the lovely gifts and Christmas decorations. I spotted a sign on a stake that read, Santa Please Stop Here. Not a necessary item since I was on a budget, but I was drawn to it, and I thought the grandkids would like it, so I splurged and bought it. All these years later, it is a reminder to me not to expect others to abide by my expectations of them.

 

            Over the years, my expectations of myself have changed as well. I do not stress over the holidays. I do not do things like bake Christmas cookies or make candy, yet our home is filled with goodies others give to us. I don’t accept every party invitation. To help family members on tight budgets, we no longer buy a gift for everyone. Instead, our family exchanges names. Since I enjoy reading, I take time to curl up with a good book and a cup of tea.

 

I encourage you to put fewer, or no, expectations on others and on yourself. Enjoy the peace and joy God provides during this time when we remember and celebrate our savior’s birth.

 

B J Bassett

B J Bassett

 

BIO: B J Bassett’s writing is favorably compared to Grace Livingston Hill’s. Her historical novel, Lily, and contemporary romance, Gillian’s Heart, includes the gospel. You are invited to visit her at www.bjbassett.com.

 

 

 

gilliansheartcoverart_editedAbandoned as a child by her alcoholic parents, Gillian Grant was raised by her grandmother in a beach house in California. As an adult, in tribute to Gram’s memory, Gillian wishes to restore the house to its former splendor. But she can’t do it alone, and hires Dusty Bradshaw to help her.

Gillian and Dusty have nothing in common, except the restoration of the house. Gillian suffers from anorexia and is in denial. While she has a strong faith in God, Dusty is an unbeliever. Add to the complicated mess Gillian’s confusing feelings for Josh and the sudden, unwanted appearance of Gillian’s mother Betsy, who claims the house is hers. And she intends to sell it.

Gillian always dreamed of her wedding in her grandmother’s garden overlooking the Pacific. Will there be a wedding? Who will capture Gillian’s heart — her stable, longtime friend Josh — or Dusty, a new Christian, who has kept secrets from her? And who holds the deed to the house? PURCHASE GILLIAN’S HEART HERE

9781462000067_cover.inddLILY

California, 1900-Nestled in the foothills of the northern California coast, the town of Laurel Springs is home to high-spirited Lily Blair, the daughter of Rev. William Blair. Lily delights in being spoiled by her grandmother and father, and even though she lost her mother to childbirth, she glories in life itself and continuously pushes the bounds of propriety. Having her every whim indulged as a child leads to a tough road as an adult. Lily falls in love with James Conti and wants to marry him, but James heads off to fight in the Great War, leaving Lily alone and heartbroken. When her father wants to send her off to boarding school, Lily makes yet another rash decision and marries a man she does not love. In the ensuing years, Lily endures hardship and loss, a sharp detour from the pampered existence she once enjoyed. Yet as Lily struggles to cope with these unexpected changes, she discovers just how powerful God’s love and forgiveness can be. But will it be enough to get her through the darkest days yet to come? Full of vivid historical detail, Lily is an emotional coming-of-age story that celebrates the strength of the human spirit.

PURCHASE LILY HERE

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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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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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How Many Times Must I Forgive My Brother by Teresa Ives Lilly

How Many Times Must I Forgive My Brother

By Teresa Ives Lilly

 

As a child, you expect to have fun playing with your siblings, but for me that wasn’t always the case.

My brother was seven years older than me, and all I can say is, he was not a nice person.  I have no good Of him, including the fact that we shared a birthday and every year my parents took us to his favorite restaurant and got him a coconut cake (which I am allergic to and HATE).

Years later he became a Christian, met a wonderful young woman and the two of them became Missionaries in Russia and started about 6 of more churches there.

You would imagine, as a Christian I would have been happy and pleased, but I wasn’t.  For years, I was angry.  I didn’t believe my brother deserved such a sweet wife and I struggled believing he could be trusted.

Finally, after a few years from his salvation, I had to surrender it to God and ask God to heal my hurts because my brother never tried to.  Then, once God gave me the peace I needed to forgive, I contacted my brother and asked him why he never tried to make amends to me, etc.  He told me, he thought I had forgotten the things and he didn’t want to hurt me by bringing them up.

Once I understood this, I was able to totally surrender.

So, at this Thanksgiving Time, I pray that everyone finds something to surrender and get free from.

Since that time, God has blessed me with the gift of writing and although I don’t usually write about such deep issues as surrender, my novellas are all Christian and the characters all over come relationship issues and find love.

a1kflm6gtwl-_ux250_Teresa Ives Lilly lives in San Antonio. She has written over 20 novellas, several chapter books and two hundred unit studies. She loves to hear from her readers at teresaiveslilly@yahoo.com

See all her books at http://www.teresalilly.wordpress.com/  

The one book I wrote which really shows how a woman overcomes many issues is called

Orphan Train Bride.

orphan-train-bride_editedKelli is a nineteen-year-old orphan, who lives and teaches at a New York orphanage. She is sent west on the Orphan Train to oversee the children. When the train reaches Kansas, the end of the line, and Kelli realizes that she must return to New York, she makes a desperate plea to a golden bronzed cowboy; asking to fill the place as of a mail order bride, he advertised for to raise his little girl. Will God help them develop a loving relationship through the hardship of life on the Kansas prairie. Especially after the land is devastated by grasshoppers?

 

Purchase Orphan Train Bride on Amazon HERE.

 

 

 

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Thankful: Excerpts from My Memoir by B.J. Bassett

My Story

Excerpts from my Memoir

            “Mom, you should write your story . . . about how you broke the cycle of alcohol addiction in your family. You’re the transition generation,” my daughter, Melanie, said.

            “It’d be too painful.”

            Yet, I was between writing projects. Maybe I’ll give her suggestion a try. If it becomes too hard, I can always stop. Maybe it will even be a catalyst for more healing.

             So I began.

 

My beautiful mother, Launalee (later she changed the spelling to Launalei) had a Betty Grable figure and auburn hair. An extravert with oodles of friends, she was scared by her parent’s divorce when she was fifteen. Her three brothers were also marred by it. Divorce was not the norm in 1930s Bremerton, Washington.

Daddy, an introvert, came from a very different childhood as the third son growing up in a small town in Minnesota. His mother wanted a girl. His sister Phyllis was born seven years later and they always shared a close relationship.

Jobs were scarce in 1937, so Daddy joined the Navy. He met my mother at a dance in Bremerton, Washington.

When my parents planned to be married, Granddad Harkness put a stop to it. “My daughter will not marry a sailor.” So they waited until Daddy was out of the Navy. They married in 1939 and I was born the following year. I always felt loved.

When I was ten and my little brother Danny was two, my parents came home in the wee hours of the morning. Mama woke me and pushed the car keys between my mattress and box-spring. “Don’t tell Daddy where the keys are.”

So it began—Mama putting me in the middle of my parent’s fights.

I don’t remember if Daddy found the car keys or not that night. What I do remember is it was the only time I ever saw him drunk, and it frightened me. He left that night and returned the next day.

There were also many happy times during those years. I attended Sunday school and church with neighbors. I loved everything girly and motherly—especially dolls and my baby brother.

When I was in junior high it was my responsibility to pick Danny up at the baby-sitter’s after school. Mama had told me to put potatoes in the oven before she got home from work. I forgot. When she got home, and realized I hadn’t done what she asked, she slapped me across the face and called me a cross-eyed baboon. Her words hurt worse than the slap. If my own mother thought that of me, what must others think?         (I had a lazy eye.)

Later, when I was a teenager, I came home from one of my church youth events, Mama was drunk. The living-room was full of people. She draped her arm over my shoulder and slurred, “You’re such a good girl. I’ll give you anything you want. Do you want a car? I’ll buy you a car.”

“No, Mama.”

I never took advantage of her generosity during those times. I knew she was drunk and wouldn’t remember what she’d said the next day. She was a happy drunk. It was years later that she became a mean one.

 

So Melanie, I took your suggestion and wrote about how I broke the cycle of alcoholism in my family. God gave me the gift of not liking the taste of alcohol, and I’d witnessed how it destroyed lives. He also pursued me from the beginning of my life. He put saints in my life to minister to me. He never gave up on me, and has never left me in all these years. I am grateful.

            I don’t want to paint Nana and Papa as all bad. While growing up there were more good times than bad, and they had some wonderful qualities. I wish I had inherited Nana’s generosity and Papa’s playfulness. He was always a good provider, even when money was tight. A hard worker, he balanced work with play. Although they were both somewhat selfish, they were also giving. (If that’s possible.) I felt loved by them, yet it seemed conditional—if I was a good girl and obeyed. It was from God that I felt unconditional love.

            I believe I am who I am because God never let go of me. He saved my soul, put Christian saints in my life, and I learned from my parents—the good and the bad. I was, and am, blessed.

 

B J Bassett

B J Bassett

BIO: B.J. Bassett encourages others as an author, teacher and speaker. Her books include a historical novel Lily; A Touch of Grace—The G.R.A.C.E. Ministries Story, and coauthor of My Time with God which sold 55,000 copies while in print. Her recently released contemporary romance, Gillian’s Heart, is now available.

Email: bassett106@charter.net

Website: www.bjbassett.com

Blog: http://bjbassett.wordpress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bunny.bassett

Gillian’s Heart

gilliansheartcoverart_editedAbandoned as a child by her alcoholic parents, Gillian Grant was raised by her grandmother in a beach house in California. As an adult, in tribute to Gram’s memory, Gillian wishes to restore the house to its former splendor. But she can’t do it alone, and hires Dusty Bradshaw to help her.

Gillian and Dusty have nothing in common, except the restoration of the house. Gillian suffers from anorexia and is in denial. While she has a strong faith in God, Dusty is an unbeliever. Add to the complicated mess Gillian’s confusing feelings for her childhood friend Josh and the sudden, unwanted appearance of Gillian’s mother Betsy, who claims the house is hers. And she intends to sell it.

Gillian always dreamed of her wedding in her grandmother’s garden overlooking the Pacific. Will there be a wedding? Who will capture Gillian’s heart—her stable, longtime friend Josh—or Dusty, a new Christian, who has kept secrets from her? And who holds the deed to the house?

Purchase Gillian’s Heart HERE

 

 



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