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Defining Thankful by Sue A. Fairchild

DEFINING THANKFUL

By Sue A. Fairchild

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary describes “thankful” as being “conscious of benefit received.” For me, the definition doesn’t seem to say enough about this word. Being conscious of a benefit we have received is a good thing. It helps us to say “Thank you” and to show appreciation. It helps us not to dismiss important events in our life and assists us in seeing the good when sometimes life is just too hard. But simply being aware of the benefits in our life doesn’t seem to truly define the emotions behind the word.

When I think about all the things I’m thankful for in my life—my husband, my health, the health of my loved ones, God’s never ending blessings and His ever present care in my life—it simply is not enough to say I’m “conscious of the benefits” of each. Each thing I’m thankful for in my life affects me deeply and I want to express my joy for each of those things in the right way.

My husband loved me at my most broken stage and has helped me become the strong entrepreneur I am today with his love and never-ending support. Simply being aware of all he has done for me doesn’t begin to describe how I feel about him. Joy fills my soul when I think of him. My heart sings when I consider his sacrifices, the parents who made him who he is and the God who placed him into my life. In turn, I seek to show him how thankful I am for all he’s done, by doing things for him, verbally thanking him, and loving him in a tangible way.

When I think of my health and the health of my loved ones, I marvel at a mother who has persevered through years of debilitating illness, admire a father who worked two jobs to make ends meet despite heart issues and am proud of how I’ve battled weight loss and depression problems. Being thankful means understanding how hard it has been and yet still finding joy—being grateful—for every minute of the process. (Check out my post here about how thankful I am that my mom recently turned seventy-five!) In addition, I need to remain aware that God has placed each moment in my life as a means to grow, learn and achieve.

It’s good to be aware of our blessings. It’s right and positive to say “Thank you” at the appropriate time. But it’s so much more. It’s a feeling, deep down, that life could have possibly been better, but without the hard things, it’s difficult to recognize the good. We must not only be aware of the benefits of our life, but also seek to extend thankfulness, graciousness and admiration for everything God has placed in our lives.

 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. (Ecclesiastes 3:10-14 NIV)

Sue A. Fairchild is a freelance editor who specializes in substantial edits and Christian writing. Her editing credits have included a suspense/thriller series, a fantasy series and numerous other genres. In addition, Sue is also a writer who has been published in Christian devotion magazines, two Chicken Soup for the Soul books, as well as self-published two novels currently available on Amazon (“What You Think You Know” and “Summer’s Refrain”) and is currently working on a third.

Sue’s attention to detail and passion for good writing assists her clients in making their work shine. She’d love to talk with you about editing your next big project! Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or email her (sueafairchild74@gmail.com) for a free consultation and estimate (max. 2 pages).

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Looking for Rays of Sunshine by Melanie D. Snitker

Looking for the Rays of Sunshine

By Melanie D. Snitker

 

I’m not going to lie: The last couple of months have been rough in my household. We’ve had a lot of challenges that, in combination with lack of sleep, made the day-to-day things seem a lot harder than they should have been.

When we go through rough patches in life, it’s easy to complain and only see the rain clouds in the sky. But, if we look hard, we can often spot rays of sunshine that manage to push their way through the darkness. Those rays remind us that better weather is coming, and that it’s not going to be like this forever.

I’d like to share some of those rays of light that managed to shine through the darkness of the last couple of months.

I’m thankful for a wonderful husband who was willing to carry water, bucket by bucket, from the large tub our washing machine drained into to the kitchen sink. Because of his sacrifice and kindness, I didn’t have to do laundry at the laundromat for a month while the utility room drain was being fixed.

I’m thankful for the support system our family has in each other, extended family, and friends as we go through a challenging period in our son’s life. He has autism, and it’s been rough lately. But God continually reminds us that we’re not in this alone.

I’m thankful for the blessing of being a stay-at-home mom to our two kids as well as the opportunity to home school them. There’s a lot of satisfaction in watching our daughter gain confidence as a reader and our son grasp new concepts in math. I’m so glad that I can be right there to witness it all.

I’m thankful that I get to do what I’ve always dreamed of doing: Write and publish fiction. I’m completing the editing process for Finding Grace, the sixth and final chapter of the Love’s Compass series. When I published the first book in January of 2015, I had no idea that God would use that book to reach so many readers. Since then, it’s been amazing to watch the characters in this series grow and change.

I’m also thankful that the darkness of the last couple of months appears to be lifting. Praise God for new beginnings!

If you haven’t read the Love’s Compass series, now is a great time to start. The first book, Finding Peace, is on sale for only $0.99!

 

Available on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00R8KKV86

 

Police Officer Tuck Chandler is good at his job. He’s also good at holding women at arm’s length. Jilted by his fiancée for his dedication to his job, he’s not about to open himself up to hurt like that again.

Laurie Blake is a struggling photographer. After growing up in a wealthy family, she’s determined to make it on her own, even if it means doing it the hard way.

When Tuck is assigned to a puzzling burglary involving Laurie’s fledgling photography business, he goes into it with his usual perseverance. He wants to help her – if she’ll let him. As the case unfolds and the mystery deepens, another question arises.

Will the past get in the way of their future?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you love small towns full of colorful characters and lovable animals, you’ll enjoy the Fall Into Romance series of novellas. Finding Forever in Romance is available at Amazon, B&N, Kobo, iTunes, and Google.

Finding Forever:

From the time he was a child, Brent Todd has helped lost pets find healing and homes. Now, he runs Romance’s Finding Forever Animal Rescue. Amid the dogs, cats, donkeys, goats, and exotic animals in his care, he convinces himself he has everything he needs. Then a beautiful woman and her son volunteer to help at the shelter. Brent soon realizes he needs more than the rescue animals to fill the empty spaces in his heart and home.

Dedicated to raising her son, Nicole Crawford views romance as a lovely idea. But between being a single mom and the pain of her past, she refuses to dwell on something so out of reach. To teach her son about helping others, they volunteer at Finding Forever on a temporary basis. But the more time she spends with Brent, the more she realizes it’ll be impossible to walk away from him and the shelter with her heart intact.

 

Together, maybe Brent and Nicole will discover a forever family of their own.

 

Buy Link: books2read.com/u/bPJNax

 

Author Info:

Melanie D. Snitker has enjoyed writing fiction for as long as she can remember. She started out creating episodes of cartoon shows she wanted to see as a child, and her love of writing grew from there. She and her husband live in Texas with their two children, who keep their lives full of adventure, and two dogs, who add a dash of mischief to the family dynamics. In her spare time, Melanie enjoys photography, reading, crocheting, baking, and hanging out with family and friends.

 

www.melaniedsnitker.com

https://twitter.com/MelanieDSnitker

www.facebook.com/melaniedsnitker

www.instagram.com/melaniedsnitker/

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A Thankful Life by Sue A. Fairchild

Posted by Julie on November 9, 2017 in Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, Thankful November guest blogger |

A THANKFUL LIFE

By Sue A. Fairchild

 

 

Nine days ago my mom turned seventy-five and, for that, I’m thankful. Yes, seventy-five is a huge milestone in a person’s life, but, for my mom, it’s an even bigger accomplishment.

Over thirty years ago, she was diagnosed with emphysema and given only a year to live. Her doctor at the time failed to educate himself on this pulmonary disease and quickly jumped to a conclusion that has proven to be very, very false.

His diagnosis put my mother into a state of depression. She sequestered herself in her bedroom, rarely emerging to be social or interact with her family. As a young child, I didn’t really notice. She was still my mom and, other than being “sick,” she seemed “normal” to me. But when I look back on photos now I can see the haunted look in her eyes and the ever present pink bathrobe. I wonder why it didn’t affect me as a child, but I’m thankful I simply loved her and accepted how things were.

As that year passed, and her health seemed to stagnate, my mother began to wonder, “What if the doctor’s wrong?” My father pushed her to get a second opinion and, finally, she agreed. That second doctor proved to be our family’s saving grace.

“You could live to be eighty,” he told her. “It is all how you look at it. If you fight, take the right medication…you could live to be whatever age you want.”

Now, at the age of seventy-five, it’s plain to see the second doctor (who remained our doctor for many years after that) was right.

Although the first diagnosis affected a portion of my mother’s life she cannot get back, something inside her pushed her to find another answer and we were blessed to find the second doctor.

I’m thankful the first doctor was wrong and I’m thankful the second doctor was right. In fact, he did better than being right. Through the years, he gave my mother hope and determination.

When she felt weak, he would give her advice and encouragement. He got her into an exercise program that, I believe, has prolonged her life even further. Even after he retired, if we ran into him at a store, he would hug my mother and ask how she was doing. His kind nature formed a friendship that transcended the doctor-patient one and helped our entire family to deal with this disease head on.

I could be mad at the first doctor. I could curse him for the year my mother spent in her bed. We could have sued him, or slandered his name. But what good would it have done? Instead, I choose to be thankful for that doctor who bolstered her spirits, who found the right medications for me and who chose to be her friend as well as her doctor.

Years later, that doctor has passed on, but my mother still holds tight to his encouragements and will tell you her story and how this doctor saved her life.

As I look at my seventy-five-year old mother now, I think, “She is amazing.” She’s outlived some in our family who had better health than she has. She fights every single day against the doctor who said, “You have only one year to live.” And even when she feels weak, depressed or attacked by her own body, she still fights on.

And, for that, I am thankful.

(Want to read more about my awesome mom? Check out this blog post!)

Sue A. Fairchild is a freelance editor who specializes in substantial edits and Christian writing. Her editing credits have included a suspense/thriller series, a fantasy series and numerous other genres. In addition, Sue is also a writer who has been published in Christian devotion magazines, two Chicken Soup for the Soul books, as well as self-published two novels currently available on Amazon (“What You Think You Know” and “Summer’s Refrain”) and is currently working on a third.

Sue’s attention to detail and passion for good writing assists her clients in making their work shine. She’d love to talk with you about editing your next big project! Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or email her (sueafairchild74@gmail.com) for a free consultation and estimate (max. 2 pages).

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Grateful for the Pain by Normandie Fischer

GRATEFUL FOR THE PAIN

Normandie Fischer

 

Pain can shatter us, toss us off a cliff, and render us immobile. Or it can hone and refine us. I recently read the words of a man who discovered he had a horrible form of cancer. Although his disease was incurable and soon-to-be terminal, he rejoiced. He knew the end of the story.

How did he get from the pain to the joy?

One of my worst rejections forced me into the new and frightening role of Single Mother. I thought my world destroyed that day, my years of clinging to faith a mockery. I didn’t leap, as that man with cancer had, to show myself strong and full of grace. Instead, it took days and months and years before I could look up and declare a true thank You for the pain, one that I actually meant. The first thanks had been obligatory: one is supposed to praise, no matter what. To say, “Thank You,” before one feels the truth of it.

Have you ever been there? Been at the place where all you can do is question why? Felt unlovely, unwanted, ignored, cast out? Hurt physically or mentally beyond what you thought you could endure? And wondered what celestial game had tossed you out with the garbage?

What did you do about it?

Some of us dump God. Or church. Or men or women or friendships or….  The list goes on. We find anything and everything to blame.

And some, some few, grab the hem of His garment and hold on. Stand at the Red Sea, as it roils in front of us and the Egyptian Army gathers behind, and we say, “Thank You. Praise You. I trust You in the middle of this mess.”

And something happens. Maybe not immediately, but one day something happens. We may have to walk through days where failures abound and the world’s tilt leans away from us, but one day we do wake to find the pain easing, the hurt less, the heart full, and the New Plan unfolding in our life.

I’m living another New Plan now. But if I hadn’t faced the pain of that rejection, if I hadn’t become a leftee from marriage, I might never have known the joy that the Father had in store for me. A new day, a new life, and a best friend of my very own. We’re fifteen years into a life lived together with the God Who turned our mourning into joy.

 

Part of my New Plan was also publication. My agent actually sold two of my books, and now I have six on the shelves. My pain and my failures not only provided fodder for my made-up worlds, but they allowed me to climb into my stories and hurt with my characters, and I’m that much richer for the journey.

What about you? What are you doing with the hard places in your life?

Normandie Fischer is a sailor who writes and a writer who sails. After studying sculpture in Italy, she returned to the States, graduated suma cum laude, and went to work in the publishing field, moving from proofreader up the ladder to senior editor, honing technical tomes, creative non-fiction, and, later, fiction.

 

She and her husband spent a number of years on board their 50-foot ketch, Sea Venture, sailing from San Francisco to the Sea of Cortez, Mexico, and on through the Panama Canal. They now live in coastal North Carolina, where she takes care of her aging mother and, whenever possible, enjoys her two grown children and two grandchildren. She is the author of six novels.

Sailing Out of the Darkness

Love conquers all? Maybe for some people.

When Samantha flies to Italy to gain distance from a disastrous affair with her childhood best friend, the last thing on her mind is romance. But Teo Anderson is nothing like her philandering ex-husband or her sailing buddy, Jack, who, despite his live-in girlfriend, caught her off guard with his flashing black eyes.

Teo has his own scars, both physical and emotional, that he represses by writing mysteries—until one strange and compelling vision comes to life in the person of Sam. Seeking answers, he offers friendship to this obviously hurting woman, a friendship that threatens to upend his fragile peace of mind.

Journey with Sam over the cobalt waters of the Mediterranean. Sip and sup with Sam and Teo in Italian cafes. What happens next will keep you turning the pages as consequences escalate, and the fallout threatens them all.

Normandie’s links:

Website: www.normandiefischer.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WritingOnBoard

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NormandieFischer/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Normandie-Fischer/e/B00BSIF2NI/

 

Sailing out of Darkness links:

https://www.amazon.com/Sailing-out-Darkness-Carolina-Coast/dp/0997185538/

https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Sailing-out-of-Darkness-Audiobook/B076KZQ1H2

 

 

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Thankful Series Kick-Off: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Posted by Julie on November 1, 2017 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

Hi! Remember me? I’m the author of this blog. It’s been so long I feel like I need to re-introduce myself. I look like this:

 

This blog was my first, my baby, the one writing vessel I clung tightly to as I sought publication. In the last couple years as I followed God’s call to have my own writing and speaking ministry (and released four books,) this little blog hasn’t featured my own voice for a long time.

 

And I hate that.

I miss it.

 

I hope to catch you up with this post, and most importantly, kick off what I think might be the 10th year of the thankful series here at juliearduini.com. Each November I hand the blog over to anyone wishing to share why they are thankful. There are some great guest bloggers lined up with amazing gratitude. I don’t know about you, but I feel this is a critical juncture at this time, in this world.

 

I need to hear positive words. Encouragement. Affirmation. Thankfulness.

 

Why not start here?

If you aren’t subscribed to the blog, click to the right sidebar and you will be able to receive the posts to your inbox. You don’t want to miss the thankful series, trust me!

 

This year hasn’t been horrible, but it’s been hard. I figured I’d be thankful for the good, the bad, and the ugly.

 

Let’s go.

 

THE GOOD

  • We have two grandsons! They both live in the same state (sadly, not the state we live in,) and are very close in age. It’s going to be so much fun watching them grow up together.
  • Our daughter is thriving. She has braces, she is on student council, and bouncing back after a brutal 7th grade experience.
  • Our son is doing well as a sophomore at Kent State. This semester he’s 100% online, and that’s been such a blessing for me with various projects.
  • We have a wonderful family living in our rental property. God did an amazing thing orchestrating it.
  • I finished the Surrendering Time series, and am grateful for the readers who have been transformed by the surrender messages.
  • I received an invitation to join Inspy Romance, and love being a monthly blogger with them.
  • I created a community of encouragement called 180 Encouragements. For us, we pick a slip each school day and start it with words of life. It’s also for anyone else to take the images/words and encourage someone else.

THE BAD

  • My word for the year is transformation and I never thought I’d see so much change hit so fast and hard. Our son saw so much change with friendships, school, and work. What was hard to watch was knowing he’d done all the right things. It was Christ refining him, growing him. As a mom, it was tough to observe.
  • As I mentioned, our daughter did not have a great 7th grade year. Like her brother, she was doing the right things and there were key people around her who destroyed the joy she so naturally carried.
  • Car repairs. My husband’s retirement was on the table as something to talk about with a timeline. Then the transmission on his car went. The repairs were crushing. Our son’s car had a major repair that was a fire hazard, and the dealer really could have cared less when I brought it to their attention, making us pay $200 more than they quoted, and that quote was outrageous. Retirement? We can’t even afford for him to talk about it anymore.
  • We had a situation where we trusted and got burned. It was a financial gift that was a sacrifice for us that cost us thousands in the end. More than that, it paralyzed us from trusting for a bit. It forced us to work on restoring property we didn’t have time or money to invest, but we had to. Things we lent that were nearly or brand new were lost or destroyed.

THE UGLY

  • Not even a week into the new year and we learned that our friend’s three year old daughter was taken from them through the actions of a refugee who received her license although she can’t speak or read English. Before this tragedy, she had already been cited for driving down the wrong way. In this instance she hit both the girl’s father, and the girl, while her friends from pre school witnessed it. The driver was not cited, and last I knew, has her license and is still driving. I don’t want to be political, but I will be real—this aspect of the refugee debate has not been discussed, and it is a real issue. No one should have to attend a funeral for a child. No. One.
  • All the changes with the kids took me to a new place I had not known outside of hormone imbalance, anxiety. I feared new situations for them and wanted to be one step ahead. I wanted to take their pain and wrap it in a ball and throw it all away. I yearned to talk to the people who hurt them, intentional or not, I wanted to have the last word. I was exhausted even after sleeping, craved sugary foods again, and felt like I backtracked in health progress from last year.
  • So many tragedies this year. Hurricanes. Earthquakes. Terrorism. Division. Ugly isn’t a strong enough word.

It’s hard to be thankful for the bad and the ugly, but as much as I can be for these hard and even terrible things, I am. With the kids, I had to lean on God and trust Him. Instead of acting on my temptations, I was able to wait on God and watch Him work wonders. And He is. I still have a quick seize of fear when something new or shocking comes our way, but my time is shorter in surrendering that fear to Him instead of trying to tackle it for myself.

With our friends, they are grieving, understandably. I am thankful to see they have a very strong support system. They created a page on Facebook encouraging people to do acts of Kindness in Regan’s memory. Their goal is for her not to be forgotten. There is also space dedicated to Regan at The Wild Animal Park in Chittenago, New York. Families can now have a seat and photo opportunities at a place Regan loved. Many people came together to make this happen. Recently, people are painting rocks and hiding them as another way to honor and remember her. These are ways to make the goal a reality, and help her family.

These days, it’s hard to be thankful. I haven’t met anyone this year who has boasted of a perfect life. There is hurt and hardship everywhere. Thankfulness makes a difference and is a choice. I pray the posts throughout this month lift you up.

Just like you have for me.

 

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Why Be Thankful? By Sue A. Fairchild

WHY BE THANKFUL?

By Sue A. Fairchild

Ten years ago, if you would have asked me what I was thankful for, I would have provided you with the basics most people list:  Family, health, job…I may have even included God at that time, but He probably would have been my last thought. (And only because I would have been pressured, as a Christian, to say so.)

Since then, I met and married a devoted Christian man and began to dig deeper into my own faith. I searched my heart for the things that I was truly thankful for—not just the mundane, everyday things—but the things that Christ has asked me to be thankful for. That’s when I finally began to discover just how much I have to be thankful for.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV) says, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

We should be giving thanks in all circumstances. Do we know what that word all means? Everything. Every minute of our day, every second of our lives, and for every single thing that happens…even the bad stuff. “In” means during all these circumstances. Some people have also stated that this verse also means to be thankful for all circumstances. Think about the differences. “In” is in the midst of it all, the hardships, the heartaches, we need to thank God for all the good things He is providing during those times. But we can also be thankful “for” the circumstances. This means we appreciate those hard times, when they come, because they cause us to grow, learn and lean on the Lord more strongly.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: It’s not that easy. That was my immediate thought, too. How could we possibly be thankful for everything? How can we be thankful when we lose a much-needed job or suffer the loss of a loved one? Who could be thankful when faced with illness? How can we be thankful that those types of times may be headed our way? (That seems really crazy to me.) It’s not an easy task.

My heart was once broken badly and it took me many years to grow from the experience. It was not easy then to be thankful. In fact, I often yelled at God, begged and pleaded with Him, too, trying to figure out how I could ever be happy, and thankful, again. As I look back on that time, I still wish it were different, but I am thankful now. I wouldn’t be with my husband now if it hadn’t happened—a man who has helped me grow closer to the Lord. And I wouldn’t have had those moments with God—the begging and pleading and yelling—that drew me closer to Him. Only when I could say, “Okay, Lord. You tell me how,” was I able to finally find the path to the truth of our Lord. Part of that path includes being thankful for the time and part of it is knowing that if it ever comes again, I’ll know God is looking out for me and using that moment for His greater purposes.

I know it’s different for loss. We can never have those loved ones back. So how can we be thankful then? I look again to the Word.

Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV) says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Yes. This is how I try to see things in the most difficult of situations. As a Christian, I am never alone, especially when I can take things to Him in prayer. Christ is always here with me and ready to listen. When I’m facing situations that seem too incomprehensible to bear, I look to Him. Only Christ can give me peace about it. Only He can heal my wounds, cover my transgressions, patch up my broken heart and guard it as I move forward.

Now that I think about it, I’m thankful for really just one thing: God. Because it is through Him that all other goodness ebbs and flows through my life. Without Him, there would be nothing to be thankful for.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17 NIV)

*************************************************************************

Sue A. Fairchild

Sue A. Fairchild

Sue A. Fairchild is a freelance editor and writer who specializes in substantial edits and Christian writing. She has been published in The Secret Place and The Upper Room devotion magazines as well as numerous other publications. Her blog, Sue’s Simple Snippets, explores the everyday moments of her life in order to find happiness (which is sometimes addressed with snark first.)



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