Don’t Forget the Good Kids by Sherry Chamblee

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Sherry Chamblee
This little article I’m writing here is a plea – the ministry leaders, youth workers, Jr. Church leaders, and yes, respectfully even a plea to pastors. Please don’t forget the good kids.

In your honorable attempts to minister to those hurting, often rebellious kids, don’t forget the ones that are sitting quietly in their seats, hands folded, just waiting to be picked for the quiet seat prize. You can’t ignore the ones that are constantly giving you problems – I understand. They need to be rewarded when they have a good day. But please, let the good ones get that prize sometimes, too.

The ones that don’t always seem to need the incentive to do right.

You know, I can hear it in my head now ….”Well, we’re supposed to be willing to serve God without rewards.”

Yes, true, but how good are you at that as an adult even? Honestly. I need rewards still. God knows we need rewards – He promises them to us because He knows we need the incentive. How much more do little kids need them still?


But my plea is about more than just a little quiet seat prize. It goes deeper.

This is burdening my heart right now. I see kids growing up in church, being told to keep their noses clean because that’s what God wants. And guess what – that’s what many of them do. Then what do we do? We ignore them in favor of the one who went astray, and then has come back. We give the opportunity to minister to those who have done things, then repented and come back to God. (Please, please don’t mistake my words here – I love the prodigals as much as you do, I’ve worked with many and love them as part of my own family – but this particular post isn’t about them this time, so bear with me, k?)

Those kids ought to be given those opportunities, yes.

But the ones that never went astray ought to get some attention, too. These are kids just waiting to be used. They’re waiting for some word of encouragement that their faithfulness meant something. To you. Yes, we know it means something to God, but sometimes we all need encouragement from someone with ‘skin on,’ right?

What use is it to preach that we ought to stay right with God, if we then ignore the kids that are staying right with God?

Ultimately this is a plea for balance. I believe God is a God of balance. Imbalance in either direction is not His ideal way. So I’m not saying ignore one group over another. I’m saying lavish attention on the prodigals, the rebels, the ones constantly demanding your attention through constant correction – then at the same time lavish attention on the quiet ones, the ones sitting and waiting for a favorable eye to be turned upon them, the ones doing what’s right because it’s right.

So please, next time you’re looking around at the kids under your teaching, remember there are both types of kids sitting there. And both types need you equally.

The quiet ones might not seem as urgent to you, but believe me, ignoring them has far-reaching consequences.

These kids grow up into adults who wonder why they’re overlooked, set aside in favor of someone with a more… shall we say ‘sensational’… testimony. They begin to wonder what their place is in the church, and what all this has been for if it won’t help other people around them. They’re even sometimes told they can’t minister because they’ve never experienced going off and being a prodigal son. This causes huge frustration, disappointment, and ultimately despair of ever being used – because they ‘can’t minister’, but they can’t go off and be a prodigal either because they truly want to do what’s right for God. It becomes a vicious cycle then – they get discouraged so they just do what it takes to get by in church…living right, doing what they’re told, but no longer willing to go the extra mile. Then their leaders lose any confidence they had in them, and they wind up relegated to the ‘always willing to do clean-up’ category, but nothing more than that.

You know, in all honesty, I think this is where much of the ‘mossy-backed-Christian’ syndrome comes from. It’s a vicious cycle, and it needs to be broken.


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Ada Brownell

Yesterday I learned a beautiful young woman I know graduated from college an atheist. She spent her youth going to church, enjoying God’s house, and listening to her parents and grandparents pray.

What happened?

It started when she learned in school God didn’t design her. Her genes supposedly came from monkeys. Acceptance of evil and immorality is good. Christians are the source of evil.
Brainwashing and propaganda isn’t new to the world, nor even new to America, but the depth and the scope of erasing faith, especially from youth, is now more widespread than I’ve seen in my lifetime.

Truth is, most of our teens have no idea what the Bible really says or what Christians believe, but they know the atheistic theories.

A young man came to our house wanting a copy of the Sunday magazine in the newspaper that highlighted evolution. He needed the publication for a school assignment.
“You know evolution is still an unproven theory,” I said. “It’s regarded as truth because so many scientists accept it.

His mouth fell open. “How can they do that?”

In Imagine the Future You, my motivational Bible study for youth, I teach fundamentals for success, Christian living, careers, dating and marriage, but I also give readers evidence for belief in God, the Bible, and Jesus as Savior, because following Christ is essential to a great future.

If a person doesn’t believe Genesis 1:1, he’s not going to believe anything else. So I talk about how our secularist society uses propaganda and brainwashing on youth raised in church.

Evolution has no proof and there is wide disagreement among scientists, who have many theories and strong faith in their atheism. I learned this in college, but also from interviews as a journalist, through research, and study for my Christian teaching.

The “missing links” are still missing, which is the reason some scientists teach the punctuated equilibrium theory where species jump from one to another. True, scientists observe changes, or mutations, in species—but when the changes are complete, the creature is still a fruit fly, fish, or bird.

I remind readers about the missing-link fraud evolutionists created that fooled folks from 1912 to 1953—the Piltdown Man. I point out DNA tests showed Neanderthals are not man’s ancestor.

I reveal four different Christian ideas on the days of creation:

24-hour days of creation

24-hour days of re-creation (an earlier creation was destroyed)

Revelatory days of creation (the length of time God took to reveal his creation work to Moses)

Age-long days of creation

I pray Imagine the Future You will help youth make a decision to follow Christ and God’s Word. I emphasize man can’t prove God is there, and atheists can’t prove He’s not. Only thing, there is a reason a Christian must believe: Faith necessary for salvation (See John 3:16).

So, after teaching youth most of my life and writing for Christian publications since I was 15, I still see a harvest field that needs planting, watering, and reaping. May God give the increase.


A motivational Bible study by Ada Brownell

Imagine the Future
The intriguing thing about our dreams is we’re always the “Star.” Comedy, romance, murder mystery, drama, documentary of a heroine—there we are in the middle of everything.
When we’re awake we also star in our dreams. Dream big and work toward your goals and you’ll write a story with your life that might amaze you.
Whether your story is a tragedy or a cherished classic depends on who you want to become and if you pursue your dreams.
If you continue to do or not do what you practice now, what kind of future do you imagine for yourself?
The decisions we make ourselves affect our future more than those made for us. We have control of our attitudes, our work ethic, our sense of wonder, our faith to believe in God and for great things. It is up to us where we end up in life and eternity.
This Bible study will help you discover evidence for faith; how to look and be your best; who can help; interesting information about dating, love and marriage; choosing a career; how to deposit good things into your brain you can spend; and how to avoid hazards that jeopardize a successful life on earth and for eternity, all mingled with true stories that can make you smile.

Review: How I would have loved to sit at Mrs. Brownell’s knee when I was a teen. This wholesome book resounds with sage, Godly advice and could be picked up again and again as needs arise. Worthwhile for parents too. Much fodder for family discussion too!

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Christian Meditation by Donna Fasano

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Donna Fazano

Be still and know that I am God. ~Psalms 46:10

I don’t know about the activity level of your mind, but mine seems to never shut up. The thoughts flow, from one to another to another to another. Meditation offers me a chance to stop the thoughts and experience a little peace. Some Christians are reluctant to practice meditation because they think it stems from Eastern religions such as Buddhism or Hinduism. There is nothing inherently non-Christian about meditation. In fact, there are several beautiful verses from Psalms that mention meditation. Here are two of my favorites:

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight,
oh Lord, my rock and my redeemer. ~Psalms 19:14

My meditation of him will be sweet: I will be glad in the Lord. ~Psalms 104:34

If the word meditation bothers you, think of it as silent prayer, or quiet devotion, or holy silence. When I practice daily meditation, I find a deep and meaningful tranquility. My heart is filled nearly to bursting with the Love of God. God’s love, I have learned through practicing the Prayer of Quiet, is nothing like the love humans experience here on earth. It is impossible for me to describe the emotion that permeates my being during my daily meditative devotion. All I can do is urge you to spend time each day in utter silence with God. It’s amazing what a little listening can do! May God bless you on your spiritual journey.

~ ~ ~ ~

About Prayer of Quiet

Prayer of Quiet

Do you wish you could escape the chaos of the world? The Prayer of Quiet is a spiritual practice that can be used every single day to help you do just that. Communing with God in utter stillness is a method of devotion that is deeply rooted in the Christian tradition and has life-changing potential.

Prayer of Quiet is a short, simple instruction book offered as a means to open our eyes and our hearts so we might become more aware of God. It might be time to stop talking and start listening.

Prayer of Quiet is available in paperback, in large print paperback, and for Kindle.

~ ~ ~ ~

Donna Fasano is a USA Today Bestselling Author whose books have sold nearly 4 million copies worldwide. Learn more about her by visiting her blog, and you can find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Prayer of Quiet is her first work of non-fiction.


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CrossReads Book Blast for Elizabeth Maddrey

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Hope Deferred
By Elizabeth Maddrey

About the Book:

Christian fiction for women.

It’s been a tough year. Twin sisters June and July and their husbands spent the last year trying to start a family. Now, as the sisters work with fertility specialists to see how medicine can help them conceive, each must determine what treatment is right for them in the midst of overwhelming options, none of which promise immediate results.

Will their deferred hope leave them heart sick, or start them on the path to the fulfillment of their dreams?


ElizabethMaddreyAuthor1in1Elizabeth Maddrey began writing stories as soon as she could form the letters properly and has never looked back. Though her practical nature and love of math and organization steered her into computer science for college and graduate school, she has always had one or more stories in progress to occupy her free time.

When she isn’t writing, Elizabeth is a voracious consumer of books and has mastered the art of reading while undertaking just about any other activity. Elizabeth is a member of ACFW and lives in the suburbs of Washington D.C. with her husband and their two incredibly active little boys.

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We would like to send out a special THANK YOU to all of the CrossReads book blast bloggers!

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Magnificent God by Tina Webb

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Tina Webb

How totally amazing is the perfection of His legal transaction. Jesus Christ paid our penalty once and for all. How wonderful is His love! How miraculous is this great exchange! How breathtaking is His favor! The perfection of His new covenant and the magnificence of His plan evoke the deepest sentiments of gratitude from our hearts. He secured eternal life with His Life.
What is eternal life anyway?

John 17:3 says it is knowing Him. In the Greek “know” is translated as an experiential knowledge of God.

Have you ever experienced something so breathtaking that its glory is forever etched in your memory? This picture is my first sunset which I experienced at 5:46 am one morning.

Two of my children and I stood on an Atlantic coast beach and stared as the light sky whispered of its upcoming showcase. Moments later, a small orange curve entered the center of the watery horizon. I watched as the sun rose, slowly, its bright glow evoking one word from my lips: “magnificent”. I silently worshiped Jesus Christ as I watched the daily sign that had been set in our earthly sky.

The end of my novel, Abba’s Lament highlights God’s magnificent plan for redemption. Mind you, it is not an easy task to write a speculative fantasy Christian novel. This literary task kept me prayerful as I considered time before Adam was created.
Setting: Heaven’s Throne, The Father (Abba) and Emmanuel (pre-incarnate Christ) discuss the recent rebellion, the banishment of one-third of the angels (tenants) and future plans for the earth.

From Epilogue of Abba’s Lament

“Abba, what about the rest of our universe? The rebels can go anywhere, can they not?”

“They cannot. I have set the boundaries of the rebel’s domain. Earth is their domain.”
Abba looked at the Earth. It convulsed and heaved as it traveled in its orbit.

“I will renew Earth by My Spirit. I will remake the desolate places and one day Earth will again reflect My glory. I will create again. I will create a new being. But this time,” Abba’s heart swelled in excitement, “I will breathe My Spirit into this being. I will create him and he will procreate. I will put seed in him. All earthly beings will originate from him. I will create him a little lower than the tenants, but I will create him in Our image, in Our likeness.” Abba gazed at the Earth. “I will ordain him as leader of Earth.”
Emmanuel looked out towards Earth. “Abba, this new being will still have the ability to choose.”

Abba nodded slowly. “Yes, that is correct. And Satan, the Queen of Heaven and every rebel tenant will attempt to pervert Truth and cause this new being to worship other gods and themselves. They will disguise Truth at any cost.”

Abba removed His eyes from Earth and stared at His Son.

Emmanuel, the Bright and Morning Star knew His Father’s thoughts. Agreement was instant.

“My Son, My plan is holy. It will defeat evil. It will hold captivity captive. It will defeat the power of iniquity and sin. It will defeat death and its fruit. And one day…”

Abba looked at Earth and could hear the groaning of His creation crying out in dismay. What had been created to be beautiful, bountiful, lush and majestic was becoming a dark wasteland, void of life.

“Yes, Abba, one day…” agreed Emmanuel.

In unison they replied, “It will be finished.”

What a magnificent plan. Hallelujah!

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Lorieen Henry
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. (James 1:19)

Greetings! This post is a bit different from what I usually share. However, I felt led to pose this question to you as well as share a little bit of my academic reading with you. I took a class two months ago where I had to do a Practical Book Review. So below, I share a snippet from that review in hopes that it may help you. We are never too old to improve! This journey of life requires working every day. That is if we plan to live eternally.

If you don’t remember anything else about this post, remember to PURPOSELY LISTEN TO OTHERS. I have been guilty of going through the motions of listening (at times) or just waiting to get my two cents out, but it is time for change. Let us get James 1:19 down in our hearts and actively live by it.

Heavenly Father, thank you for this day. Thank you for brand new mercies and the opportunity to impact lives through listening. It is not my best quality but through you all things are possible. In Jesus name I pray, amen.

My Review

Petersen, J. C. (2007). Why don’t we listen better?: Communicating & connecting in relationships. Portland, OR: Petersen Publications.

Communication is an integral part of our human existence. James Petersen’s book, Why don’t we listen better?: Communicating & connecting in relationships was designed as a communication manual because he realized that most people believe that they listen well but do not. He uses practical insights and a collection of listening techniques to assist in improving daily interactions and difficult relationships.

This book is broken down into five major divisions that make it user friendly as a reference. In part one, Petersen creates The Flat Brain Theory of Emotions which uses the body organs of the stomach, heart and head to depict how we can connect better with others (p. 16). Elements of all three – our views (head), how we feel about them (stomach), and openness to another’s concerns (heart) must work in balance to have communication that connects at a deeper level (p. 17). When unbalanced, they cause the Flat-Brain Syndrome where the stomach (emotional) bloats and thoughts (head) are askew (p. 25). Consequently, the dance of overloaded emotions between the talker and listener in attack mode result in the Flat-Brain Tango (p. 33-37). According to Petersen, unhealthy communication can be compared to that of a courtroom situation where both sides attack and defend with winning as their ultimate goal (p. 35).

In part two, The Talker-Listener Process is introduced to foster an environment for the talker and listener to have healthy communication exchange by taking turns (p. 49). Petersen created the Talker-Listener Card (TLC) as a tool for the talker and listener which outline the rules of engagement for both parties and serves as a silent yet vocal referee. Leaving no room for error, the cards have goals and warnings for the talker and listener. The goal of the talker is to share feelings and thoughts while refraining from accusing, attacking labeling and judging. On the other hand, the listener provides a safe, understanding and clarifying environment while refraining from agreeing, disagreeing, advising or defending. This is a great taking turn’s system of communication which was established to remind us to listen first and talk second (p. 55-64).

Petersen’s third part focuses on The Listening Techniques which detail the communication traps. He highlights the following six traps: ritual listening, Perry Masons (disguising questions as statements), “Why?”, “Not?”, “I understand” and “Yes, but”. He recommends that the traps be memorized because they kill the hopes of productive communication exchange. However, knowing them will keep you out of unnecessary drama (p. 115-122).

Parts four and five wrap up with extended examples using the Talker-Listener Process to deal with groups and learning to grow in empathy, genuineness and warmth (p. 8). Using the TLC in groups was used as a game to practice and teach good listening skills. Seeing the Talker-Listener Process in a fun light helped the groups retain its message of listen first and talk second. The author leaves us with this final word, “become people in whose presence good things happen.”

And from the nuggets that I extracted in chapter 25, I make this declaration: “Each day, my goal is to walk this communication journey with others in a way that will leave them in better shape than I found them” (p. 209).



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Lines in Pleasant Places by Mary C. Findley

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lines violet flood final 25

As soon as Violet arrives with the wagon train Ben can finally be married. But is she truly in love with Ben, or with the five or six trunks of things her letters say she can’t do without?

When trouble stalks the widowed young schoolteacher, will Ben go past protecting her and threaten both their futures? What will it
take to stop a violent man determined to possess his dead brother’s wife?

How can Ben save Violet and himself from a ruthless outlaw gang? Will he ever stop paying for that headline, or even he live to tell
it at all? An avenger of blood looking to settle scores is not the only thing Ben discovers when he helps a man with a past.

Everything Ben has worked and prayed and bled for could be washed away in a day. Can an unexpected visitor from the past change the
course of a raging flood with Cascade right in its path?

From Chapter Eighteen – Drawing Fire
The door to Elijah’s room burst open suddenly. Ben heard a heavy tread enter the room. The door slammed shut. Ben groped for Obadiah and shoved him behind Elijah’s chair. Ben sat up carefully, holding his eye, which throbbed intensely now.
“Lookit th’ he’p y’ got naow,” Matt Dotter’s voice sneered. “A’ ol’ geezer, a brat, an’ a half a man. This gon’ be easy.”
“Will you let them go?” Ben stood up slowly and held onto the wall for support.
“Shore, aftah ah’m done an’ oan mah way. Ah hit y’, din’ Ah? Ah knows Ah hit y’.”
“No,” Ben laughed. “I fell down the hill and hit my head. You missed, Matt.”
“Y’ lie. Ah doan’ miss a’ thet range.”
“It’s too bad Caleb didn’t get a shot at you. He wouldn’t have missed. Maybe he’s figured out about your friend and he’s on his way back here right now.”
“He’ll b’ late. Y’ jes’ quit turnin’ them wheels insi’e yo’ haid, Carlisle, an’ doan’ b’ fig’rin’ haow y’ kin beat me outta killin’ y’. Ah will hurt these three if y’ gimme trouble.”
“ How do I know you won’t kill them after I’m dead?”
Matt Dotter laughed, a cruel, icy laugh. “Ah c’d kill ev’body in this taown ef Ah wanted t’. Y’ doan’ ha’ no say in what Ah do, ‘spesh’lly since you’ll b’ daid.”
“That’s what I thought,” Ben said, stalling for time and wishing his vision would clear.

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Lines in Pleasant Places


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Gems from Pastor Jim by Jim Hughes for 6/24/2014

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Jim Hughes

Ps. 19:8 The commandments of the LORD are right, bringing joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are clear; giving insight to life.

There is nothing wrong with God’s commandments. They are perfectly suited for our needs. They help us to live right both with God and man. They are not unreasonable in any way. They are for our good. Those who embrace them discover freedom for their souls. Those who reject them are held in bondage by their sins.

The commandments of the Lord bring joy to the heart. They help us make faith a vital part of our living. They help us keep in good standing with God. There is great joy in knowing that all is well between us and God. Living God’s way takes the doubts about our salvation out of the equation.

The commandments of the Lord are clear. God does not leave us in the dark. He wants us to know how to please Him. He wants us to know how not to sin against Him. He wants us to make it to heaven. He gives His commandments to us in terms we can understand so that no one has an excuse for not doing them when they are made known to them.

The commandments of the Lord give insight to life. Wise is he who takes what God says seriously. He who does not strive to live out God’s Word will not make it to heaven, nor will life make much sense to him. There is no way but God’s way to heaven. Those who obey God know a peace and joy in living that no one else in the world can ever know.

If you want to be right with God, you must live under the authority of His Word. If you want to know joy in your heart, you must live underneath its authority, and if you want understanding about life and how you fit in, you must live underneath its authority.
C Through Marriage
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Five Troubles of Being a Prolific Writer by Suzanne D. Williams

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When I set out to write fiction, I decided to go against the grain and put out as many stories as I could in a short amount of time. My plan wasn’t to write sloppy stories (after all, what author plans to do that?) but to concentrate on novellas. To date, I have 42 books for sale at Amazon. This year alone, I have released 19 (novels and novellas)

Now, I put the numbers out there fully aware that my methods are controversial to some. But every writer’s style is different, the method they use to craft a story unique to them, and the time period it takes him or her to complete a single tale structured to their individual lives. What I do isn’t what she does or him or that one over there, and there’s nothing wrong with any of that. We don’t have to be alike.

However, there are a few things that happen when you have so many books released, and they change your behavior. Here’s my top five.

1. Your character names get creative.

A city in New Jersey. Something Italian, sounds like pasta. A girl’s name that could be a boy. A title, that isn’t a name at all.

Name lists are my dear friends. I have dozens bookmarked and can tell you which ones work better for me. Adding in foreign names is a plus; the more unusual, the more I tend to like it. Plus, I try to avoid, as much as possible, the names everyone is using. (I’ve partially failed at this, but I like to think the surname saved them.)

Still, after all that, sometimes I get totally stumped who a character should be. Personally, I have a hard time using the names of people I know. But once you have so many characters, it definitely happens. One thing I will never do is use my own name. I did have a Susan (which is NOT my name), but there will never be another Suzanne. It’s simply too creepy.

2. You can’t remember character names from story to story.

Was his name Mark or Matt? Didn’t I have a Tanner somewhere? Was that Taylor, the girl, or the Taylor family?

For the most part, I remember all my characters, but on occasion, someone mentions one and I get them reversed. I’m not alone. I’ve heard others misspeak. It happens. I think there’s a limit to what a brain can contain at any one time and when it gets too full, something shifts internally. At least, that’s what I tell myself.

3. Ye olde repetitive storyline.

I write romance, so boy meets girl IS repetitive.

Believe it or not, you can start a story in an unusual way, have great characters with interesting names, feel like you’re really on the ball and have good writing flow, then get to the end and realize it’s a carbon copy of another you’ve written, or, on occasion, a story you read.

Truth is, there are only so many times you can come up with something totally unique. At some point, you will start doing something similar in any small way to something else. I have tons of stories I haven’t completed for that very reason. I lost my inspiration when it felt like a duplicate.

On another level, there are storylines out there I refuse to write – the ones that have been overdone. Unless … I find a way to twist it to fit my own personality. When this happens, it’s generally unplanned, and that makes it far more special to me.

4. I don’t have time to read and review.

“I have this story. Would you trade reviews?”

I’d love to, but I cannot put out so many stories, eat, sleep, go to work, AND read. I’m lucky to take in a chapter a week anymore.

Then there’s the difficulty of reviewing. I’ve had to make a policy not to review for authors I know. It’s simply too hard for me to not step on toes. That said, if I read something I love, I’m going to say so, regardless of who wrote it. That’s common courtesy and a Biblical principle—speak the good, not the bad. I wish others would remember it.

5. Everyone’s a critic.

“I can tell you where you went wrong.”

Not every story I write appeals to everyone. I’ve had the same story get both high and low reviews, on the low end, for some of the most ridiculous or offensive reasons. I’ve decided I can’t afford to care. Now, don’t misunderstand me. I care that you read the story. But if I go around soaking in every comment made to me, I’d never move on to other things and come away eternally unhappy at the same time.

The negativity of life will get you down if you let it. Sometimes the best plan is to simply move on. After all, when I released that a story, it was exactly how I wanted it, and I have no intention on changing it to fit one person’s ideas. Drastically altering a book at a later date (and I’m not talking simple grammar or spelling edits) shows weakness on my part, implying I didn’t know what I was doing in the first place.

I’ve learned to be proud of my work and humbled by the positive attention anyone gives me.

There are many other things I have learned along the way – to slow down and enjoy the writing process, to laugh at stupid mistakes, to be grateful for people who consistently appreciate my work, to support other authors because we all depend on each other, and lastly, to be generous. From what God has blessed me, I should take the time to share, expecting nothing in return. That is the foundation of Christianity. God gave freely, and so I must follow His example and do the same.

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Take Me Away

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This was standing in one place and yet seeing nothing but his face. This was thousands of miles between them and home, and yet having beside her all she’d ever need to feel complete. This was long days and longer nights dedicated to the look in his eyes, the brush of his hands, the sound of his voice. This was one beautiful kiss where the world fell away and nothing remained but the mingling of their breath.


When Celia Boyle asked Gator Lawrence to take her on vacation, she had no idea that such a simple request would become so incredibly complicated. All she wanted was seven blissful days of beach sand, ocean waves, and tropical sun.

But now, her sister’s sudden visit, her own misspoken statement, and a threat by Gator’s dad to send him out of town, jeopardizes everything. Unless, they take things in their own hands and go anyway.

Yet sometimes life has a lesson to share that only experience can teach, and it could be what they’re both looking for has been with them all along.

A sweet romance by best-selling author, SUZANNE D. WILLIAMS.

Best-selling author, Suzanne D. Williams, is a native Floridian, wife, mother, and photographer. She is the author of both nonfiction and fiction books. She writes a monthly column for on the subject of digital photography, as well as devotionals and instructional articles for various blogs. She also does graphic design for self-publishing authors.

Suzanne Williams

To learn more about what she’s doing and check out her extensive catalogue of stories, visit or link with her on Facebook at


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Did you know that today is ‘Take Your Dog to Work Day?’

I don’t know about you, but I don’t have the kind of dog one could (or should) take to work.

Our dog, which we adopted a little over a year ago from a rescue shelter, is a seventy-five pound German Shepherd who thinks she’s a Chihuahua (based on her current habit of trying to climb in my lap every time I sit down).

Not only does she have an identity crisis, but she doesn’t play well with others. She jumps on people and nibbles their fingers. She barks at other dogs. She goes absolutely ballistic around horses. Yeah, thinking that taking her to a workplace would NOT be such a good idea.

But I have to brag on her a little bit. She’s so much better than she used to be about accepting our authority. It has been a long, hard struggle to convince her that she’s not the boss, but she’s finally submitting to our requests. She now sits patiently at the door while we put her leash on. We can let her run loose on our property on walks without wondering if she’ll come when we call or worrying if she’ll head to the road to chase cars. And she’s getting better about not jumping and nibbling.

As I make the correlation from our dog to my relationship with our heavenly Father, I must confess that I struggle with authority sometimes myself. Sometimes I don’t play well with others. And I often try to go my own way rather than following God the way I need to.

It’s taken a while, but I’d like to think that I’m making improvements in submitting to God’s authority over my life. You know, I don’t really even want to be the boss anymore. My past attempts to take control have only brought heartache and disappointment. Even though I don’t always like it, I’m learning to wait for God rather than barging ahead. I yearn to follow only His voice, in spite of the voices around me yammering for my attention.

Hopefully, I’m even getting better about not jumping and nibbling. (By the way, my Father loves it when I crawl in His lap, no matter how much I weigh, and He’s always willing for me to join Him in His work.)
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The Fragrance of Crushed VioletsA Bridge Unbroken

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Cathy Bryant writes Christian fiction set in the heart of Texas. Her popular romance and romantic suspense novels take place in the fictional town of Miller’s Creek, where folks are friendly, the iced tea is sweet, and Mama Beth’s front porch beckons. Her debut novel, TEXAS ROADS, was a 2009 ACFW Genesis finalist and has been on the Amazon Best-Seller list. Since then four other stand-alone novels have been added to the series, one of which was a 2013 Grace Award nominee (PILGRIMAGE OF PROMISE). Readers have compared her work to that of Karen Kingsbury and Nicholas Sparks.

Cathy Bryant
A native Texan, Cathy currently resides in the beautiful Sangre de Cristo mountains of northern New Mexico with her minister husband of over thirty years. She’s written devotions for The Upper Room devotional magazine, two devotional books, and for online sites. She also recently released her first Bible study booklet, THE FRAGRANCE OF CRUSHED VIOLETS. In addition to her writing, she enjoys thrift store shopping and romping in the great outdoors. To learn more about Cathy and her books, visit her website at


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