My Life in One Word: Blessed

Two sets of twin grandsons (left to right – Isaiah, Silas, Samuel, James)

(Fyi, I won’t be posting during Thanksgiving week. Everyone enjoy your time with loved ones!)

Have you noticed the challenge on Facebook over the past few weeks to describe your life in one word? Because of time restraints, I usually fly right past Facebook games and challenges, but this one caught my attention. This one was worthy of thought. And not just worthy of thought, but as a blogger always alert to new post ideas, I decided it would make a timely, thought-provoking blog post during this month of thanks. 

So how would I describe my life in one word? I had to think only a second before the answer came. My life in one word is blessed. At other seasons of life, the answer may have been different—as yours may be. But right now, the word blessed sums up my life pretty well.

I am blessed in my personal life. The picture above is evidence. Just look at those four sweet boys. Above and beyond blessings. In amazing answers to years of prayers, God blessed with two babies for our older daughter and her husband—and then blessed again with two babies for our younger daughter and her husband! Yes, God gave us two sets of twin grandsons! Double blessings doubled, huh?

Of course, I am blessed personally in many other regards as well. My husband and I will soon celebrate forty-two years of marriage, our daughters have been and continue to be two of the greatest blessings of our lives, and we have two wonderful and God-honoring sons-in-law as well as extended family relationships and decades-long friendships. Yes, I am extremely blessed by God.

In addition, I am blessed in my professional life. After years of hard work to position myself for possible book publication, God opened the door for my book Mother of the Bride to be published last year. A dream come true for sure. I also feel incredibly blessed to be part of the BroadStreet Publishing family and to be represented by Karen Neumair of Credo Communications, all godly folks who seek to glorify God through the books they help bring to life.

Through my work life as a writer and author, I’ve also made a host of new friends and acquaintances in the business. I feel incredibly blessed to be connected to such a fine group of people. We offer each other encouragement, support, instruction, and empathy as we understand the unique challenges and joys of the writing life. 

And finally—and most importantly—I am blessed in my spiritual life. The God of the universe is my Father, his Son Jesus is my Savior, and the Holy Spirit is my Counselor, my Comforter, and Friend. The Three in One loved me even though I was a sinner and they continue to love me unconditionally. They walk with me through life each day and I have the promise of life in heaven with them for eternity. I can know these things because God has given me the Bible, his Holy Word, to provide me with truth and to be my guidebook through life.

God has also blessed me with the spiritual gift of encouragement, and through the abilities he’s given me to write, he has allowed my written words to touch many lives—some I won’t know about until I get to heaven.

Yes, friends, I am blessed. And no matter what may come in the future, I pray I’ll always be able to see God working in my life. I pray I’ll always see his blessings.

“Lord Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you.” Psalm 84:12

*How would you describe your life in one word?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out last week. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*My photo

Midweek Morsel: God’s Call to Something New

travel-1233762_1920Has God ever asked you to do something entirely new to you? It happened to the Old Testament prophet Amos. This is how Amos described it to Amaziah the priest:

“‘. . . I was neither a prophet nor a prophet’s son, but I was a shepherd, and I also took care of sycamore fig trees. But the LORD took me from tending the flock and said to me, “Go, prophesy to my people Israel.”’” (Amos 7:14-15)

Amos had two work roles and was probably quite skilled in each, but God gave him an entirely new and different assignment. If you’re like me, you can just imagine what his initial response might have been. Lord, I’m used to dealing with sheep and trees. Are you sure you’ve got the right guy for the job? But whatever his first thoughts, we know Amos answered God’s call and followed where he led.

Are we ready to step out of our comfort zones to answer God’s call? Let’s remember Amos the next time God gives us a new and different assignment. Let’s remember that God can use us in unlikely ways!

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7

*Has God ever asked you to do something you felt inadequate for?

*CCO Public Domain Photo

Career Recipe for Writers

2597109669_d8b0b519e9_zJust for fun—and for a little introspection and insight—let’s write a recipe today.  Let’s make it a recipe for whatever our careers or main job descriptions are at this point in our lives. You game?

Here’s my recipe for being a writer:

1 computer

1 printer/scanner/copier/fax

1 direct line to God the Father (aka prayer)

2 heaping c. of “learn the ropes”

4 c. BIC (butt in chair) time (aka writing, writing, writing)

2 c. reading widely

1 writers market guide

1 c. ongoing education and conferences

½ c. business know-how/record keeping

½ c. critique group

1/2 c. business emails

1 thick skin

2 c. positive outlook

8 c. perseverance and determination

1 1/2 c. blogging

½ c. Facebook and other social media

1 T. fellowship at monthly writers group

1/8 c. networking on other blogs

Mix all together and let simmer.  Add humor and journaling to taste and eat chocolate as needed. Do this every work day.

So what does it take to do your job? What would your recipe look like? As you consider the ingredients for your recipe, do you see anything in your life that needs to be altered?

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” Colossians 3:23

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out this week. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by DeaPeaJay, Creative Commons License

Midweek Morsel: We Flourish Because God Blesses

438756167_fcc0efd8ab_z“Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold because the LORD blessed him.” Genesis 26:12

When we flourish, when we experience success and reap a hundredfold the way Isaac did, who gets the credit? If we’re not careful, we can get caught up in the way the world thinks. We’ll either think we just got lucky or we’ll start thinking our success resulted from all the smart decisions we made or all the things we did right.

Yes, the seeds of success are planted because of hard work—we reap because we sow. My own experience is testimony to that. I wouldn’t have a book coming out later this year if I had not done the hard work of writing and revising and polishing that book and if I had not taken years of steps towards securing an agent.

But when the seeds that we plant grow, when we reap in bounty, when we flourish, it’s because God blesses us. God blessed me with doors finally swinging open. He is the one who blessed me with an agent. He is the one who, against extremely high odds, opened a door at BroadStreet for me. And now as I move into a new phase of doing the best I can to help market my book when it releases, I need to remember that he holds this step in his hands as well. Any blessing that results will come from him.

Yes, friends, let’s remember who gets the credit for blessings in our lives.

“I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.” 1 Corinthians 3:6

*How has God blessed your efforts lately?

*Don’t miss out on the One-More-Chance Starbucks Giveaway. Deadline to enter is Feb. 10th!

*The latest issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, came out this week. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by Frank Hamm, Creative Commons License

Midweek Morsel: Rest During Demanding Times

3475199344_22c0327a80_z“‘. . . even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest.’” Exodus 34:21b

God knows what we need, doesn’t he? As Creator, no one knows us and our needs better than he does. The Bible, his Word to us, is full of his instructions, exhortations, commands, and wisdom that are for our benefit. We are our wisest selves when we listen and heed his words.

One of the things God knows we need is rest. He not only gave the commandment about resting from our work on the Sabbath when he gave the Ten Commandments to Moses, but he went on to emphasize in the passage above that even during the plowing season and harvest the people were to rest. Yes, even during their busiest times, God said, “you must rest.”

If people in Old Testament times needed rest during their busiest seasons, don’t you think we need rest today during our most demanding times as well? I can’t help but think that God knows us so well he knew we’d need explicit instructions for busy seasons. He knows we’re tempted to push too hard when we’ve got more work than hours in the week.

But if we’re wise—if we’re honoring and obeying God—we will rest. And it will indeed benefit us.

“‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’” Mark 6:31b

*What are some of the benefits of rest?

*Flickr photo by Meagan, Creative Commons License