Our True Thoughts

Our True thoughts

 

Sometimes I struggle with keeping my thoughts on things that please God. Too often it’s God, why didn’t I get that contract when that other author got one, if I hurry up with this prayer, I’ll have more time to get on with my agenda, and since I’m a Christian, I’ve got more insight than that other person. Those are only a small sampling of what my mind is capable of.

 

Philippians 4: 8 offers guidance on this very subject. “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Eight words that describe the characteristics of thoughts that please God.

 

Okay, I have to admit these kind of thoughts don’t come naturally to me, but I decided to define each to help solidify them in my mind. I chose the definition that came closest to referring to our minds.

 

True – real, concordant with the facts

 

Noble – aristocratic or gentle

 

Right – fair or just

 

Pure – genuine

 

Lovely – beautiful, agreeable

 

Admirable – held in great respect

 

Excellent – superior, wonderful

 

Praiseworthy – deserving congratulations

 

If I measure my thoughts against this list, it’s not too hard to weed out the ungodly ones. I pray this helps you, too.

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Vanessa’s Character Picks October 26, 2014

Here are some posts that caught the eyes of the IC characters roaming here:

Digest powered by RSS Digest

Categories: General | Leave a comment

Meet Jennifer Slattery, Author of “Beyond I Do”

headshot2013--J.SlatteryMy guest today probably doesn’t remember this. It was a long time ago. But I first e-met her when she asked for prayer requests on the ACFW loop. I was sorely in need of a prayer at the time (can’t remember what it was), but felt so blessed by this offer, I will never forget it. Now, I have the honor of interviewing her for her debut novel, Beyond I Do. I always love to see wonderful people achieving their dream. So please welcome, Jennifer Slattery to IC today.

Jennifer, first tell us a little about yourself.

Connie, thanks for having me! I live in the Midwest with my husband of nineteen years and our teenage daughter. This is her senior year, so I’m preparing myself (unsuccessfully) for the empty nest stage. When I’m not writing or reading, I love hanging out with my family. Our favorite activities are going to coffee shops and on long walks together. Last weekend we all took a painting class together, which was great fun!

Awww, the painting class sounds so neat. I know what you mean about the empty nest. I started to pray about it when my kids were first born. I’m kinda obsessive that way.

Tell us three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.

Let’s see. As goofy as I can be, I’m quite the germaphobe. Though I’m relatively petite, I can devour a basket of corn chips all by myself, and though I try to be the best mother possible, I’m known for suggesting we forego dinner to save room for ice cream.

Oh, why couldn’t you have been my mom???

Were you an avid reader as a child? What did you read?

I’m not sure, at least, I don’t remember much reading until my freshmen year in high school when I took honors English. I don’t know if it was the teacher or the material, but I quickly developed an obsession with Shakespeare and really loved Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities.

Yes! Dickens always has the best characters!!!

As a child or teenager, did you ever dream of being an author?

Nope. Though I enjoyed writing, mostly as a way to process my feelings, it wasn’t on my radar as a career until maybe ten years ago.

Amazing how God surprises us at any time in our lives.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

I’m not sure if it’s the quirkiest, but it was hilariously fun! As a new author, I was told to visit area libraries and bookstores to encourage them to carry my book. Taking this advice, I decided to ask a friend and fellow book-lover to join me. This resulted in a goofy-fun day of picture taking that often involved random strangers, coffee drinking, lunch, and more coffee drinking. (Apparently if one ingests enough caffeine, silliness takes over.) We had so much fun, we plan to do something similar—minus the books and with double the caffeine—on the twenty-fourth.

Coffee and silliness??? My kinda fun!

What is your favorite genre to read?

I’m eclectic. I really enjoyed your novel, Connie, At the Edge of a Dark Forest. I also like contemporary and historical romance novels, mysteries, and thrillers. The only genre I struggle with is sci-fi. I suspect I’m just not creative enough for that one. I always have a tough time visualizing what’s going on, though I loved the Maze Runner. (Is that a sci-fi?)

Hmmm. Sci-Fi, Speculative, Dystopian? My daughter has told me about that book. I think I’ll have to read it. And thanks for the shout-out, Jennifer. Your check is in the BeyondIDocovermail <wink>.

Share something about your day-to-day life that might help a reader to feel as though they know you a little better.

I don’t think I have to tell anyone I start with a large amount of coffee.

I sooooo get that.

One thing that’s very important to me, and one of the reasons I’m so grateful I can work from home—I love to be here when my daughter wakes up and heads out to school in the morning and when she returns in the afternoon. I like to send her off and welcome her back with a hug (though whether or not she receives that hug is another matter! Teenagers! Ha!)

I get that, too.

Something else they may find surprising, or rather, odd… Though I read my Bible daily, I’ll often camp out in one chapter for weeks! (I must be a slow learner!) I’m also what’s known as a gregarious introvert—a person who loves my friends dearly and can be the silliest person in the room but who also enjoys spending long hours with myself.

Okay, we could be twins!!!

When did you first begin writing, and why do you write still?

I’ve always written, though more as a hobby or emotional outlet. I first began to sense God might want to use my writing when I became involved in ministry. When we were living in Southern California I was heavily involved in outreach and family and children’s ministry. In that capacity, I wrote parent newsletters, drama scripts, and curriculum. One spring, our children’s director asked me to write a short story on Jonah for the preschool large group time. As I was brainstorming this, it hit me, “Hey! I enjoy this!” That was when I first began to consider that I was wired to write, though I didn’t surrender to the call for another six years (?) or so.

Must be the “slow-learner” thing <wink>.

How many books do you have published and where can they be found?

Beyond I Do is my debut, which can be found wherever books are sold, though I have two other novels following (and hopefully many more!). I believe CBD is selling these—kindle and print—for the lowest price right now. Ebook as low as $2.39!

Readers better click now!

Tell us more about this book.

I’d love to! Here’s what’s on the back cover:

Will seeing beyond the present unite Ainsley and her fiancé or tear them apart?

Ainsley Meadows, raised by a hedonist mother who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed, socialite psychiatrist. But as Ainsley’s wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream, a hidden passion, one that threatens to change everything, including her fiancé. If she wants to embrace God’s best and find lasting love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage is beyond “I do.”

Oooo! Just got my copy. Can’t wait to get started!!!

Jennifer, thanks again for stopping into IC for a visit. Hope to have you again for your next release.

***********

Jennifer Slattery writes soul-stirring fiction for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. Her debut novel, Beyond I Do, is currently discounted in e-book format for under $3! You can find it here.

She also writes for Crosswalk.com, Internet Café Devotions, and writes and edits for Christ to the World Ministries. When not writing, Jennifer loves helping aspiring authors grow in their craft, and has editing slots open beginning in November. Find out more here: http://wordsthatkeep.wordpress.com/

Visit with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.

Other posts you might like:

Denise Hunter on “Dancing with Fireflies”

IC Welcomes Rachel Phifer, Author of “Language of Sparrows”

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Open Our Minds to Greater Understanding

Bible

 

I’ve been a Christian for a long time but am certainly not a theologian. After all these years, I still have trouble understanding many portions of the Bible, yet hunger to comprehend more perplexes me. When reading Luke 24:45 the other day, a notion struck me. See if you agree.

 

After Jesus’ resurrection, two men were on their way to Emmaus. A stranger showed up and walked along the road with them. To their astonishment, he explained the scriptures then disappeared. At that moment they realized it was Jesus  and  rushed back to Jerusalem where they found the eleven disciples assembled. Together, they discussed the meaning of the events.

 

While they were gathered together, Jesus appeared in the room. John 24 reveals the whole story. One verse that stood out to me is verse 45. “Then He opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.”

 

It hit me. Jesus is no respecter of persons. If He could do that for the disciples, couldn’t he do the same for us if we ask Him? “Lord, open our hearts and minds to better understand Your word.”

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Comments Off

Vanessa’s Character Picks October 16, 2014

Here are some posts that caught the eyes of the IC characters roaming here:

Digest powered by RSS Digest

Categories: General | Comments Off

Vanessa’s Character Picks October 14, 2014

Here are some posts that caught the eyes of the IC characters roaming here:

Digest powered by RSS Digest

Categories: General | Comments Off

But I Can’t Speak!

“Tom, you shouldn’t be here. This isn’t right.” Jack perched on the stool next to his friend.

“I don’t care. What do I have to live for?” Tom took a swallow of his drink, turning a shoulder toward Jack.

Jack felt the subtle hint. He probably shouldn’t have followed Tom into the bar. It’d been a long time since he’d stepped foot in a place like this one. A couple danced to a juke box. They seemed lost in some world of their own making. Another man sat at the bar staring at the frothy top over the amber liquid in his glass. Several others occupied tables scattered around the dimly lit room. The aroma of alcohol became a temptation Jack had hoped he’d overcome. If Tom hadn’t been talking crazy, Jack would’ve gone home to his wife where he belonged instead of sitting here while his nerves crawled up the back of his neck.

Home’s where Tom needed to be too. Jack breathed a prayer for wisdom. Help me, Lord. “Listen, Tom. You’ve got at least three things to live for. Your wife and two of the sweetest kids I’ve ever met.”

Tom turned toward Jack, his eyebrows furrowed. “They’re the reason I shouldn’t be breathing. Can’t even provide a decent living for ’em.” He pushed his empty glass forward for a refill. “No job and no prospects of any. I blew it, man, can’t you see? Time to end things.”

“So you spoke out of turn and got yourself fired. That’s the past. Can’t change it now.” Jack watched the bartender fill Tom’s glass and wished for the right words to say.

Tom took another swallow. “Go on home to your wife, Jack. Leave me alone. They’ll be better off when I’m gone. I’m thinking clear now. Thinkin’ of their future.”

“There’s no future in despair.” What could Jack say that would save his friend from suicide? “What you’re thinking of doing is selfish. You aren’t thinking about your family at all.”

“Yeah?” Tom frowned, his thinking obviously slowed by the booze. “I got life insurance.”

“With a suicide clause, I imagine.”

“I’ll make it look like an accident.”

“Does Liz love you?” Why’d he ask a question like that?

Tom turned a frown on him as if he wasn’t sure. He shrugged. “S’pose so. Says she does.”

“Too bad. She’ll probably be all torn up when you die then. Maybe she’ll figure with you gone, she’s got nothing to live for. She’ll decide to join you. I guess your kids can get along without the two of you, though.” Jack watched Tom’s eyes narrow as he pushed his glass back. Jack spoke as thoughts filled his mind. “The state will find good foster homes for them. They’ll eventually get over losing their dad and mom. It might take longer since you died from your own hand, but there’s always counseling for kids like that and probably drugs will dull their pain.”

“Whoa, Jack! That’s enough.” Tom stood and slapped a bill on the bar. “I don’t want to hear anymore.”

“Where are you going?” Jack followed his friend to the door. How could he forgive himself if he couldn’t stop Tom from taking his life? What he’d said was true—except for the kids getting over losing their parents. “Thank God, my dad’s death was an accident. If he’d been the one who shot that gun, I’d still be searching for relief in a place like this.”

Outside the door, Tom turned and faced Jack. “What’re you talking about?”

“My dad went hunting with a friend. He was shot and killed when I was about the same age as your son. I wanted to die too. When that didn’t happen, I started smoking meth and drinking. Never once considered what I was doing to my mom.”

Tom stared into Jack’s eyes. Maybe he was listening. “Not until her prayers and witness got through to me, and I ended up in jail.”

“You?” Tom shook his head as if to clear it. “You won’t even drink a beer.”

1-1-Silver Lining Blog

Pre-Oder Now! Release November 3, 2014

“That’s right. I won’t now, but I used to.” Jack led the way to his car. “Come on, I’ll drive you home. Trust, me. You don’t want to take the so-called easy way out. Life goes on beyond the grave. Your wife’s, your kids’, and yours too. Before you do anything stupid, let’s have a talk. I’ll tell you why I stopped doing drugs and about the only One who can help you through life’s rough spots.”

 ~~~~~

Jack witnessed to his friend when he didn’t know how and in surroundings that made him feel uncomfortable, even tempting him to slide back into a lifestyle he no longer wanted. Yet his concern pushed him to give of himself, and he was able to see victory in someone else’s life. In our own strength we become desensitized to the troubles around us and feel that nothing we can say or do will help anyway. Yet if we reach out in love and allow the Holy Spirit to speak through us, our words are not wasted.

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.” I Corinthians 13:1

“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost …shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” John 14:26

Categories: Devotionals, Fiction, Musings, On My Mind, Uncategorized | Comments Off

Vanessa’s Character Picks October 12, 2014

Here are some posts that caught the eyes of the IC characters roaming here:

Digest powered by RSS Digest

Categories: General | Comments Off

DREAMS REALLY DO COME TRUE!—By Lillian Duncan

I wrote another post with this same title after receiving my first contract from a traditional publisher three years ago. It took 15 years of writing before I received that contract. So you can well imagine I was a little bit excited.

Now three years and seven contracts later, I still get excited. I just don’t cry quite as much!

REDEMPTION, my sixth book with my publisher was released on September 19. So I thought I’d take a moment or two to reflect on dreams.

I believe God gives each of us many different dreams during our lifetime. Different dreams for different times of our lives, but there’s also that special dream—The Big Dream. For me that was becoming a writer and it might be for you, too.Redemption_h11626_300

So why doesn’t everyone pursue their Big Dream?

I can think of a few reasons:

It’s not practical.

It can never happen.

I don’t have time.

I don’t know how to do it.

What if I fail?

What will people think?

The list of reasons can go on and on, but I think you get my point. I can tell you that I told myself all of these reasons and more why I should quit during all those years I didn’t get a contract. But every time I quit, I eventually started writing again. Mostly because it left too big of a void in my heart when I stopped.

I’m not going to tell you that going for your dream is going to be easy, or even that you’ll get there. But there’s joy in the journey as well as in the destination. Even had I never received a book contract, I would never say my time spent pursing my dream to be a writer was wasted. Why? Because I love writing stories. It’s fun for me!

Of course, that’s easy for me to say now that I have a contract—or seven of them!

But one thing I do know is that if you quit on your dream, I can guarantee it won’t happen. If I’d given up in year 13 or 14, I would never have received that first contract. So, I urge all of you to go for that special God-given dream. And never, never give up!

To celebrate the release of REDEMPTION, I’m giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card. But wait…there’s more! I always feel bad for the people who enter the contest but don’t win. So I’m also going to pick FIVE more lucky names to win a $5 Amazon Gift Card. Just the right amount to buy REDEMPTION! Just kidding, the winners can use it to buy whatever they wish.

So hop on over to TIARAS & TENNIS SHOES at www.lillian-duncan.com to enter. Leave a comment on the post REDEMPTION and you’ll be entered to win. Easy Peasy!! Contest ends October 18!

BLURB:

Others may think Jamie Jakowski is a hero, but she knows differently.

Haunted by her past, she seeks redemption by helping others in spite of the danger to herself. However, after almost orphaning her daughter, Jamie opts to retire. When a friend needs her, Jamie agrees to one last undercover operation.

She is determined to reunite a heartbroken mother with her kidnapped son. Used to working alone, Jamie’s not happy when she’s assigned a partner. And after a failed operation and their failed romance, Enrique Rodriguez is the last person she wants to work with—ever.

To succeed, Jamie must confront her past as well as the people who want her dead.

**********

BIO:

Lillian Duncan: stories of faith mingled with murder & mayhem!

Lillian is a multi-published writer with several Amazon bestsellers, including The Christmas Stalking and Betrayed. Lillian writes the types of books she loves to read—fast-paced suspense with a touch or two of romance that demonstrates God’s love for all of us

Whether as an educator, a writer, or a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word.

To learn more about Lillian and her books, visit: www.lillianduncan.net. Tiaras & Tennis Shoes is her personal blog at www.lillian-duncan.com.

Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Vanessa’s Character Picks October 9, 2014

Here are some posts that caught the eyes of the IC characters roaming here:

Digest powered by RSS Digest

Categories: General | Comments Off