Friday, October 28, 2011

The Hidden Gifts of Helping: Do Good Things for Others This Holiday Season


The Hidden Gifts of Helping:
Do Good Things for Others This Holiday Season
Article by Stephen G. Post,
Author of The Hidden Gifts of Helping,a Wall Street Journal bestseller
(www.StephenGPost.com/HiddenGifts)

Ebenezer Scrooge begins in The Christmas Carol with a “Bah humbug!” He is both miserly and miserable. As the story unfolds, he eventually discovers the “giver’s glow,” as I like to term it. He is dancing on the streets in the enduring joy of his newfound generosity of heart. I compare the giver’s glow to a glow stick that children get at parades and fairs. These are the translucent plastic tubes containing substances that when combined make light through a chemical reaction. After the glass capsule in the plastic casing is broken, it glows. The brokenness is part of the process. Give and grow, give and glow. Scrooge discovered this before it was too late.

Human beings are wired to give of themselves for noble purposes, regardless of circumstances. Recently, I delivered a sermon in an African-American Baptist church in Coram, New York. The subject was how we benefit when we love our neighbor. Afterwards, a wonderful elderly woman, who was full of vitality, said to me, “You know, that giver’s glow is how we African Americans have been getting through hard times for two centuries!”

On the inside cover of a copy of The Book of Common Prayer, given to me in 1986 by the Rev. William B. Eddy of Tarrytown, New York, is an accumulating memorial list of twenty people I have known closely as models of kindness and generosity over the years. To get on the list a person must have passed on and, by all accounts, remained generous even in their final days. These are people who understood that happiness is not to be found just in the getting, but in the giving, and they taught by example. Have you noticed the warm glow in your heart that comes when you act kindly? They had a deep sense of common humanity, and they all had a certain happiness about them—a sort of gaiety that comes with a life well-lived and rightly inspired.

In my most recent book, The Hidden Gifts of Helping: How the Power of Giving, Compassion, and Hope Can Get Us Through Hard Times (Jossey-Bass, A Wiley Imprint), I describe a bit of an upheaval in my own life, and how helping others got me and my family through the inevitable tough times that come everyone’s way.

“After twenty years of being ‘at home’ in the Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights, my job disappeared. Maybe we were too attached to Cleveland, and maybe God wanted us to move on. But as a family we never anticipated just how challenging up-rootedness is, especially when it is not something that you would have opted for in better times. So in June of 2008, we sold the house and moved east on Route 80 from Ohio to the George Washington Bridge, landing in Stony Brook. What a great place! But still, we just had not quite imagined how stressful such a move would be and how hard we would have to work to find renewed peace of mind and heart.

“Suddenly cut adrift from friends and community, we felt painfully uprooted—out of place, stressed out, disoriented and at odds with each other. Most movers suffer from a lack of companionship and intimate friends, at least temporarily, and doing this repeatedly is really tough. Fortunately, we had those twenty good years in Ohio. We struggled to find our footing with the move, determined to recreate the good life of community and friendships we all so keenly missed. The key turned out to be something we knew quite well, but learned to remember daily in our upheaval: the healing power of helping others. The medical prescription is this—Rx: Helper Therapy.

“Simply put, helping others helps the helper. Research in the field of health psychology, as well as all the great spiritual traditions, tells us that one of the best ways to get rid of anger and grief is to actively help others. Science supports this assertion: Giving help to others measurably reduces the giver’s stress; improves health and well-being in surprising and powerful ways; renews our optimism about what is possible; helps us connect to family, friends and lots of amazing people; allows the deep, profound joy of our humanity to flow through us and out into the world; and improves our sense of self-worth. These are valuable gifts anytime and particularly in hard times. If there is one great secret to life, this is it.”

After all was said and done, this move worked out. My wife found a grade school where she could continue her work as a teaching assistant for especially needy children, my son Drew volunteered at the hospital and I started working with families of individuals with autism. We eventually realized that wherever we are, we are at home when we can contribute to the lives of others. We got back in touch with the things that matter most, and maybe that is what hard times are for. We helped others in ways that we felt called to, we used our strengths so as to feel effective and we shared our experiences with family, faith community and like-minded others.

Eventually, of course, everyone stumbles on hard times, and no one gets out of life alive. Today, even those who had considered themselves protected from hardship are being touched and their lives changed by volatile economic markets, job uncertainty and the increasing isolation and loneliness of modern life.

Here are four things to keep in mind. First, as Washington Irving put it so well: “Love is never lost. If not reciprocated, it will flow back and soften and purify the heart.” Second, love often does beget love, just as hate usually begets hate, and so good givers need to be good receivers. Third, we should never count on reciprocity because this is sure to be frustrating and ultimately small-minded. Better to take joy when those upon whom our love is bestowed do not “pay it back” to us, but rather “pay it forward” to others as they move through life remembering our good example. Or to bring this to the kitchen table, as I heard one Italian mother in Cleveland tell her son, “Love and forget about it!” And fourth, in I Corinthians Paul linked “faith, hope and love,” and he proclaimed that “love never fails.” What is faith but having confidence that no matter how harsh a particular scene in the drama of our lives or of history might be, it is love that wrote the play and love that will be revealed in the final act.

Do a little good this holiday season. The 2010 Do Good Live Well Survey,released by United Healthcare and VolunteerMatch (www.VolunteerMatch.org), surveyed 4,500 American adults. 41 percent of Americans volunteered an average of 100 hours a year. 68 percent of those who volunteered in the last year reported that volunteering made them feel physically healthier. In addition:

89% reported that “volunteering has improved my sense of well-bring”
73% agreed that “volunteering lowered my stress levels”
92% agreed that “volunteering enriched my sense of purpose in life”
72% characterized themselves as “optimistic” compared to 60% of non-volunteers
42% of volunteers reported a “very good” sense of meaning in their lives, compared with 28% of non-volunteers

How wise it is to do what one can to contribute benevolently to others!

Some individuals on my The Book of Common Prayer list were well known and others lived quiet lives out of the limelight. Some were appreciated and some not. We might prefer to think that loving servants of goodness would, after a long and successful life, die peacefully in their beds and all people would speak well of them at their funerals. But this is too simplistic. Everyone on my list experienced an enduring joy as a by-product of their generosity. Thus, the motto of my independent Institute for Research on Unlimited Love (www.unlimitedloveinstitute.com), founded with the help of Sir John Templeton (who happens to be on my list!), is “In the giving of self lies the discovery of a deeper self.”

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Interview with Lisa Jordan and giveaway


answer Lisa's question to be entered into a drawing for an amazing giveaway.
Why do you write the kind of books you do?

I’m an incurable romantic who wants to give promises of hope and happily ever after to her readers.

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?

The day I married my husband, twenty-two years ago at the end of this month.

How has being published changed your life?

It added more to my to-do list. My life hasn’t changed that much more, except trying to juggle deadlines, revisions, blog tours, and preparing for my upcoming book launch party. Internally, it has given me a sense of satisfaction that I succeeded in achieving a goal I set for myself many years ago—to become a published author.

What are you reading right now?

Susan May Warren’s Baby, It’s Cold Outside

What is your current work in progress?

I’m doing revisioins on my second novel, Lakeside Family that will be released in August 2012 by Love Inspired.

I’m plotting my third novel in preparation for NaNoWriMo.

What would be your dream vacation?

Any place with my family, preferably near a nice beach. Every other year, my family vacations on Sanibel Island, Florida, but Hubby and I are planning a cruise for our 25th anniversary.

How do you choose your settings for each book?

My current series is set in the same location—a fictional town named Shelby Lake that is set in Northwestern Pennsylvania. I love the area where I live, so I created a fictional town loosely based on the area to share with my readers.

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?

Right now, probably my sweet agent Rachelle Gardner to just get to know her better, laugh over dinner, and do long-term career planning. And if my wonderful editor, Melissa Endlich, decided to show up, I’d definitely scoot over to make room and pull her in on the career-planning conversation.

What three things about you would surprise readers?

Hubby and I eloped 22 years ago, I’m older than I appear, I have an intense phobia of snakes—I can’t even see pictures of them.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?

Crafting—sewing, scrapbooking, knitting

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it

Plotting is hard for me. Thank God I’m partnered with an amazing critique partner who has a terrific talent for brainstorming and plotting. She helps me to flesh out my story ideas.

What advice would you give to a beginning author?

Find your voice—don’t try to emulate another author, constanly ask “why?” to get to your characters’ core motivations, and don’t give up when you get rejected.

Tell us about the book.

Bed-and-breakfast owner Lindsey Porter prays she won’t run into Stephen Chase when she returns to Shelby Lake. Five years ago, the cop jilted her to marry another woman, and Lindsey fled town. But no sooner does she hit city limits than Stephen pulls her over for a broken taillight. Despite the past, he’s still able to stir up Lindsey’s old feelings for him. Now a widower and single dad, Stephen recognizes a second chance when he sees one. And he’ll do anything to make Lindsey trust in God and take a risk for love—again. Read an excerpt of Lakeside Reunion


What one question would you like us to ask your readers?

My question for readers is what are your favorite breakfast foods?


Tell us about the giveaway you’re offering.

I am holding a scavenger hunt and lakeside photo contest to promote my Lakeside Reunion release. Visit my Lakeside Reunion Contest page for more information.

*Please note the Scavenger Hunt form has been updated to include more bloggers.
The token for this blog is a leg cast.

Bio: Heart, home and faith have always been important to Lisa Jordan, so writing stories that feature both comes naturally to her. She has been writing contemporary Christian romance for more than a decade. Her debut novel, Lakeside Reunion, will be released in November by Love Inspired. Her second novel, Lakeside Family, will be released in August 2012 by Love Inspired. Happily married for over twenty years, Lisa and her husband have two young adult sons. When she isn’t writing or caring for children in her in-home childcare business, Lisa enjoys family time, romantic comedies, good books, crafting with friends and feeding her NCIS addiction. Connect with Lisa on Twitter, Like her on Facebook and sign up for her newsletter on her Website.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Teens and Their Supernatural Pursuits

Teens and Their Supernatural Pursuits

By Melody Carlson


Have you even wondered why some teens are drawn toward things like Ouija boards or psychics? Or why séances are still popular at sleepovers? Does it just have to do with Halloween and that spine-chilling need for a good scare? Or could it be something more? And, as a Christian, should you be concerned?
Those questions, as well as some confused reader letters, prompted me to tackle the “supernatural” in one of my teen novels (Moon White, TrueColors, Nav Press). And whenever I write an issues-based novel, I’m forced to research—and often in some dark places. So I began scouring websites, learning more about Wicca and the occult, trying to grasp what was really going on with today’s teens—and how I could write about it in a helpful and relevant way.
But, as usual, when I write a teen book, I go back to my own adolescence...trying to connect with my inner teen...and I suddenly remembered a short era when a friend and I got very interested in witchcraft. I had honestly forgotten about this time and was fascinated to recall how we scoured some witchcraft stores on a local campus—I think we even purchased a few things. Fortunately, this interest was short-lived and I became a Christian not long afterward.
However, as I reconnected with my inner teen, I had to ask myself—why had I looked into witchcraft back then? Why do teens dabble with it now? Suddenly the answer became crystal clear. I was searching. I’d been calling myself an atheist for several years by then, but I was spiritually hungry—starving in fact. Consequently I was looking for spiritual answers—something that would fill that empty void within me. I wanted a supernatural force in my life and I didn’t even care where it came from. I needed something bigger than me, more powerful than me, something to hold onto. I had no idea at the time that I was really searching for God.
This realization changed the way I viewed my research. Instead of feeling disgusted and dismayed by the witchcraft/Wicca sites (which are not particularly enjoyable) I began to recognize that these people (mostly girls) were simply searching too. They wanted a power source in their lives just like I wanted one in mine. They just hadn’t found God yet.
This led to another discovery. A girl who’s attracted to a religion like Wicca is usually seeking to gain some control over her life. Something is wrong and she wants to change it. To do so, she’s often enticed to purchase something—like “magical herbs”—to create a potion that will give her some control over her situation. Unfortunately, she doesn’t even realize she’s being tricked.
But think about it, wouldn’t you love to have control over a bad situation sometimes? Wouldn’t you love to be able to change the circumstances that make your life unpleasant? So what if someone offered you the “power” to do just that? Perhaps if you’re fifteen, you wouldn’t see that person as a charlatan and you would fall for it.
Which brings me to another important factor in understanding this generation’s attraction to the supernatural. Follow the money. The more I researched, the more it became painfully obvious that Wicca and witchcraft and the occult are money-making enterprises. Thanks to the internet, these savvy distributors sell anything imaginable—and many things you can’t. That leads to some serious motivation—these marketers want to hook their unsuspecting young customers and reel them in. Of course, these potions and trinkets and how-to books don’t come with a money back guaranty. Nor are they approved by the FDA. Yet they are a multi-million dollar industry.
So, in a way, it’s a perfect storm. Teens that are insecure, lost, unhappy, and searching...meet up with an unregulated industry that offers supernatural answers and power and control...for a price. And, oh yeah, I never even mentioned how this opens a door for Satan to slip in and wreak havoc. For that...you’ll have to read the book.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Ginger Pumpkin Bread

In celebration of all things Fall, we’re posting this delicious autumnal treat from The Homestyle Amish Kitchen Cookbook. Enjoy!
Ginger Pumpkin Bread
12 T. butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted
1 15-oz. can pumpkin
3 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
Sugar Glaze (recipe follows)
Whisk together the butter, pumpkin, and eggs.
Mix together the flour, baking powder, ginger, salt, sugar, and brown sugar and add to the pumpkin mixture until just combined. Do not overmix.
Divide batter between two greased loaf pans and bake at 375 degrees for 50-55 minutes.
Cool for 10 minutes then turn out on a rack to cool completely. Glaze with Sugar Glaze, if desired.
Sugar Glaze
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2-3 T. water
Mix together until well blended and to desired consistency. Drizzle over cooled bread.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pumpkin Bars

Ok- my kids look forward to these every year during the fall- Mom's pumpkin bars- so yummy! You might have your own recipe for this one, but for those that don't, I think you'll love it. :)

Pumpkin bars
Mix:
4 eggs
2 C sugar
1 C oil
2 C Pumpkin(16 oz)
1 tsp vanilla

Mix in medium bowl and then add to the pumpkin mixture above:
2 C flour
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Baking soda
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp Ground cloves

Mix, pour into 1 well greased 15x10 pan. Bake at 350 degrees F. I like my pumpkin bars thin so I often use 2 pans -one a 9x13 and one 15x10, fyi.

Frosting- Mix 3 oz cream cheese
3/4 stick butter
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbls. Milk
3 C powdered sugar.
Delicious!!- Enjoy!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pumpkin Chicken Soup

Pumpkin Chicken Soup
I c. chopped onion
1 c. chopped celery
1 tsp. minced garlic
2T olive oil
2 cans or 1 box chicken broth
1 can pumpkin
2 c. cubed chicken
1 can diced tomatoes
1 3/4 c. cooked wild rice mix (I used Uncle Ben's box mix)
2-3 T. ketchup
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. dried basil
1/4 t. pepper
Parmesan cheese (to top/garnish with at the end)

In large sausepan saute' onion, celery, and garlic in oil until tender. Stir in broth, chicken, pumpkin, tomatoes, ketchup, rice, seasonings.

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for 10-15 minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally. Serve with parmesan cheese if desired. Makes 2 quarts. This is even better the next day!

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Why is forgiving ourselves so hard?
Kim Cash Tate shows how God cherishes us and provides our hearts’ desires.

As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Kim Cash Tate explores Psalm 103:12 as she takes her readers down the path to God’s forgiveness and reconciliation in her newest novel, Cherished. Readers will discover that God can still use them in spite of their worst choices. And He doesn’t just forgive them, but they are truly cherished!

Tate’s story will show her readers how God can bring beauty from ashes. She has a unique way of weaving her characters’ lives together, leading back to one great point—God’s tremendous mercy and grace. In the words of one of her characters, “I wasn’t sure what to expect. I felt like it would take a while to work my way back into God’s good graces, but it was like…”—she flung wide her arms—“…He just embraced me.” We too can be embraced by the same great love when we learn that true forgiveness for ALL of our sins is right before us.

Growing up in Saint Louis, Kelli London dreamed of becoming a songwriter and glorifying God with her songs of praise. But after falling into sin, she walks away from her dreams. Heather Anderson’s life has spun out of control—first an affair with a married man and then a one-night stand with the drummer of a popular Christian band. Broken and alone, she discovers the only one who can save her. Brian Howard grew up as a science geek. But after making the worst mistake of his life after high school, he finds forgiveness in Christ and is being led down a completely different path. Now he must choose whether to continue pursuing his PhD in biochemistry or to become a full time Christian rapper.

In her interviews, Tate discusses topics such as:

· Learning to forgive ourselves
· Choosing to forgive others and allowing God to change them
· Following the dreams God has for us
· Surrounding ourselves with Christian friends who will pray for and encourage us
· Understanding God’s unchanging love

Tate was a speaker for Women of Faith in both 2010 and 2011. She appeared as the cover girl for the May issue of Empowering Everyday Women and will be featured in the September edition of Significant Living. A song based on Cherished will be featured on the newest album for Da’ T.R.U.T.H., a Christian wrapper. Tate is also the founder of Colored in Christ Ministries. Her appeal as a Bible teacher and a “big sister” in ministry, as well as her messages of hope, is what attracts discerning fiction lovers worldwide.

Tate’s characters bring a reflection of our own poor choices. Readers walk away knowing that despite their worst mistakes, they are cherished by their Creator. “The enemy will try to make you feel guilty about your past, and he’ll use your own thoughts or he’ll use other people. But if you know who you are, he won’t succeed,” says Tate.

Cherished by Kim Cash Tate
Thomas Nelson/September 2011
ISBN: 978-1-59554-855-9/336 pages/paperback/$15.99
www.kimcashtate.com

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Statistics of Abortion...


Are you aware of the statistics on abortion?
Nearly half of pregnancies among American women are unintended, four in ten are terminated by abortion. 22% of all pregnancies (excluding miscarriages) end in abortion.

At least half of American women will experience unintended pregnancy by age 45, and, one in ten will have an abortion by age 20, one in four by age 30 and three in ten by age 45.

37% of women obtaining abortions identify themselves as Protestant and 28% identify themselves as Catholic.

(*Statistics from The Alan Guttmacher Institute)


Why do Christians need to talk about abortion?
Because many of the women who have had abortions are sitting in your church’s pews.


180 Aims to Save Lives and Souls

A new film produced by best-selling author and TV co-host Ray Comfort recently debuted online and is expected to reach over a million views by the time it has been out for one month. The new documentary,180 reflects the complete turnaround in the mindsets of each individual that Comfort interviews in regards to abortion. The film features eight pro-choice young adults (mostly college students) who change their stance to pro-life after answering a series of questions.

Many assume that abortion is a topic that doesn’t need to be discussed within the church. However, 65% of women who have abortions identify themselves as Christians. It isn’t just an issue of teens and college students. Over 20% of abortions, the women are over 30. To combat this staggering data the 180 Course is available for churches to address the topic of abortion, including a study guide as well as a second video that discusses evangelism – once lives are saved, souls need to be saved as well.

It was not Comfort’s original intention to create a documentary specifically about the abortion issue. He began taping interviews for a companion DVD for a book on Hitler and the holocaust. In the course of the interviews, one question led to another, and the discussion led to abortion. Comfort explains, “It began with two male university students completely changing their minds about abortion when we asked them one specific question. Then, we took to the streets, and found that six women changed their minds from pro-abortion to pro-life in a matter of seconds by asking the same series of questions. It was amazing!”

Comfort saw this new direction the film was taking, and quickly recognized its potential to open doors for discussion. “I have held up pro-life signs. I have printed pro-life literature and spoken against abortion in pulpits and in my books, but I have felt that all my efforts were almost futile—until now. In 180 we have a nation changer.”

180 is making a vital impact. One viewer writes, “I was at an abortion clinic on the sidewalk (with my laptop), two young ladies stop and watched the 180 trailer. Then they watched the full 180 DVD. One was four months pregnant, the other was three. They were both going there for an abortion; they were both in tears, hugged my neck and decided to give their babies life and choose adoption instead. I cried too. Praise God for 180.”


The documentary is now available for free viewing
online at http://www.180movie.com/.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Candy Corn Cuppy-Cakes


Candy Corn Cuppy-Cakes!

These cupcakes are darling, and will be a festive and colorful addition to your celebration; cute enough for the kids, but sophisticated enough for the grown-ups too!

Ingredients
1 18.25-oz. white cake mix (I prefer Duncan Hines)
1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 tsp. almond extract
Yellow and orange food gel (about a heaping 1/2 tsp. of each)
A double batch of Perfect Cupcake Frosting & Filling (click for recipe)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line 2 24-cup muffin tins with white paper liners (although you may not make it to 24 cupcakes)
Combine all ingredients except for food coloring in a large bowl and beat on low speed for 1 minute
Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then beat on medium for 2 additional minutes
Divide batter equally into two bowls; you should have about 2 1/4-2 1/2 c. of batter in each bowl
Mix about 1/2 heaping tsp. of yellow coloring into one bowl of batter and 1/2 heaping tsp. of orange coloring into the other bowl
Divide the yellow batter evenly among the muffin tins. I used a standard cookie scoop, which measures about 1 Tbsp. I only had enough to make 20 cupcakes with the cups filled about halfway
Holding the edges of each pan firmly, bang the pan a few times on the counter to level out the batter
Repeat the process with the orange batter
Bake for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean
Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes in the pan and then allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.
When ready, frost the cupcakes and garnish with a candy corn


Recipe and photos from: www.ourbestbites.com

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Life Lessons from the Help



Life Lessons from The Help
Pain Happens in a Broken World
By Poppy Smith

Have you read or seen the movie, THE HELP? If you have, you know it is a story about racism and the treatment of black maids who worked for white people in the South. People’s reactions range from outrage at the humiliation blacks have often received, to charges that it was biased and untrue.

I came out of the movie grieving. I not only felt wretched at the pain racism causes, but also at the hurt and suffering that comes when people mistreat others. Pain Happens in a Broken World. Being cruel to others, whether by actions or words, happens in every culture for many reasons: because individuals think they are superior for some reason due to their skin color, gender, position in society, wealth, or education. Whatever the reasons, they all flow from a sinful heart.

Have you been hurt?

Have you known what it is like to be looked down on, dismissed as unimportant, or made to feel unwanted? Have you experienced cruelty of some kind? How did it make you feel?

Have you wrestled with anger, wanting to get revenge, or feeling crushed and of no worth?

In The Help, one of the poorly treated maids gets her revenge in a startling way. But revenge is God’s prerogative, and not ours to take (Romans 12:19).
Your pain might have come from someone you work with, live next to, or go to school with. Its source could be a relative or close family. Even fellow believers hurt others when operating in the flesh and not the Spirit. But no matter where your pain originated, it is something God wants to heal.

God Cares About You. Why should He care? Why does He call you to forgive those who have harmed you? Because He loves you and wants the appalling power of bitterness, hatred, and inner rage to stop poisoning your heart and your life.
God’s Path to Healing. How can you and I, followers of the Lord Jesus, indwelt by His Mighty and All-powerful Spirit, find freedom from pain? Only by forgiving the one, or many, who caused our pain.

Three necessary principles for dealing with pain:

Reject blame and bitterness. It doesn’t move you forward. It chains you to the past.

Pray for willingness to forgive. It is a process that often requires time to work through.

Forgive the offender. Be willing to release that person from your desire for revenge, or even for an apology. Realize they most likely have moved on and forgotten the incident. Remembering is only hurting you. Let it go.

Remember something else: the Lord is our Healer. He wants you to experience joy, no matter how much pain you have experienced. He wants you to THRIVE in every aspect of your life. And He has provided a way for this to happen! Will you walk in it?


Author Bio

Poppy Smith
With her fun personality and passion for communicating life-changing truths, Poppy Smith inspires believers to thrive spiritually and personally. Poppy’s practical how-to messages (in print or in person) uses colorful examples from her own struggles to be more like Jesus. She encourages women (and men, at times) to grow in every kind of situation—whether joyful or painful! Poppy is British, married to an American, and has lived in many countries. She brings an international flair seasoned with humorous honesty as she illustrates Bible truths. A former Bible Study Fellowship Lecturer, Poppy’s teaching challenges women to look at their choices, attitudes and self-talk. As a result, God’s speaks, changing hearts, changing minds, and changing lives.

The above article comes from Poppy’s recent Thrive e-newsletter.
Receive Poppy’s Ten Tips for Saying “No” by signing up for her newsletter at: http://www.poppysmith.com/newsletters.htm


"Life Lessons from THE HELP" is loaded at docstoc.com. If for some reason you have difficulty copying or downloading the article, we will be glad to email the article in .pdf or .doc format.
Russ@kathycarltonwillis.com

This article content is provided free of charge by the author through Kathy Carlton Willis Communications. You are welcome to place this article on your site or in your publication as long as 1) it’s used in its entirety, 2) the full bio is also used, and 3) you notify KCWC at russ@kathycarltonwillis.com.

All other standard copyrights apply.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Five More Things I've Learned from the Amish (article)

Guest blog from Suzanne Woods Fisher for “Amish Values for Your Family” (Revell)

Five More Things I’ve Learned from the Amish that Have Nothing to Do with being Amish and Have Everything to Do with being a Christian:


Live humbly. This is the basis of the Amish life. They don’t waste, they reuse and recycle, they live simply and without luxury, they provide for each other’s needs. Daily life is embroidered with gratitude for all God has given them. Two prayers bookend every meal—a meal begins with thanks to God for the nourishing food, and ends with gratitude for what was received.

Amish proverb: “The blessing of sharing outweighs the blessing of having.”

The Lesson: Choose simplicity over clutter. Economy over luxury. And give thanks!

A task takes as long as it takes. It seems like such a paradox—the Amish are busy, yet unhurried. They have a deliberateness in their actions—one job isn’t more important than the other. And they don’t have televisions or computers or radios or telephones—which gives them more time to cook, fish at the lake, enjoy a good book, and spend with their children and grandchildren. They have time to slow down a bit—to smell the roses along their path.

Amish proverb: “Every day that dawns brings something to do that can never be done as well again.”

The Lesson: Reduce the time where attention is focused on electronics (computer! Cell phone! Television!) and strive to be more emotionally present when with others.

Success and Size are not related. The Amish have rapidly adopted to the demands of the modern business world. Their self-owned businesses are remarkably successful, but not at the cost of everything else. They view money as a tool, not the goal.

Amish proverb: “Love, peace, and happiness in the home is of infinitely more value than honor, fame and wealth.”

The Lesson: Never let ambition destroy life’s better goals.

They teach us not to seek vengeance but to forgive. The Amish take the Lord’s Prayer seriously—if they are asking God to forgive them their sins, they must be willing to forgive others who have sinned against them. Being a forgiving person is an everyday intention.

Amish proverb: “It is far better to forgive and forget than to resent and remember.”

The Lesson: No doubt you’re familiar with the Nickel Mines tragedy. If the Amish can forgive the killer of their children, can’t we forgive a friend for not inviting us to a party? Or a driver who cuts us off? Make forgiveness your default button. A habit. An everyday intention.

God has a plan. To the Amish, everything passes through the hands of God. Everything. Joys and sorrows, both. God is sovereign over all—from weather to illness to births to who’s in the White House. They yield to God’s perfect will, trust Him for what they don’t understand, and thank Him for what they do.

Amish proverb: “God’s hand that holds the ocean’s depth can hold my small affairs. His hand, which guides the universe, can carry all my cares.”

The Lesson: Trusting God isn’t passive—it takes a lot of work! But what peace and joy are available to us when we put our faith in the Almighty God. Everything, ultimately, works out for good.

Suzanne Woods Fisher is a bestselling author of Amish fiction and non-fiction and the host of a weekly radio program called Amish Wisdom. Her most recent book, Amish Values for Your Family released in August. The Waiting is a finalist for a 2011 Christy Award. Amish Peace: Simple and Amish Proverbs were both finalists for the ECPA Book of the Year (2010, 2011). Her interest in the Amish began with her grandfather, W.D. Benedict, who was raised Plain. Suzanne has a great admiration for the Plain people and believes they provide wonderful examples to the world. When Suzanne isn't writing or bragging to her friends about her first new grandbaby (!), she is raising puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To Suzanne's way of thinking, you just can't take life too seriously when a puppy is tearing through your house with someone's underwear in its mouth. Keep up on Suzanne's latest news on Facebook, Twitter and on her blog!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Five Things I've Learned from the Amish - article

Guest blog from Suzanne Woods Fisher for “Amish Values for Your Family” (Revell)

Five Things I’ve Learned from the Amish that Have Nothing to Do with being Amish and Have Everything to Do with being a Christian:

Being Amish is not a lifestyle. Life among the Amish has to do with faith. Faith can’t be squeezed to an hour or two on Sunday morning; it infuses their entire life like a teabag in hot water. What they do and how they do it is rooted in the spiritual question: What is pleasing to God?

Amish proverb: “Letting go of earthly possessions enables us to take hold of heavenly treasures.”

The Lesson: To pray about my day’s activities and offer them to God, first, for His purposes. And then trusting interruptions (seeing a friend in the grocery store, for example) or de-railings (those days when everything goes wrong!) to be God-managed.

Cherish your family. A family that works together, grows together. Amish families spend a lot of time together and try to keep their work close to home. Children are valued as gifts from God, wanted and enjoyed. They’re included in all of Amish life—from barn raisings to three-hour church services. An Amish bishop once said, "We don't prepare our children for the future, we prepare our children for eternity."

Amish proverb: “Tomorrow’s world will be shaped by what we teach our children today.”

The Lesson: Involving children in chores and activities may not be the most convenient or efficient way to accomplish a task, but the benefits are long lasting. Look for ways to get everybody involved—cook together, sweep out the garage together, set the table together. And have fun while you’re doing it!

Draw a land in the sand. The Amish want to be good stewards of God’s resources—time, money, material goods. They know that convenience comes with a cost. They don’t want to be dependent on outside sources (such as electricity or gas!). Convenience means loss of something valuable. For example, fast food means less nutrition. More stuff means more maintenance. They’re willing to say no.

Amish proverb: “Things that steal our time are usually the easiest to do.”

The Lesson: Technology has its limits. And technology isn’t all good. Evaluate purchases more thoughtfully. Think of where a purchase or an added expense will lead your family. More time together or less? More stress or less? Reframe your view of time and money and goods as God’s resources.

Watch Your Words. The Amish continually stress the importance of filtering their speech.

Amish proverb: “Words break no bones, but they can break hearts” and “Mincing your words makes it easier if you have to eat them later.”

The Lesson: Say less. Prayer more.

Nothing replaces face-to-face visits. Back in the day when telephones emerged on the scene, the Amish bishops made a deliberate decision to keep the telephone out of the house. They didn’t want to interrupt family life. But they drop everything for a face-to-face visit.

Amish proverb: “Use friendship as a drawing account, but don’t forget to make a deposit.”

The Lesson: Nurture relationships by investing face-to-face time in them. No technology can substitute for the real thing.

Honor the Sabbath. An Amish person would never think of working on a Sunday. But it’s more than that—they truly cherish their Sabbath. They spend time on Saturday to make Sunday a smooth and easy day.

Amish proverb: “Many things I have tried to grasp and have lost. That which I have placed in God’s hands I still have.”

The Lesson: Strive to make Sunday a different day than other days. A day of rest is important on so many levels—time to worship, time to reflect, time to re-energize. A re-charge your battery day.

Suzanne Woods Fisher is a bestselling author of Amish fiction and non-fiction and the host of a weekly radio program called Amish Wisdom. Her most recent book, Amish Values for Your Family released in August. The Waiting is a finalist for a 2011 Christy Award. Amish Peace: Simple and Amish Proverbs were both finalists for the ECPA Book of the Year (2010, 2011). Her interest in the Amish began with her grandfather, W.D. Benedict, who was raised Plain. Suzanne has a great admiration for the Plain people and believes they provide wonderful examples to the world. When Suzanne isn't writing or bragging to her friends about her first new grandbaby (!), she is raising puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To Suzanne's way of thinking, you just can't take life too seriously when a puppy is tearing through your house with someone's underwear in its mouth. Keep up on Suzanne's latest news on Facebook, Twitter and on her blog!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

New books releasing in October

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW FictionFinder website.

A Wedding Invitation by Alice Wisler -- General Fiction from Bethany House; When Samantha Bravencourt receives an invitation to a wedding in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, she looks forward to reconnecting with her college friend. Instead her life collides with Carson, a fellow teacher and the man who broke her heart.

Attracted by Fire by DiAnn Mills -- A Thriller/Suspense from Tyndale. When a Secret Service Agent is assigned to the Vice President's rebellious daughter, danger lurks in every corner - and her heart.

Deeply Devoted: A Novel; The Blue Willow Brides Series by Maggie Brendan -- A Historical from Revell -- She is staking her future on a man she's never met. Can she learn to love him?

Freezing Point by Beth Goddard -- A Thriller/Suspense from Love Inspired. Casey Wilkes didn't realize her simple human-interest story would put her life at risk—again.

Lethal Remedy by Richard L. Mabry M.D. -- A Thriller/Suspense from Abingdon; A doctor discovers that the experimental "wonder drug" that offers the only hope of cure for a universally fatal infection can be attacking more than just bacteria.

Love on the Line by Deeanne Gist, -- Historical Romance from Bethany House. Rural switchboard operator Georgie Gail is proud of her independence in a man's world ... which makes it twice as vexing when the telephone company sends a man to look over her shoulder.

Maggie's Journey by Lena Nelson Dooley -- A Historical from Realms (Charisma Media). Near her eighteenth birthday, Margaret Lenora Caine finds a chest hidden in the attic containing proof that she's adopted and her journey begins.

Recipe for Deceit by S. Dionne Moore -- Mystery from Barbour. The third LaTisha Barnhart mystery finds the sassy diner owner trying to figure out who put the hit on a hitman.

Rodeo Dust by Shannon Vanatter -- Romance from Barbour Heartsong; Can they rely on God to find their common ground or will they draw a line in the rodeo dust that neither will cross?

Southern Fried Sushi: A Novel by Jennifer Rogers Spinola -- General Fiction from Barbour; Ride the roller coaster of Shiloh Jacobs’s life as her dreams derail, sending her on a downward spiral from the heights of an AP job in Tokyo to penniless in rural Virginia.

Ten Plagues by Mary Nealy-- Thriller/Suspense from Barbour; A demon possessed serial killer pits himself against a former ego driven cop, who's found peace as a mission pastor and a tough lady cop with the spiritual gift of discerning spirits.

The Baker's Wife by Erin Healy-- Thriller/Suspense from Thomas Nelson; To save her husband and son, Audrey Bofinger must rescue her enemy.

The Chair by James Rubart-- Thriller/Suspense from B and H Publishing; If you were given an ancient looking chair and told Jesus Christ made it, would you believe them?

The Christmas Child by Linda Goodnight-- Romance from Love Inspired; When a battle weary cop and a Christmas crazy teacher join forces to care for an abandoned, mute boy in a small town, neither is prepared for the shocking revelations waiting...just in time for Christmas.

The Lady's Maid by Susan Page Davis-- Romance from Barbour; As a lady's maid, Elise will follow her mistress anywhere, even into the Wild West.

The Wishing Pearl by Nicole O'Dell-- Young Adult from Barbour; Join conflicted sixteen-year-old Olivia Mansfield on her journey to hope and healing as she leaves her messed-up life behind and moves into home for troubled teens

There You'll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones-- Young Adult from Thomas Nelson; Grief brought Finley to Ireland. Love will lead her home.

When Love Gets in the Way by Janelle Mowery-- A Historical from Harvest House; Straight from the heart of the Old West, the Colorado Runaway series is full of adventure, humor, and romance.

When Two Hearts Meet by Janelle Mowery-- A Historical from Harvest House; Rachel Garrett finds that attaining her dream of becoming a nurse is fraught with peril, and a deputy sheriff with a wall around his heart doesn’t help matters,