Tuesday, January 15, 2019

I Love to Laugh!

Job 8:20-21
God does not support evil people;
and he does not abandon the innocent.
So perhaps you might laugh again.
Maybe shouts of joy will come from your lips.

Remember me with smiles and laughter, for that is how I will remember you all.  If you can only remember me with tears, then don't remember me at all. ~Laura Ingalls Wilder

Hearty laughter is a good way to jog internally without having to go outdoors. ~Norman Cousins

I can't tell you when I first see this portrait entitled "Jesus Laughing," but I do recall falling in love with it on the spot.  I must have it!  And as you can see from the photo above, I do just that.  Whenever I gaze at Jesus' joyous expression, I am compelled to smile, chuckle even, blessedly assured that the Son of God experienced all the emotions we encounter in our day-to-day lives, while dwelling among us.

Laughter, it is said, is the best medicine.  And I would venture, in the trying, divisive and angry atmosphere of our current culture, that laughter is the best antidote to this pervasive malaise.

Lately, my husband, Danny, has been exploring "Dry Bar Comedy" on YouTube.  This venue features profanity-free, up and coming comics, who are looking for their big break into the mainstream.  Some of these rising stars are great, and some just so-so, but nonetheless, we reap great benefits when the jokes evoke a chorus of belly laughs from us.  As Norman Cousins says above, we are jogging internally without having to brave the outdoors.  What a great way to "exercise!"

If you haven't made any New Year resolutions, perhaps this should be one of them:  To purposefully seek out something every day that tickles your funny bone.  It could be as easy as looking in the mirror!

Because when we are in the throes of hearty laughter, we are re-energizing our minds, our bodies, and yes, our very souls.  Those grand belly busters that release all the calming endorphins, which God, in His infinite wisdom, has placed into our beings, knowing how life-saving, life-transforming they are, are of invaluable importance to our health and well-being.

God, after all, is the Master Humorist!  How do I know?  For starters, He created us, didn't He?



Friday, January 11, 2019

An Offer You Can't Refuse

Luke 6:38
Give, and you will receive.  Your gift will return to you in full - pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap.  The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.

As I lean more and more into God and His will for my life this year, I have a recurring idea, on which I happily share with you here.  My six novels in The Glade Series and Adventures in The Glade have sold relatively well over the years, but with the current situation here at home, it's been impossible for me to physically reach out to churches in my community to peddle my wares, so to speak.

But I'm not peddling here . . . I'm offering.

You see, when I first publish my novels, my husband, Danny, generously lays out some hefty bucks for us to see my dreams become a reality.  I'm so grateful for this, and so desirous to repay his gift, that I can't see past charging money for my books.  And truth be told, I become too intent upon the allure of fame and fortune, taking on the glory for my achievements, when it is God alone who should be given every ounce of the glory I so sinfully call my own.

It is the Lord who gives me the gift of writing.  It is God, and only God, who deserves all the gratitude and praise.

So, my friends, here is the offer you can't refuse.  If your church has a lending library, I would like to donate two autographed sets of my novels for other Christians to read and enjoy.  I mean, seriously, who among us has met Racer, Davy, and the entire gang at The Glade, and not fallen madly in love with them?  I want to share that love!

Here's how it works:

  • On the right side of this blog page, click on Author's Website.
  • Click on "contact" to send me a private email with your name and home address.
  • Books will be mailed to you with no shipping charge.
  • Hurry!  This offer ends on February 1st!
Giving, in the name of the Lord, for His glory, feels right and good and freeing beyond words.  I know I've already received.  And if you do take me up on my offer, I know the gifts I give have returned to me in full.


Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Lean on Me

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

First God calls us to Himself, to follow and know Him, and also to a particular life purpose, a reason for being.  Included in this life purpose will not only be our giftedness, but also our weaknesses and day-to-day decisions.
If you prayed the Lord's will, it doesn't matter what it looks like on the outside.  You are placed there to make a difference.  God's anointing rests on those that walk in Divine purpose.  Often your passion is linked with your purpose. ~Valerie Carraotta

Honestly, my friends, I struggle in the last weeks of 2018 with my word for the coming year.  When my husband, Danny, and I retreat gratefully to a mountain cabin in the first week of December, I am literally pummeled by possible selections, which I dutifully record in my journal.

What's wrong?  Even though I dart here and there, as a word displays its allure, nothing seems to stick beyond a fleeting moment.  I do take time to reflect upon a word or two that seems to speak to the present, writing down its application and implementation for the year ahead, yet when I wake the next morning and reread what I wrote, my soul comes up empty.

There's got to be something more . . .

I can't put my finger on God's intended word for me, so I surrender, and simply let it be.  For the last four years, God has faithfully granted to me the word that fits exactly who and where I am on my spiritual journey with Him.  I know I must be patient, and wait for His timing, but restlessness sets in.  Why can't I, as Valerie so aptly states above, receive the word God has, linking my passion with His purpose for me?

As most of you know, 2018 is a particularly trying and challenging year for our family.  I continue to pray, to stay in the Word, to compose my blog posts, but I discover, to my chagrin, that I am beginning to experience unhealthy bouts of anxiety and irritation, much more than I care to admit.  These feelings lead me to ask forgiveness from God more and more, as the last thing I want is to allow the negativity brewing within to erupt, and end up hurting those I love.

But in all of this turmoil, I am drawing closer to the Lord in my weakness; much more than I realize.  God is calling me to Himself in a deeper, more intimate way through the trials.  Then suddenly, just days before the advent of 2019, "the word" arrives, the one God's been inviting me to discover all along.


And immediately, these lyrics appear in my head and in my heart, as I envision the Lord singing over me:

Lean on me
When you're not strong
And I'll be your friend;
I'll help you carry on.

Yes!  That's exactly what He has been trying to tell me all these long, turbulent months.

Lean!  On Him, not my own understanding.

  • L - Listen - to God's still, small voice, beckoning me to be with Him in quiet and solitude.
  • E - Embrace - the calling God is giving me.
  • A - Adore - worship Him in humility and gratefulness for all His blessings and promises.
  • N - Nourish - feed my soul with His Word, that I might, in turn, nourish others.

So this year, when the going gets tough, and I'm not tough enough to get going, I will lean on the Lord, my God, to see me through.  To be my strength.  My rock.  My shield.

My friend.

Knowing He is ever present to help me carry on.


I Love to Laugh!

Job 8:20-21 God does not support evil people; and he does not abandon the innocent. So perhaps you might laugh again. Maybe shouts of...