Love at First Thought with Casey Herringshaw

OH My Goodness!

I am so pleased to have my sweet friend, fellow Alley Cat, and TREMENDOUS encourager, Casey Herringshaw as my guest today. Many of you may already know Casey from her beautiful blog, Writing for Christ, or her wonderful author blog, Operation: Encourage An Author.

If you’ve been blessed by the lovely personality of this young lady, let me introduce you to something else about her.

Her writing.

Yes, we get tastes of her writing on her blogs, but today I want to give you a hint behind her story-making.

Case, what was your Love at First Thought?

It was ever so simple.

I wanted to write a contemporary novel. After dabbling in historical fiction I wanted a change of pace. And I had the perfect story rattling in the noggin for such a story.
(one of those EUREKA! moments)

What would happen if a young woman became pregnant. What if it wasn’t by her husband? And what if it happened just days before the wedding?

Just what kind of emotional turmoil and external conflict would such an event cause?
Hmm. “What if” seems to be a theme here. Such a question is a writer’s best friend. At least, it’s mine.

And thus, Releasing Yesterday was born.

Ideas (for me) come from watching life. A pink rocking horse abandoned outside a church daycare. A couple that fell out of love even before they married.  Or my latest story- of a young woman who finds her now deceased husband has a child. A child she never knew about and now has to care for.

I’m inspired by the mundane or the normal that can be made extraordinary in fiction.

Wow! What a premise. I cant’ wait to learn more as Case continues her writing journey…and her navigation of the world wide web in search of sending someone encouragement.

Inspirational Moment:

Phillipians 1:4-6

 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Before I close up my laptop for the night, I think it’s important to reread this memorable verse. If our lives are a story, we know two things for sure:

1. There’s a beginning

2. There’s an ending

All of our stories started somewhere. It’s just the nature of it. All stories have beginnings.

And

Because our stories are penned by a loving and devoted Author, we don’t have to fear the ending of our story either. If you like HEA, Christianity is the place for you. Nobody can write an HEA like Jesus!

Read the Bible to get a good taste of a few stories. Raising people from the dead. Making broken people whole. Saving the world from the wrath of God…to name a few.

Ultimately, we get to be united with our Father God in some glorious ‘otherworld’ called Heaven.

So if you’re looking for a reality check, here ya go:

Life is hard.

God is good.

And you are part of a HEA.

End of story 😉

Love at First Thought with Myra Johnson

Well, it’s the last week of Love at First Thought blog series. I hope you guys have enjoyed it as much as I have.

Wednesday, Alley Cat and buddy, Casey Herringshaw gives us a glimpse into her Love at First Thought, and on Friday, I have debut author, Tina Radcliffe.

But today….

Myra Johnson joins us.

I had the wonderful opportunity to sit and chat with Myra and Mary Connealy for about half an hour at ACFW. (I chatted with them on other occasions throughout the weekend, but that 30 minutes was mostly just me and them. WONDERFUL – and totally selfish of me, but I’m not sorry 😉

Myra’s Love at First Thought is AMAZING! It’s one of those comments that becomes devotional.

Here it is:

One of my favorite books is Autumn Rains, and the main reason is because of how the idea came about. It was inspired by something that actually happened to my brother-in-law, who at the time was pastoring the church we attended in northwest Houston. Late one evening he and the church council president were at the church discussing some business when a man arrived looking for help. He said he’d just been released from prison (somewhere up north) and was trying to get to a Texas town farther south where he heard there were employment opportunities. 
 
When the bus stopped for a layover in Houston, he locked his belongings in a bus station locker (this was back when they still had lockers in bus stations), and then he lost the combination. Unable to get to his money or possessions, he asked around for suggestions on where he could get assistance, and someone pointed him in the direction of our community. This was in the heat of summer, and the man walked or hitchhiked some 25 or 30 miles to get to our church.
 
My brother-in-law was glad to offer the man some money from a church fund set up for such needs, and then he and the church council president drove him to where he could board a commuter bus back downtown so he could catch the next Greyhound bus south. On the way, they asked him what he’d been in prison for, and he answered, “Murder.” By now it was really late and really dark, so it got really quiet in the car at that point. My brother-in-law still chuckles over the experience, though, and several weeks later they heard that the man reached his destination, found a job, and started his new life. Or at least that’s the way I like to remember it.
 
So that’s the inspiration for my character Healy Ferguson in Autumn Rains, and to this day he remains one of my favorite heroes, a good man who made a mistake and paid for it, determined to become the man God created him to be.
Wow! What inspiration – and food for thought! Thanks, Myra.
What does grace look like in your life? Jesus was the Master at peddling out grace. Especially grace to the people the ‘world’ viewed as outcasts and undeserving. The very nature of grace is just that – showing love, forgiveness, & mercy when it isn’t deserved.
Christ is in the business of blessing beyond expectations or just desserts.
His entire rescue mission was built on this foundation: Save a bunch of undeserving sinners.
Wow!
And that love, that kind of grace, should spill out of our hearts and into the lives of those around us.
May we become Christ’s hands and feet of grace wherever we are.
Today.
Blessings,
Pepper

Love at First Thought with Audra Harders

Ever had one of those moments where you met someone and there was an immediate connection?

Unexpected.

Surprising.

Well, I had that wonderful experience when I met author Audra Harders at ACFW last year. I’d not had an opportunity to connect with her alot before ACFW, but once I met her…it was love at first hug. She is absolutely wonderful! Sweet, encouraging, and someone who knows how to pray.

Audra kind of took me under her wing, and I can’t tell you what a joy and comfort it was.

Between Audra and Patti Lacy, I was REALLY mentored for my very first ACFW (and I really hope to do it again in September)

I can’t say how blessed I was to have met her and now call her my friend.

Let’s here about Audra’s inspiration.

Pepper, thanks for the invitation to share my writing thoughts. You have a good idea of how my mind works and you still asked me to join the fun. Brave girl. Just for that, you’ve earned some chocolates, LOL!

 
My very first novel? Oh my that was a tomb of epic proportions and all the while I was trying to create an historical novel ala Kathleen Woodiwiss. Silly me. Still, I loved historical romances and wrote several of them, never quite finding my own voice.
 
And then I discovered country singer/rodeo cowboy Chris LeDoux and his songs/ballads. This is really where the story begins. All his songs tell a story of some aspect of cowboy and rodeo life. And he has the dreamiest voice, I could listen to the man sing for hours on end. The good Lord called him home way too early. I’m still shaking my head over that.
 
My first cowboy romance, Rough Ride, was the product of a multitude of rodeo songs by Chris and watching tons of PBR events (Professional Bull Riders) on television. All of my what-ifs grew from cowboys risking their lives to ride one and a half tons of meanness for eight seconds. Wow. I’ve been enthralled by cowboys my entire life. Finding out what makes them tick has become a challenge from which I can’t walk away : )
 
Cowboys are best, Pepper. 18th century Gypsies run a close second, but I’ll save them for another talk : )

Oh what fun, Audra. And cowboys….whew, GREAT idea 😉

Inspirational Thought:

Romans 8:29 (from the Message paraphrase version)

God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son.

The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored.

We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him.

After God made that decision of what his children should be like, he followed it up by calling people by name. After he called them by name, he set them on a solid basis with himself. And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what he had begun.

Do you ever wonder what your story is? Life ever get so confusing or convoluted that you can tell which way is up?

Well, you’re not alone. We’ve all been there. The great thing about it is – God has been writing your story from the beginning of time.

Without Christ, the view of our lives is worse that convoluted and confusing. It’s chaos.

We are utterly lost in the middle of a story with splashes of black ink colored pages, crinkled with sin.

We are a lost, horrible story.

Until Jesus picks up the pen.

In an amazing act of love and grace, he rewrites our torn and tattered pages of brokenness and selfishness. From the beginning of His story in our lives, though there will be conflict, trials, and hardship, there is an overarching theme of love – and a ‘glorious’ ending.

The story of our lives, covered with God’s fingerprints and Christ’s blood, wrapped in the cover of love, assures us of a happy ending.

What a story!

What a Savior!

Love at First Thought with Ruth Axtell Morren

Anyone in love with Regency?

Julia over at The Writers Alley had a great post about Jane Austen yesterday. And today, I have Regency author extraordinairre, Ruth Axtell Morren. Now Ruth writes more than Regency, but most of her books have been during that era…and incredibly memorable.

Oh my goodness, she has such a beautiful way of bringing out the Gospel within the romance of her characters. It’s truly amazing.

So… let’s see what inspired her First novel?

The idea for my first published novel, Winter Is Past, came from the Lord, pure & simple.  He had me go through a process in my own spiritual walk, whereby I had to put my writing on the altar–and be willing to completely give it up, if that was HIS perfect will for my.  This period lasted about 2 years. At the end of it, the Lord gave me a dream. That dream became the seed of the idea for Winter Is Past. It was for a regency romance, an era I had never even considered writing in, even though I loved to read regencies.  It took me another 2 years to research/write/edit/submit it in contests, before it sold–and I was offered a 3-book contract.  God’s timing or what?

Wow Ruth, I love this story – and your perseverance. And the novel? Winter Is Past – it was the first one of your novels that I read. FABULOUS!!

So, has anyone here been inspired by a dream?

Inspirational Thought:

I John 3:11-16

 11 For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12 Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters,[b] if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15 Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.

 16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.

What does love look like?

Jesus – his example.

Giving of ourselves isn’t easy. It requires sacrifice.

In case you’ve never realized it – love is an ACTION, not just a feeling. We cannot see the feelings, but we see the actions that take place because of the feelings inside.

The most inspiring thing in all the world is love. Real love.

Not only does it inspire more love, but random acts of beauty.

Jesus’ life did that.

Will ours?

Love at First Thought with Siri Mitchell

Oh boy, a new week of wonderful guests. Wanna know who’s stopping by?

Well, Wednesday, the lovely Patti Lacy is my guest.

Friday, we get to enjoy the sweetness of Audra Harders.

But today…

Get ready for the fabulous Siri Mitchell.

I just received Siri’s newest novel in the mail. A Heart Most Worthy. I can’t wait to read it. Siri is one of those authors who really likes to challenge herself as a writer. If you’d like to learn more about her versatile novel-writing background, check out this interview at The Writers Alley.

Siri gives us some insight about where her ideas come from. Check out the wonderful list of inspiring thoughts.

It seems like most of my recent novels have begun with something — some fact, some picture, some idea — that makes me go ‘hmm…’

A Constant Heart — Women poisoned themselves with their cosmetics.

Love’s Pursuit — A woman could be accused of doing something terrible (even though people ought to have known better) simply for what she was wearing.

She Walks in Beauty — Women ruined their health by wearing corsets.

A Heart Most Worthy — A group of woman at a dressmaking shop sewed wedding gowns for each other >>> to which was added the fact that Italian immigrants were the second most lynched group in America (after African Americans)

Hannah’s Heart — (I’m currently working on this one) There was at least one Quaker spy and there were several Quaker generals during the Revolutionary War. What made them decided to abandon their believes and take sides?

Other facts that have struck me and are waiting to be turned into stories somehow: Did you know if you put daffodils and tulips in the same vase, the daffodils will poison the tulips?; a woman who feels the urge to constantly re-arrange her furniture; in France, the Havilland China company imported American painters for their dishes — these people were regularly attacked and couldn’t go anywhere at night.

Rarely do any of these facts or ideas have anything to do with a plot. Sometimes, they’re not even about people…which can present some problems since novels are about people. But I just note them all down on a spreadsheet and when it comes time to choose what to write next, I review all the ideas and see which ones my subconscious has been working on.

My contemporary novels were different. Kissing Adrien was inspired by a non-fiction manuscript I’d written. Something Beyond the Sky was inspired by my own experiences as a military wife. Chateau of Echoes was my last-ditch attempt to get published, so I threw in all the elements I liked to read in a novel; I was also feeling homesick for France, so I imagined myself up in a castle. The Cubicle Next Door began as a book about a girl who used to be nice, but Jackie sort of hijacked it. Moon Over Tokyo I think was written in an attempt to explain Japan to myself.

Ideas are everywhere! I can’t turn all of them into novels, and sometimes my skill set has had to grow in order to be able to turn one of them into a novel, but somehow my brain seems to know which ones will work and which ones are just interesting facts to know.

Isn’t this fascinating?!? Look at all the various ways Siri finds her inspiration. Wow! And she has a wealth of books to prove that inspiration does pay J If you’ve never had an opportunity to read a Siri Mitchell book, get to Amazon or your nearest bookshop TODAY!! They are worth it!

And have I mentioned that she is SUPER sweet in person. Really, truly!

 One quick inspirational ‘beginning’:

2 Timothy 1:8-10

He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

Our good works, our writing, our love…none of them make God love us any more than he already does. You know why? He already loves us completely. He brought us into His kingdom as sin-cloaked rebels transformed by the grace of Jesus Christ. We were hand-picked, just because of love.

His love.

Extravagant, beautiful, unconditional, and far beyond our understanding.

He saved us. He called us.

Just because of love.

Grace.

Love at First Thought with Missy Tippens

Oh it’s another wonderful Seeker today. Missy Tippens, Fiction author with southern sweetness – let me tell ya.

If you’ve not had a chance to read any of her books, just check out her website here.

Missy and I are in cahoots.  She’s an author (I’m an aspiring one). She’s a mom of more than two younguns. She likes her southern livin’. AND she’s a pastor’s wife. (We gotta stick together, Missy 😉

Let’s here what Missy has to say about her Love at First Thought.

I’ve recently decided that my upcoming book is my new favorite (I wonder if the new ones will always be my fav??). 🙂 And one reason is because of where I got the idea for the story! In the back of the book, you’ll see this story in the Dear Reader letter. Here’s what happened…
 
A Family for Faith was inspired while I was flying home from a writers’ conference. Across the aisle, and up one row, a dad sat by himself with a young daughter. He was trying to fix the bow in her hair and was not having any luck at all. I just ached for him and his daughter, wondering if there was a mom in the picture. But I was also touched at how gentle and persistent he was, and that he tried so very hard with that silly bow. Right then and there, I knew I had to write a story about a single dad with a daughter who was hitting an age where she really needed a mother figure.
 
And, thus, my April Love Inspired release was born!
 
Look at the cover for her new book. Doesn’t it look lovely?!? The premise is great. I can’t wait to get my hands on it.
Inspirational Thought:
Isaiah 36:9-13
8 “Remember this, keep it in mind,
   take it to heart, you rebels.
9 Remember the former things, those of long ago;
   I am God, and there is no other;
   I am God, and there is none like me.
10 I make known the end from the beginning,
   from ancient times, what is still to come.
I say, ‘My purpose will stand,
   and I will do all that I please.’
11 From the east I summon a bird of prey;
   from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose.
What I have said, that I will bring about;
   what I have planned, that I will do.
12 Listen to me, you stubborn-hearted,
   you who are now far from my righteousness.
13 I am bringing my righteousness near,
   it is not far away;
Just in case you didn’t know – this is GOD.
When I read these verses, I get a sense that God is saying “This is who I am, whether you believe it or not. I am in charge – not you. I am exactly who I said I was so… be prepared, or watch out.”
Have you ever thought about the notion that God doesn’t need us.
The first time I heard that phrase, it ruffled my pride. I thought, “well, I’m important to God. Of course, he needs me.”
But, no, He doesn’t. He’s perfectly content in who He is.
God, the Father – God, the Son, and God, the Holy Spirit find perfect communion in each other so…
we’re just the bonus!! 🙂
In the verses above, God is making sure we get a good picture of who He is. He is God. Creator, Sustainer, Time Keeper, Cosmic Planner…and so much more. Our existence, eternally, is intricately linked with who He is. He doesn’t need us, but we desperately need Him.
The two beautiful things about it all are these:
1. He WANTS us! He may not NEED us, but he WANTS us – so throughout of the span of eternity He reaches into our hearts and brings us to Himself. Why? Because of LOVE. Wow! We’re the icing on the cake! He already has the most delicious cake in and of himself, but we’re the bonus, the fringe (so to speak, of course).
We make Him glad.
Isaiah 52:5 states
 As a young man marries a young woman,
   so will your Builder marry you;
as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, 
   so will your God rejoice over you.
 
2. He is NEAR
We don’t have to search far away for God. He is near.
In the beginning of time, he was so close he took walks with Adam and Eve.
The Fall happened and broke that intimacy.
But Jesus came to reconnect us to our Bridegroom. The bridge between us and God. The chasm of sin no longer seperates us from the Father’s love.
Acts 17:26-28
26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’
Find comfort in this: You are loved extravagantly by a Bridegroom who is near.
Blessings,

Love at First Thought with Deb Raney

Another great day for Love at First Thought, and today I have award-winning author, Deb Raney.

Deb is a fabulous resource of information and encouragement. I met her three years ago at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference in North Carolina – and have looked forward to seeing her each consecutive year. Truly, she’s as sweet as she looks.

Here’s her Love at First Thought:

My first novel, A Vow to Cherish, is about a family dealing with the wife’s diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Early in our marriage, my husband and I worked in the occupational therapy department of a large nursing home in New York. We worked with many patients with dementia and I realize now that working there, I was doing the research for a novel I wouldn’t write for many years. But when friends of my parents, and then grandparents of our children’s friends were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, I remembered my time working with such patients in the nursing home. Soon, the idea for A Vow to Cherish began to form, and once I started writing, it was just five months before I had a finished first draft. That book was contracted just a few weeks before Ronald Reagan announced his own diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, and in 1998, it became a feature-length film from World Wide Pictures.

Wow, Deb – what a story!!! I know from personal experience what a difficult journey it can be.

Thanks for your insight and inspiration.

I’ll add an Inspirational Thought on Friday. In the meantime, may the Lord bless your day with inspirational thoughts and beautiful blessings.

Love at First Thought with Julie Lessman

Well, it’s Valentine’s Day!!

Happy Valentine’s Day to you all!!

Who better to welcome in the Season of Love with the Kissing Queen herself, Julie Lessman.

Julie has been a tremendous encouragement to me over the past year. From praying for me, checking up on me, and giving me words of advice for both writing and living, I am so thankful God gave me the opportunity to get to know this FANTASTIC lady. Her entire personality lights up the first floor of any building. People swarmed around her at ACFW, wanting to glean from the passion for life she exudes. The same passion she pours out onto the page in her beautifully written novels.

Some of you may have heard the ‘behind-the-scenes view of Julie’s first novel, A Passion Most Pure, but for those who haven’t, here’s a sneak peek.

Four life-altering words: Gone With the Wind. From the moment Scarlett seared Rhett with a look on the winding staircase of Twelve Oaks, I was hooked, and my “romance-writing career” began with a 150 single-spaced manuscript that today is the basis for my debut novel, A Passion Most Pure. As a young pre-teen girl I knew I wanted an Irish family, a war and a love triangle just like GWTW, so that’s what I did.

Fast forward almost forty years later—I was sitting in a beauty parlor reading a Newsweek magazine July 16, 2001 cover article about Christian entertainment. It said Christian books, movies and music were on the threshold of exploding. My heart jumped, and something in my spirit said, “It’s time to finish your book.” I started writing A Passion Most Pure one month later, finally selling it to Revell after 4-1/2 years and a total of 45 rejections. 

Can you imagine? This amazing book took 45 hits before Revell saw the possibilities. I’m SOOOO glad they did! Thanks for giving us that reminder to persevere, Jules.

Inspirational Beginning:

2 John 1:1

To the lady chosen by God and to her children, whom I love in the truth—and not I only, but also all who know the truth— 2 because of the truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever: 3 Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love.

 4 It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us. 5 And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. 6 And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.

It’s a choice we make that isn’t always an easy one. Love.

The idea behind the verse above ‘walk in love’ is that love is continually flowing from us, in constant motion throughout our lives. It’s as evident as walking.

The contradictions of this love?

It breaks down walls and it builds them up.

It crushes pride but nurtures hope

It is replenished as it is given away.

It is unending, yet ends all conflict

It binds us, yet sets us free.

It is big enough to change the world, but small enough to fit inside a heart.

Love.

In such a great way, God’s love transforms our lives so that we walk in the knowledge: We are inexhaustably, neverendingly, overwhelmingly, liberatingly, breathtakingly loved beyond our greatest imaginings. Loved through life and eternity by the Bridegroom of Heaven.

Not only has he swept us into his love, but wrapped us in such assurance that our hearts rejoice in Him.

True love?

Jesus

What can you give Him for Valentine’s Day?

Your heart.

 

********************

final picture courtesy of : http://ccesonline.com/devotionals/holidaysseasons/valentines-devotional-2/

Love at First Thought with Ruth Logan Herne

I’m continuing with my blog series Love at First Thought, where authors share the inspiration behind their beautiful novels.

I can’t tell you how pleased I am to have a very special person as guest today.

In fact, she’s so special that I’ve adopted her.

She’s my writing mother. Do you want to know the reasons I had to adopt her?

  1. She’s WAAAAY too young and savvy to have a daughter my age, of course.
  2. Not only is she savvy, but she’s sassy too – keeps me in my place. (you know, the kick- you-in-the- pants-when-you-need- it kind of person.
  3. She has an amazing sense of humor. Hilarious. Even if it’s at other people’s expense.
  4. She has a heart the size of New York. (So the big stick she carries isn’t as intimidating…mostly)
  5. And she’s a Seeker-extraordinaire

Welcome Ruth Logan Herne to Words Seasoned With Salt.

Here’s the inspiration for her novel, Winter’s End (to read a review, go here)

Winter’s End.

I saw this farmhouse,  frayed and faded.  Mold-hashed. Worn. Tired. In need of care. And a man’s soul, the same way. Aching, both of them, but no time to fix either. I saw a hospice scene, an older man but not old, in a hospital bed, dying. And I saw a young woman who worked so hard to be normal, to appear normal that she almost thought she was. But she hated the cold. Hated the snow. Hated the long, dark days of winter. Hated the memories that  winter spawned, that feeling of never quite being warm enough.

He was wed to the land, born to it, at peace with it when no other sanctuary offered him shelter. His land. His farm. His family. His home. His legacy.

She wanted and needed peaceful faith, a bucolic setting, a Kincade cottage of hopes and dreams, lit from within.

She couldn’t stay.

He couldn’t leave.

Oooh, doesn’t that sound so good! And it is!! Not only that, but Ruthy has loads of new books coming out this year. Learn all about them at www.ruthloganherne.com

And check out the wonderful world of Seekerville while you browsing the Web.

Inspirational Beginnings:

Ecclesiastes 3

A Time for Everything

 1 There is a time for everything,
   and a season for every activity under the heavens:

 2 a time to be born and a time to die,
   a time to plant and a time to uproot,
 3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
   a time to tear down and a time to build,
 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
   a time to mourn and a time to dance,
 5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
   a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
 6 a time to search and a time to give up,
   a time to keep and a time to throw away,
 7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
   a time to be silent and a time to speak,
 8 a time to love and a time to hate,
   a time for war and a time for peace.

 9 What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet[a] no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.

Have you realized yet that things come and go? That even the best things in life only last for a definitive time period.

The old adage “Nothing lasts forever” might come to mind.

Well, Ecclesiastes is trying to help us gain perspective on eternity. Because, until we grasp the idea of a God over All things – we will spend most of our lives getting lost in the moments. Trudging through the tough times or the ‘waiting’, without stepping back to catch a glimpse of a God’s-eye view.

It’s easy to get lost in the moments. Who likes to wait? Or be discouraged? Or feel grief and pain?

But the good thing is – those are only part of a season, not an eternity.

And the wonderful seasons? Well, they’re only here for a specified time too. Remembering this (especially for me as a parent) should keep me from holding on too tight and trusting God a whole lot more. (I’m still working on that one)

The only safe, secure, unchanging foundation at the heart of eternity is God. Eccl states “He has set eternity in the human heart.” Wow, what a thought. Our hearts are already set on an eternal timepiece, waiting for the next tick of time.

It’s so easy to get caught up in worldly affairs that we forget the BIG perspective: God’s. There’s relief and hope within his constant care. When our world falls to chaos, his eternal, strong, and nail-scarred hands remind us there is a bigger picture we cannot see.

The comfort is in the fact that our Father God loves us…THAT much!

We can trust Him with the seasons of life, and cling to the knowledge that at Winter’s End, Heavenly Joy will be our reward.

Blessings,

Pepper

Love at First Thought with Margaret Brownley

Well, Margaret Brownley already knows this, but I’ll just share it again.

I absolutely loved all the kissin’ that took place in her novel, A Suitor for Jenny. Love it. And it had such a great mix of humor and conflict (with nicely placed smooches inbetween), I could help but enjoy the read.

Her first inspirational novel, A Lady Like Sarah, has been my FAVORITE of her novels so far, but as far as lip locking action, A Suitor for Jenny is the winner of the two.

Both books are fabulous fun to read.

If you want to get an idea, check out my reviews here:

A Lady Like Sarah

A Suitor for Jenny

Well, Margaret is going to share some inspiration for you.

Years ago I cut a picture from a magazine of a bride hanging upside down from a tree branch. She didn’t seem to care that her hair was mussed, her dress dirty or even that the groom and guests and, heaven forbid, her mother might be panicked.  Who was she?  I wondered.  What was going through her mind?  Who was she marrying?  Love at first thought?  Not exactly, but one day the muse kicked in and I finally had my answers.

Her name is Lucy Fairbanks and you’ll meet her in my June 2011 release A Vision of Lucy.  Lucy is a photographer and will do anything to get the perfect photograph. To that end she climbs trees, jumps fences and falls onto a run-away stage.  She also learns the hard way to never, never ask an outlaw if you can shoot him—whether with a camera or a gun.  As for hanging from a tree, you’ll have to read the book to know how that turns out.

Woohoo, Margaret, I cannot wait to find out more about Lucy.

Thanks for sharing this with us today.

Inspiration from “Beginnings”

Psalm 111: 9-10

He provided redemption for his people;
   he ordained his covenant forever—
   holy and awesome is his name.

 10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
   all who follow his precepts have good understanding.
   To him belongs eternal praise.

I heard someone say once “Knowledge may be the right thought, but wisdom is having both the right thought and the right action.”

True wisdom is all based on our starting point, and the best beginning is in the Creator. Why? Because we only see a very small puzzle piece of a very large picture. Our lives are minute segments on a grand palate of eternity, so trusting only in our own finite perspective may seem a bit…foolish?

God Word is a guide of GBR – God’s Best rules. If we trust, respect, and honor our heavenly Father, we try to obey His Word.

Do we fail? Sure, and that’s why we need Jesus, but for the most part God’s ‘rules’ set up a guideline for our safety. His guide for us reigns in the, otherwise, chaos of the world.

We act wisely when we put our trust, confidence, and honor in God by putting it into practice. Doing something.

The ‘beginning’ of wisdom is the recognition and acceptance that God knows best.

Not always easy, but the road that leads to Him is worth the heartaches along the way, because there is a guaranteed ‘happy ending’.

Stop by on Friday for Ruthy Logan Herne!!

Blessings,

Pepper