Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Sabbaticals, Reflections, Open Doors

I know, it has been a while.  It is a long story, full of adventure and heartbreak and revelation.  Eventually I will share it all.

Earlier today I posted a book review.  If you scroll down my page you will notice I am signed up with Tyndale to do reviews.  The book which arrived at the beginning of the month had been ordered a while ago, before it was even released, and, honestly, I totally forgot about it!!  None-the-less, it came, I read, and I gladly fulfilled my end of the deal which involves a blog post and two online store reviews.

Funny thing, how books can open doors.  This one by it's real conversational content and grace-filled perspective on sharing faith with others.  But also, as I have prayed over when God would have me return to the blog, I felt this book opened a door to begin the conversation about why I have been gone and when I am coming 'back'.

I have been on sabbatical.

All part of that long story, full of adventure and heartbreak and revelation.  As I started down the rocky path last spring which ultimately led to a full shut-down by end of summer... I knew I needed time for quiet and prayer and searching.

I don't know if this book was God's way of saying "It is time"... time to get back to the blog and life as a writer.  But I do know it was time to touch base with YOU, my dear reader, and let you know I am constantly thinking of you, praying for you and praying for when I can return to share heart renderings and hear heart renderings.

I'm still here.  Quietly listening.  Please feel free to contact me any time.  I will be back.... soon I hope and when I still pray.

Blessings,






Let's Talk About God

Have you ever wondered HOW to talk to your friends and acquaintances about God?  How much Jesus do you throw at them?  When do you pull out the Good Book and start pointing out scriptures?

I have read many books and even been through some great training programs on sharing faith but when I got out into the 'real world' it rarely ever went as text-book-like as these situations planned.  I have to admit, it left a lot of insecurities even when we were in full-time missions.  Enter, "Talking About God" by Steve and Cheri Saccone.


This book is a real, personal, authentic look at conversations with both friends and acquaintances which opened opportunity to share gospel Truth.  I loved reading it and seeing how they handled each situation, some more difficult than others. 

Steve tackles conversations from the guy's point of view with other men he has had the privilege to disciple.  Each struggling with their own sins and paths in lives from alternative religions to alternative lifestyles and variations in-between.  His answers and guidance are absolutely grace-filled and helpful for the rest of us!

Cheri enters relational situations from the lady's point of view.  Seeing the tender heart side of women and the insecurities we tend to struggle with and our desire to be in community with each other.  She shows how to be in community with others who may not believe like you do but always maintaining that Christian witness in attitude and posture and praying for them as well as recognizing (and seizing) those moments God provides to really share faith and help the ones we care about find Christ and grow in Him.

Both draw from REAL life, REAL conversations and situations.  You can't get more real and personal than that!

I was surprised that they never went into the actual, 'This is how you accept Christ' talk.  In one particular story I feel a few months of heart ache and struggles could have been avoided if Cheri had been more deliberate with that. 

However, I did recognize how grace-filled each scenario was and the tremendous amount of respect and dignity they gave those whom God gave them to minister to.  I believe it was this approach which allowed them the extensive opportunities to impress change in the other persons' lives.  Not a superficial "just believe in Jesus and it will all be alright" kind of faith.  No, I believe their interactions plant the seeds for truly relational "pick up your cross and follow Jesus" kind of faith.  The best and most sure-footed kind a person can have!

Would I recommend this book?  Yes, definitely.  If you want to learn how to share Christ in a more relational setting... something I feel we all need to know how to do well and grace-filled.  However, if you want to learn how to lead someone to Christ, you might throw these books in the pile too: "The Way of the Master" by Ray Comfort or "Share Jesus Without Fear" by William Fay .  But always, always with grace and dignity and gently handling the other person's heart.  Their salvation is VERY important, but it can't be knocked into them!  Got a hold of "Talking About God" and you'll see what I mean!

Blessings,





Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


Friday, August 25, 2017

What are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?


It has been a crazy coupla weeks here... I know all of you out there can relate.  Part of that crazy took me away from writing for a brief spell.  It was overwhelming, I kept wondering what to do about all the hopes I have laid out (especially in the newsletter) for this site.  I've been excited to ramp up blog-posts and content.  At the end of it all, though, I had some revelations culminating in a hefty journal entry/prayer.  I love those moments!  Afterwords, I popped on here and poured out the following message which I felt I ought to hold for editing but now feel completely ready to share with the world!  I hope it inspires your heart too....

***

I am a writer.

I never said those words of myself until a few years ago.  It took a good friend saying it of me to someone else before my eyes could be opened to the truth of one of the things God created me to do.  I would love to say i am a good many things I am simply not....

I am not a pumpkin or apple orchard farmer... my own apple tree and garden are in desperate need of help beyond my expertise.

I do not specialize in animal husbandry, I have too much empathy for that.

I am not a field missionary to a foreign land cuddling babies in orphanages, though I still dream of one day coming close to that.

No.
I am a writer.

I am also a teacher and a mom and a wife. I hold my own in crafting as well as planning and hospitality, I am passionate in learning about and understanding scripture, and I am an idealist along side being an optimistic realist.  Seriously.

But the one thing every thread of my life has in common is writing.  I love to write about it all.

I think an important part of "Success" in life is realizing who you are... what your strengths and weaknesses are.  Isn't that why those 'strength and weakness" questions are asked when you pursue a career?  When you try to act outside of your natural abilities, or outside the areas God is super-naturally equipping you to perform in, you will flounder and, often, fail.  If you don't fail... at the very least, you will feel dis-satisfied and perhaps even empty.

Even within our given Call, we are not immune to the need to know where we've been, where we are going, and all the ways that do and do not work to being part of the Greater Plan.  We need to understand these points on self, whether it is to garner prayer points for strength and focus or to be conscientious of growth and transformation needs.

Recently I launched my newsletter.  As I pieced it together I was reminded of how much I missed doing newsletters.  Back in the paste and print days I had a monthly crafting newsletter averaging 8-10 pages and a serious subscriber base just within our small-town community.  I love to blog and I love to write.... yet I think the newsletter is my favorite mode of communicating my writings and the things God is impassioning me on.

Yet, in that newsletter launch came the high-hope promises of certain content on the blog.  Ideas and dreams which, in another person's lifestyle, might work.... but in mine.... sadly, I can never seem to maintain that kind of blogging regularity.

Fact: I have an at-times demanding husband (he wants crazy things like time with me and clean laundry.... I know, strange, right?) with a weird work schedule

Fact:  Even after 3 months, we are still trying to get use to hubby's long weekend hours alongside our homeschool schedule (let alone that laundry and time spending thing!).

Fact: I homeschool and our mode of learning is an eclectic sort of school-at-home hybrid with high demands on teacher mom.

Fact: I have made the mistake in my past of choosing work over my kids and regretted it deeply... I only have 3 more years before they are all graduated and I don't want to say, "Sorry, I can't spend time with you today because I am writing to make a weekly blog deadline I self-imposed," and miss it.

Honestly, I don't know how some of you moms do it and I envy your ability to have those weekly blog parties activated on cue while popping out well written (and illustrated) articles throughout the week as well.  Keep up the great work!!  As for me... I can't do it, no matter how much I want to or try to.  It doesn't work for me.  (Yes, I have tried to create a back-log, but I can never seem to get enough regular time to keep enough regular content in the cue.)

My weakness is that I let life distract me.  Sometimes that is a good thing.  The whole Carpi Diem mindset because I don't want to get to the other side of life and say "I wish I had......"

My other weakness is that I try to keep up with everyone else (irony... I am a Jones trying to keep up with others!!  haha)  I want to be part of the hub... but I can't always.  I need to learn how to be ok with that.

My strength is in my passion (which can also be a weakness at times) and knowing I was created, in part, to write.  After 8 years of blogging and watching many others come and go, I still keep plugging ahead.  It is my niche, even with all my flaws in doing it!

I'm Ok with that.

So what is the point of all this?  Well, first of all, to admit to you, my dear reader and virtual friend, that try as I might to keep regular weekly content on this blog, I am hopelessly flawed in my ability to do so.

Second of all is to share, openly, that I will do all I can to keep content on the blog regularly, but my platform is moving more heavily to the newsletter.  It is the context I function best in.  All those years ago doing monthly newsletters as long as I did... I never missed a deadline once.  I had all month to string together content, do research, and plug in great graphics.  I still went for hikes with my kids, spent afternoons at the beach and cuddled up for movie time with hubby while he wore his freshly cleaned clothes! It fits me and knowing that about myself instead of denying it and trying to do something I am not equipped for.... is liberating.

I'm still unpacking all of the intricacies of this new admission within myself.  I just finished scrawling out SIXTEEN PAGES of revelation in my journal (no joke!  I told you I liked to write!)  But I do want to apologize for making promises I can't keep.  I will be working harder to be mindful of what I really am capable of - what exactly God is calling me to do - and not get over-zealous in taking on more than I can handle!



Thank you for reading, for visiting me.  I do consider all who wander across these pages to be friends ♥  I pray, in whatever God has called you to, you are always honest with yourself... real about your strengths and weaknesses, not trying to walk on ground God hasn't called you to, but rather, to walk and stand, within all your abilities and inabilities, right where God wants to work best through you!

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, 
that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, 
what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:2

Blessings,









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