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Showing posts from 2011

On "Overcoming Barriers to Forgiveness"

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"Apology and forgiveness are essential to healthy marriages," Dr. Gary Chapman, author of The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts) shared in a recent Focus on the Family radio broadcast, "Overcoming Barriers to Forgiveness 1."

Apology and forgiveness are important in all our relationships.

None of us is perfect. Offenses happen. And the road toward forgiveness and reconciliation can be more complicated and take more time than saying, "I'm sorry."


Have you ever offended someone, apologized, and still experienced barriers in the relationship? Apologizing may not be enough to restore a relationship if it isn't what the offended person needs to hear, explained Gary Chapman and Jennifer Thomas, authors of The Five Languages of Apology: How to Experience Healing in All Your Relationships.

There are different ways to apologize. More importantly, there are different expectations people have for when they believe an apology is sincere. So, …

No winner for Kathi Macias' book Deliver Me From Evil

Public announcement: No winner of the book drawing.

There was no winner for a copy of Kathi Macias' book Deliver Me From Evil.  Since the only commenters were the author and a representative of the blog tour, who should not be eligible for such a drawing, no drawing was held.

So, I still have the review copy of the book. I plan to offer it as a free book to a commenter who is not the author or a member of the blog tour at a later date. Watch for details.

So, if you're reading this blog and wondered, you may still have an excellent chance to receive a copy of Kathi Macias' book Deliver Me From Evil. 

Related Posts: Author Interview: Deliver Me From Evil 

Question for discussion: Have you ever offered something for free and didn't have any takers? What did you do?

Sharing lives and homes across generations

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It's not uncommon for families to live together.

When a baby comes home from the hospital, he may move into a home with two parents and older siblings. Aunts and uncles, grandparents -- relatives and family friends -- all welcome him. They hold him and cherish him, when they can, if only during short visits from across town or from across the country.

Babies around the world grow up in a multi-generational home.

In recent decades in our country, boot-camp or college dorm-life may be a young adult's first immersion in a predominately single-generation living experience. It's become part of the American Dream for many young people to grow up and become separate financially and socially from their parents and grandparents. They move out and on to set up their own apartments or homes. And many may someday embrace a new generation in their lives and homes.

This wasn't always how families expected to live. In many eras and locations, generations shared lives and homes. And …

Author Interview: Deliver Me From Evil, by Kathi Macias

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How did you come up with the idea for Deliver Me From Evil and the Freedom series?

It actually came out of a phone conversation with Andrea Mullins, the publisher at New Hope. We were discussing the Extreme Devotion series (about the persecuted Church), which I was still working on at the time, and we began to consider topics for a second series. Andrea was the one who suggested human trafficking, and it really struck a chord with me. The more I researched it and worked on the proposal, the more excited I became about joining forces with others working to abolish modern-day slavery, which is exactly what human trafficking is.

What was your favorite scene to write in Deliver Me From Evil?

This book/series has been the most difficult I’ve ever written, simply because the subject matter is so dark and heavy. More than once I had to walk away and clear my thoughts before moving on from one scene to another. But interspersed between the heartache and tragedy are several lighter…

Changing with the changes

So many changes have been happening, I've neglected posting to this blog. I hope to change that pattern. And soon.

Lately, I've been adjusting to going back to work. Good changes in this economy.

Thanks for your patient understanding with me and this blog during a time of many changes.

A time to sort and a time to linger

My 82-year-old mother-in-law died recently. Those who knew her will miss her smiling ways. She's in a better place now with more to smile about.

I've learned a few things in the wake of her passing. I don't mean to sound crass, but I never knew there was so much to do after someone dies. Maybe you haven't thought much about it either. I don't think many of us like to think about dying.

Did you know there are calls to make to cover hospital and hospice bills? Things to check on at the bank and with insurance policies? Arrangements for burial or cremation? Plans for a memorial service? Things to do to coordinate with family and friends coming in from out of town for a memorial service? Meals together, as time allows? Rides to the airport? Flowers to order for the service?

Someone has to do these things. We were fortunate family and friends helped out with so many details. And Pat's will and pre-arrangement preparations made some of the tasks easier. We were grate…

Free ebook: Veiled Freedom

Veiled Freedom, by Jeanette Windle (Tyndale House, 2009) is free this month on Kindle, Nook, Sony, CBD.com. This book was a 2010 Christian Book Award and Christy Award finalist.

Books: When a Man You Love Was Abused

Special Announcement from Cec Murphey: Today I learned that the Kindle version of my book When a Man You Love Was Abusedis available for $1.99 through Amazon. The special will run through next Wednesday, July 27. If you know someone who loves a man who was abused, or if you know a man who was abused, tell them about this offer. This Saturday, July 23, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, I will be involved in an important seminar to help those who have been abused and those who love people who have been abused. Main sessions include: I Ought to Be Healed by Now and The Lies We Believe. Breakout sessions include: When a Man You Love Was Abused, When a Woman You Love Was Abused, and Finding Hope in the Heartache. For more details on the When Someone You Love Was Abused seminar, click here.

Life is Fragile: Live Like You Were Dying

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Life is fragile.

A few weeks ago we received serious news about my brother-in-law in LA. A few days ago we received a call about my mother-in-law. One is mending, the other is not.


So, instead of writing this week, I'd like to remind us all to consider how quickly what we know and see and take for granted can change. Below is a song that says a lot of what's on my mind, among other things, because of family events.

In God's great kindness, he has given us life, choices and enduring love. So, let's love one another while we can.

Official Tim McGraw video


Bucket List by Stephen Mara is a cool video.


Related posts
Live Like You Were Dying by Craig Wiseman shares the story behind the song in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Country Music.Home by the Esh familyChrist Broke Our ChainsWhat would you include on your YouTube video version of Tim McGraw's song? Please respond in the Comments.

Betty Ford: Grace and Courage in action

I admire Former First Lady Betty Ford's dignity and candor. She made her struggles to cope with difficult personal problems public and helped many.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy
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If you're looking for an inspiring tale of courage and endurance, watch As Far As My Feet Will Carry Me.

The subtitle for the paperback edition is The Extraordinary True Story of One Man's Escape from a Siberian Labour Camp and His 3-Year Trek to Freedom.

How to Read a .pdf eBook on a Kindle

I'm getting to know my way around my new Kindle.

Did you know you can read free .pdf eBooks on your Kindle? 

While I was looking for free eBooks on the Web, I found a Kindle tip that was easy to do.

Book Review: ABC is for Circus by Patrick Hruby

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ABC is for Circus by Patrick Hruby
(Ammo Books 2010) is a beautiful book, designed to enjoy with a child, if he lets you.

The clear, vivid colors and enchanting designs in this chunky board book are delightful for children of any age.

Book Giveaway: Pressing into Thin Places

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This week I'm giving away my review copy of Pressing into Thin Places: Encouraging the Heart Toward God, by Margaret Harrell Wills, Ed.D

Learn more about this beautiful and inspiring book here:

Book Review: Thin Places allows glimpses of God

Ends July 8. I'll announce a winner on July 9

Leave a comment with your email address for a chance to win this lovely book. If you prefer, you can email me your email address instead of leaving it in the comments.

Book: The Principle of the Path by Andy Stanley

Andy Stanley used a vivid analogy of a personal experience he had of traveling on a road past a Road Closed sign to discuss choices we make in life and where they lead.

Some choices don't lead where we think they do; instead, they can take us where we don't want to go. Stanley offers practical key ideas that can help travelers reach their destinations or cope with a Road Closed situation.

She didn't have what it took ... or, did she?

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Inspiring people come in all shapes and sizes. Some, like Gladys Aylward, are small dynamos.

This is the first in a series of stories about inspiring people.

Working wannabeGladys Aylward's (1902-1970) limited educational abilities and work-related credentials as a parlor maid did little to impress the China Inland Mission Center. She didn't measure up. She failed their tests.

Have you read The Lost Tweets of Jesus by Ed Cyzewski?

What would Jesus have tweeted? If you ever wanted to know, Ed Cyzewski could tell you. He's  written the e-book, a red letter edition, no less. He claims he's "Uncovered the World's Greatest Ancient Digital Mystery." See for yourself.

Blessings2Go

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Have you ever heard the phrase "blessed to be a blessing"?
I first heard this phrase while studying the Bible in Colorado. This was the unifying theme as we worked our way from Genesis to Revelation. We learned God poured out his blessings on Adam and Eve, and later Israel, so his people could be a blessing to others. In the New Testament, we learned Christ's work and teaching continued God's goal of blessing all nations.

Blessing is defined as "aspecialfavor,mercy,orbenefit," given by God or others.


Subscribe by email is now available

A new Twitter friend visited my blog and suggested I add another way to subscribe to new blog posts. She pointed out that some blogs offer subscriptions by email, but my blog doesn't.

Thanks to her, now it does. 

Book Nook Fridays

Maybe you've noticed that in recent weeks the topic on Fridays revolves around books and authors.  Soon, I'll include book giveaways where you can leave a comment with your email for a chance to win a free book.

In today's post, Becky Harling, breast cancer survivor, shares lessons she's learned and the books she's written. I hope you find it interesting.

Please feel free to comment and let me know what you think.

Coping with Breast Cancer: Interview with Becky Harling

Listen to Hope for the Journey on Blog Talk Radio.

In this broadcast, Yvonne Ortega, national speaker and author of Finding Hope for Your Journey through Breast Cancer: 60 Inspirational Readings (Revell, Sept. 2010), interviews Becky Harling, a Bible teacher, speaker and breast cancer survivor.

Becky Harling talks about lessons she learned through her struggles with breast cancer.

Protecting a marriage, part II

I'm still very interested in the question Michael Hyatt posed in this blog post "What Are You Doing to Protect Your Marriage? Hyatt made excellent points and has collected great responses. A least one interesting discussion has spilled over into other blog posts. (Read  The Lamb's Power: Building Character.)
   Since writing a list of 10 things I'm doing to protect my marriage, one of my contributions to Hyatt's ongoing discussion, so there is something more I want to share here. There is much to think about. 
   This subject is so vital for us individually, for our children, our grandchildren, our evangelical Christian community and our nation.

Enter to win a copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Cat's LIfe

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Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Cat's Life ~Book Review & Giveaway~ Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Cat's Life
101 Stories about All the Ages and Stages of Our Feline Family Members

By: Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hanson and Jennifer Quasha
Foreword by: Wendy Diamond

Enter book giveaway contest here. Winner will be selected on June 12, 2011.
Mater's antics at our house could fill a book. He isn't camera shy. He runs to the door when the door bell rings, always interested to greet strangers.

Service repairmen and visitors find Mater willing to help at any time of day.

Do you have a fun story or photo of a cat's life?


Think before you post: Sexting dangers exposed

Christianity Today recently posted an article warning readers that the growing trend of sexting, sending nude or sexual pictures over cellphones or sometimes the internet, among young people is dangerous.


Watch Exposed, a 10-minute video

In this day of instant connections, it takes only a moment to dangerously complicate a life.

Do you or someone you love know the dangers of sexting?

Are you looking for Cheapskate writers with money-saving tips?

If you're looking for new ways to save money, you might want to break open a copy of Jeff Yeager's book The Cheapskate Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of Americans Living Happily Below Their Means (Three Rivers Press, 2010).

While on vacation I saw the title and picked it up. During these recessionary times, I'm looking for economical tips. Aren't we all?

I read Yeager's book in a single evening. Yeager's writing informs and entertains. He includes many familiar and new tips for keeping expenses down.
 Yeager shared stories and advice culled from fans of his earlier book, The Ultimate Cheapskate's Road Map to True Riches: A Practical (And Fun) Guide to Enjoying Life More by Spending Less (Broadway 2007).

Yeager shares humorous stories of his memorable trip from San Diego to Tuscon to promote his 2007 book. He traveled on the cheap by couch surfing and biking. A handful of stories push a few boundaries.

Who are these people?
More fans than he expected spe…

We remember the price of freedom

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Today, on Memorial Day, we remember ... the service and sacrifices of those who paid the price for the good of others.
We owe much to those who have sacrificed time, comfort and sometimes their lives. 
We continue to live in freedom  because of those who are willing to serve.  
Thank you.


Does remembering the sacrifices of others provoke a response from you? If so, what?

Books: Helping others can help us get through hard times

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In his book, The Hidden Gifts of Helping: How the Power of Giving, Compassion and Hope Can Get Us Through Hard Times, Stephen G. Post weaves personal experiences with scientific research, philosophy and spiritual principles in a discussion of how helping others brings benefits.

Post knows what he is talking about, personally and professionally. He has a long list of credentials, degrees, awards, and publications in the field. His personal and professional life regularly keeps him in practice teaching, advocating and modeling a helping ethic. His family members also follow his lead. Post shares the stories of how he and his family helped others during and after a difficult move from Chicago to New York in 2008, after 20 years in Chicago. Post's personal narrative serves as a thread that ties altruistic concepts together and underscore his theme.

Although the basic premise of the book is not new, this subject is timely during these recessionary times and worth repeating.

At time…

Stepping through yesterday, today and beyond

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Our Lauren graduates today with a master's degree. 
Yesterday     Lauren worked hard to reach this milestone. She invested money, hard-earned money, yet-to-be-earned money. Money well invested in her future.   Lauren invested long hours, week after week, year after year, to complete classes, internships, and to master information and pass tests -- all this and more to fulfill what was required of her.     She did it. She did all she had to to reach this point. She did it one task at a time, one day at a time, over and over. She kept trudging, sometimes skipping, on the journey to today. 
Today    So, today we celebrate Lauren's accomplishments. Congratulations, Lauren! We're so proud of you. 
And beyond
   The journey is not over. More milestones wait just beyond our sight....

What milestone are you nearing? What keeps you going?

Thin places allow glimpses of God

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Pressing into Thin Places: Encouraging the Heart Toward God, by Margaret Harrell Wills, Ed.D., is like a gentle breeze scented with hope that draws readers close to the heart of God.

In her book, Wills serves as a reliable guide on a meditative journey. She uses vivid and sometimes personal anecdotes, original poetry, and scripture -- all serve to encourage readers.

This small book is best read in a quiet room so time can slow down and attention can rest and linger on its time-proven truths. You may want to mute a cell phone or TweetDeck.

Thin places allow glimpses of God
In her book Wills shares glimpses of God at work in the world. She writes of difficult situations, a death of a child, brokenness and discouragement. She shares how we who follow Jesus and seek God may find a thin place, a time "when we feel especially close to God, where for a moment the spiritual and natural worlds intersect and narrow into a thin place, a place of sudden, momentary awareness of the deep pres…

What are you doing to protect your marriage?

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Michael Hyatt, chairman of the board of Thomas Nelson, often shares useful tips and information in his blog. He also asks great questions. Today was no exception. Hyatt's thoughtful blog post "What Are You Doing to Protect your Marriage?" provoked a variety of responses.

This was my contribution to the discussion:

Here are ten things that help to keep our marriage healthy. (I'll speak mostly for me.)

1. I'm growing in my faith relationship in the goodness, provision and love of God. This is foundational for growing who I am and what I bring to the relationship.

2. I'm practicing faith, trust and love in my husband and our marriage.

3. I'm committed to my husband and our relationship. We've made a public commitment during the marriage ceremony 30+ years ago. I've restated that commitment to him privately at different times through the years.

4. We practice good communication skills.

5. We cultivate respect for each other in attitudes, choic…

For Writers

Treasure hunting

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As children, my sister and I enjoyed collecting sandy treasures. One December when bills overwhelmed my single-mother's budget, we decorated our Christmas tree with strings of shells, popcorn and cranberries. I was six and have seen many trees since, but it is still one of the most beautiful trees I've ever seen.

Recycling and price-careful shopping have become more popular during this recession. Concerns about employment, rising costs of everything from gas to food have combined with concern for the environment. So green thinking includes not only recycling newspapers, cans, bottles, and children's clothing, but also many other items now.

This week we've been shopping at the beach resorts on the East Coast in Delaware and Maryland. Outlet stores and grocery stores have been busy, but thrift stories have been busier.
Treasures abound for those who are willing to shift through decades of cast off items in various forms, styles and conditions.
For those planning on shoppi…

Book: Pressing into Thin Places

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This press release details a book worth reading when it becomes available soon:

Recognizing the “Thin Places” in Our Lives Pressing into Thin Places leads hurting readers to a place where hope is found
Is there sustaining comfort to be found for the suffering, perhaps flailing, faithful? Dr. Margaret Wills, Ed.D, asserts that there is, and in her book, Pressing into Thin Places: Encouraging the Heart toward God (Brown Christian Press), she invites questioning, thinking, and hurting readers to recognize glimpses of wonder and to draw strength and find rest in the presence of a loving God.
Dr. Wills knows from her own experiences that life is not simple and that we all need encouraging words and reasons to hang on to hope. She offers these in abundance in this deeply personal, beautiful, and thoughtful work that summons authenticity and contemplation while soothing the dark night of the soul with kindness and truth. With transparency and refreshing gentleness, Wills tackles universal fears…

Silver Lining Success -- Coming Soon

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On Pam Kruger's website, I clicked on the link "Silver Lining Success," fully expecting stories of people who have battled through troubles and discovered unexpected gifts and treasures.

Instead I found a brief message, "Turing adversity into opportunity: COMING SOON," and a photo of sunlight transforming the edges of dark clouds into shining strips.

Even so the simple words "Coming Soon" ministered hope.

"Coming Soon" is a hope-filled message for the journey. When we're going through the storms of life, we need this hope. When we're still living the story and haven't yet reached a resolution stage, we need to remember God is at work. God is faithful. God gives good gifts to his children. When God allows dark clouds to obscure the sun for a time, we can be sure there are blessings to come.

Dark clouds cannot completely hide the shining light of God's love at work in our lives. If we haven't seen them yet, God's shinin…

Easter forgiveness

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Easter. A day filled with so much more than bright outfits, chocolate eggs and marshmallow bunnies, as good as all those are now and then.

Easter. A day like none other.

Easter. The day Jesus broke barriers of death and darkness that keep God from his beloved children. Jesus opened the way of  forgiveness, abundant life, and a way of love that never ends.

Happy Easter to all who love God's ways.

Love smiles in ways it could not before the first Easter.

A gift beyond ordinary

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Letters in our mailbox usually come in plain envelopes. But, last week, an online stamp buddy in San Diego sent me a hand-painted cover.

I'm not the only lucky recipient of Kristine's gift for creating unexpected beauty. Kristine regularly decorates envelopes she mails to friends and stamp collectors around the world. You can see more of her creative work on this stamp collecting website.

When I opened our mailbox last week and saw the extraordinary cover Kristine painted, I heard sea gulls and felt a hint of salt spray. Maybe it was my imagination. At any rate, the sweet-faced otter Kristine painted brought back memories of Marineland visits and days spent on the California shores of my childhood, of foaming waves, barking seals, delicate shells and hot sands.

Most mail we receive doesn't remind me of seashells, water critters and coastal shores. Kristine's remarkable cover shared beauty that transformed something ordinary into something beautiful. So, I wanted to sh…

Writing opportunity: 2012 MOPS Devotional

2012 MOPS Devotional Seeks Submissions

Never Alone is a devotional for mothers underscoring God's promise of His presence in her life - all the time. Scheduled for publication by Revell for a Summer release in 2012, Never Alone will be a companion to the 2012 theme book for Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) International.

You are invited to audition devotionals for this special book by sharing your own moments and memories of how God's presence -- or your yearning for it -- impacted or is impacting your days of parenting preschoolers. As we know, motherhood can be an isolating exercise. But God is there in the loneliness and most clueless moments, as well as those joyful instances we want to freeze for all eternity. Please consider sharing a part of your faith journey with today's 100,000 MOPS moms and others who can be encouraged by your experiences. Feel free to share this call for submissions with others who might have a heart for this project and a compellin…

A winning strategy to keep from quitting

Someone has said, "The difference between failure and success is picking yourself off the ground one more time."

Like many of us, Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson, battles the desire to quit. He has learned not to let feelings dictate the outcome for his dreams.

Michael Hyatt shares his strategy for endurance in his blog post "What Keeps You Going When You Feel Like Quitting?"

For every important area of his life, Hyatt has created a list to remind him why he is doing what he is doing. So, when he is tempted to quit, he has reminders of the dream. Hyatt has written these lists for his marriage, his career in publishing, his writing project, his running, you name it. These lists help him keep going when he feels like quitting.

Hyatt does more than discuss the topic abstractly. He gets down to specifics by sharing his marriage list.

Hyatt's article is practical and useful. Sometimes I feel like quitting. Hyatt's article gives me a tool to use today. So, I…

Canorus blossoms de-hacked

Spring. Once again cherry blossoms perch on dark limbs outside my office window. Delicate pink hues brighten areas that have endured winter storms and turbulent winds. Songbirds broadcast joy.

Through the years our cherry tree has survived those forces and my best intentions.

Years ago, when the limbs of our cherry tree were infested with bag worms, I cut off the diseased limbs. Then the tree was so odd looking, I chopped down the rest. Why let George Washington have all the fun?

As you may expect we missed the cherry tree, especially in April. Overgrown azalea bushes at its base hid its resurrection for a time. Now the cherry tree is more beautiful than ever.

Last fall, I noticed bag worms had occupied several branches high in the tree. This year we'll hire a tree specialist instead of trying to fix the problem ourselves.

Our backyard cherry tree reminds me of relationships worth keeping. We all like it when plants and relationships go well with little effort. But what happens wh…