Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Steadfast - Guest Blogger Camille Eide



It's guest blogger Wednesday! And I have a treat for you! Camille Eide is  my guest. And she's giving away a copy of her debut novel, Like There's No Tomorrow. 

More about that later. First let's meet Camille.






Camille Eide writes heart-tugging tales of love, faith, and family. She lives in Oregon with her husband and is a mom, grammy, church office manager, bass guitarist, and a fan of muscle cars, tender romance, and Peanut M&Ms.







Camille’s Website: www.camilleeide.com
FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Camille-Eide-Author/134301859999367
Twitter: www.twitter.com/CamilleEide
Email: Camille@camilleeide.com for interview questions or other info
Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/ctXKoiwRvxY


Thoughts from Camille:




“Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest.
I would flee far away
and stay in the desert;
I would hurry to my place of shelter,
far from the tempest and storm.”
Psalm 55:6-8


I have heard people say, “If I could just get over this health issue,” or “If only I had more money.” If only I had less stress, more help, less pain, more support, etc, etc.

Have you ever been there?

If only . . .

If I could just . . .

Behind these words is a cry for relief. Not only relief from difficult circumstances, but also from fear and hopelessness. What if I become so sick or anxious or overwhelmed or so deeply in debt that I can’t function? What if my circumstances never change? What if it gets worse?

Thanks to our Adamic inheritance, we live in a fallen world, full of sin, disease, dysfunction, injustice, abuse, brokenness—the list is endless. You may be dealing with something that could wreak more damage than a hurricane. Whether from external circumstances or inner struggles, the weight of constant suffering can be unbearable and make us hopeless for a way out, no end in sight. No hope for relief.

My pastor suffers terrible migraines. These are horribly painful to the point of making him physically sick. He can’t think or do anything but lie still in silent darkness. With a family and a loaded plate of pastoral responsibilities, he doesn’t have time to be sick, and yet he somehow presses on, with the diligence of a faithful, caring shepherd. He asks God for healing and asks others to pray, and yet the headaches continue. When a migraine strikes on a Sunday, we’ve seen God answer prayer many times by giving him enough strength and relief to deliver his sermon. What amazes me is that in spite of this suffering, this man is absolutely unwavering in his faith in Christ. His life is an inspiring example of steadfast confidence in and obedience to God. The fact that God has not yet healed him doesn’t stop him from serving the Lord with his whole heart, with truth and grace, every minute of every day.

He continues to ask God for healing. And we should keep asking God to relieve us and others of suffering. I know he can. And many times, he does. But what if immediate relief isn’t part of his plan for us right now? What if God has his reasons for our weathering a storm (or an entire hurricane season) instead of rescuing us from it?

The Apostle Paul talked about his “thorn in the flesh.” I think Paul came to terms with the fact that relief from this trial would not be soon coming. I also think that at some point, he became grateful for the thorn, because it drove him closer Jesus.

How does being close to Jesus help when we face difficult circumstances?

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.

Jeremiah 17:7-8

So I’ll never fail to bear fruit. Awesome. But what good is a bunch of fruit when I’m suffering?

When we turn our lives over to Christ, his Spirit moves in and begins the work of making us more like him. God’s word and presence feed, sustain, and transform us. This transforming work is evident by spiritual “fruit” such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Not a pretense worn outwardly like a “goody-hoody,” but a God-kind of gentleness and peace that springs from the center of our soul where God, the Maker of the universe, lives and works in and through us. This fruit not only lets others see God in us, it’s presence in our lives reminds and assures us of his power and love. This assurance comes from experiencing God in a way that teaches us we can trust in his goodness, his provision, and his constant faithfulness.

If storms feel endless and unbearable, maybe we need to stretch our roots deeper into God’s stream. When we make him our daily Source, nothing can destroy us. No drought, famine, wildfire, (debt, depression, pain, cancer) can steal our love, joy and peace when we are nourished by The Stream.

Yes, storms may shred our bark, and our fruit might be knocked off and crushed, but we will never wither. We might be battered for a season, but God will be our strength and sustenance. If he is allowing us to go through difficulty, he will provide what we need. And he won’t let us weather a storm alone! He is a “friend who sticks closer than a brother” and will stay beside us all the way to the other side, whatever that may be. He will never leave or forsake us! We will sprout new leaves and blossom again. What tremendous hope we have!

Are you in a season of suffering? Can you share a time when circumstances felt too unbearable? Have you “reached your roots” into the stream of God’s daily provision and strength?


======================
Camille’s new contemporary novel, Like There’s No Tomorrow, (ow.ly/BKbm9) released Sept 30, 2014 from Ashberry Lane Publishing (www.ashberrylane.com). It’s a mildly amusing yet tender love story about two young, single caretakers, two quirky old Scottish sisters bent on reuniting, and too many agendas. It’s a love story with a tug-o-war over a daft old woman, family drama, faith testing, and the gift of each new day.





I love this story. You will too.

And you have a chance to win a free copy. All you need to do is leave a comment. Make sure to include your email address so we can contact you.

Book Links:
Kindle: ow.ly/BabHj
Paperback: ow.ly/BKbm9
Barnes & Noble: http://ow.ly/C3il1
Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/like-there-s-no-tomorrow-1
iTunes: http://ow.ly/C3ffA
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/477970
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23173345-like-there-s-no-tomorrow

Camille blogs about God’s grace at Along the Banks
http://camilleeide.wordpress.com/


We have a piece of business from last week. The winner of Angela Strong's book, The Snowball Fight Professional.





And the winner is ...

Amy Davidson.

Congratulations!



Grace and peace to you from God,

Bonnie






















Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Steadfast - Wednesday's Guest Blogger Angela Strong


Let's begin this week's Guest Blog with last week's winner. Congratulations Patti Iverson!

Saved by the Fireman will be on its way to you soon.


I love Wednesdays because I get to read incredible stories right here on my own blog. They are about love and loss and hope and joy. 



And this week Angela Ruth Strong is my guest. 



Angela Ruth Strong studied journalism at the University of Oregon and published her first book LOVE FINDS YOU IN SUN VALLEY, IDAHO in 2010. 

Her Fun4Hire series for ages 8-12 started with a short story titled THE WATER FIGHT PROFESSIONAL that has been printed over half a million times. You can find out more about her and her Twitter campaign to have a snowball fight with Jimmy Fallon on her website at www.angelaruthstrong.com.


Angela has something special to share with us this week.

Hope for the Holidays


Today I prayed for lonely hearts. There are a lot of them out there. I know because I heard from three of them on facebook this morning alone … and because I used to be one of them.

I pray for them because I know how hard it is during the holidays. And because I know there is hope.

The trickiest part is living like you have hope when you don’t feel it. So here are the three tricks that helped me make it through my darkest days.

1.) Seek truth. For my husband it took years of living in confusion over his first wife’s growing distance before he finally prayed, “God, show me the truth.” Moments later he drove into a restaurant parking lot to find his wife in the arms of another man. I had a similar experience in my first marriage, and I also had a residue of lies I believed about myself after being abandoned. Lies about my worth. I’m still sensitive to the issue of being a “burden.” But if I hadn’t found truth, I would never have waited for a man who would treat me right and/or I wouldn’t have been able to accept his love. I once had a friend say to me, “Ang, my ex was a schmuck, and if I can’t keep him, how am I ever going to keep a good man?” The answer is that a good man wouldn’t have cheated on her. She has to believe she is worth a good man to have a healthy relationship. This requires finding value through counseling and prayer and reading the Word and connecting with godly mentors. This requires truth.

2.) Give thanks. One of my darkest moments was when my ex (husband at the time) forced me out of my home without eating the dinner I had made because he couldn’t stand to be around me. I had nowhere to go. And no money to buy myself something to eat because he’d taken my name off the bank account. I called a relative in tears. He said, “Don’t even pray for him, Angie. We’ve all got you both covered in prayer. You just give thanks.” Seemed like a crazy idea at the time, but I went to the Christian bookstore and put on some headphones and listened to worship music. Best advice I’ve ever gotten. It took my eyes off my problems and put them on Jesus. It’s that simple. If you focus on being alone, you’re going to feel lonely. If you focus on thanking Jesus for all he’s done for you, you’ll feel more loved and accepted than you’ve ever felt.

3.) Grant mercy. “Mercy triumphs over judgment every time.” We sang these words at church, and they revolutionized my life. Because I had judged big time. And you know what? My judgments were based on truth. They were biblical. They were right. But the outpouring of mercy I suddenly felt for the people who had hurt me the most made me feel alive again. I could let go of vengeance and fear the expectation I had for God to grant me justice. It didn’t matter anymore. For the first time ever, I could wish my enemies the best. And mean it. I seriously wanted mercy for them. I wanted them to feel as free as I felt right then. Because it was so powerful and beautiful and healing. It didn’t matter that I was alone anymore because I was so overflowing with love that I cared more about being there for others than having someone be there for me.

A year later I met the man of my dreams, though I thought it was too good to be true. I didn’t think I deserved it. He would say, “You are a gift from God,” but I couldn’t say it back. I was afraid God was going to take him away. Then one day on a jog I was thinking about this, and I got this scripture stuck in my head: “Every good and perfect gift is from God.” I went home and looked up all the verses that included the word “good.” The first one in the Bible was, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” The last one was, “Now you have tasted and seen that the Lord is good.”
I bawled. I accepted God’s gift. I celebrated my 3rd wedding anniversary this year. And it’s been good.

To all who are lonely, I pray my story gives you hope. And more importantly, I pray that someday your story will give others hope. Because that’s a pretty good and perfect gift, too.


What a beautiful story, Angela. And wise words from one so young. Thank you for sharing.


Angela has a new book out and she's giving away one copy to a lucky winner. To have a chance to win a copy leave a comment and make sure to include your email address so I can contact you.


I've heard kids are loving this book!






I, Joey Michaels, am the Snowball Fight Professional. Basically this means that customers pay me to shoot snowballs at other people. I'll use the profits to buy Grandma a gift so impressive that she'll give me a puppy for Christmas. Unless, of course,  my cousin Winston has anything to do with it ...
Earning the Puppy wouldn't be so hard if I didn't have the following problems:
1) Winston stealing my employee.
2) Winston getting me in trouble every time I do something wrong.
3) Winstron blaming me for things I don't even do.

If I don't get the puppy ... ugh. Winston will get  him. And Christmas should be all about what I want, right?

The snowball Fight Professional is Book 2 in the Fun4Hire Series.


This sounds like a book my grandsons would enjoy. Hmm. I'm still shopping.  

I'll announce the winner of The Snowball Fight Professional next Wednesday.


Grace and peace to you from God,


Bonnie





Sunday, December 07, 2014

CHRISTMAS CONTEST!



I'M HOSTING A CHRISTMAS CONTEST




The winner will receive a FREE audio copy of the newly revised The Journey of Eleven Moons. 

It is a spectacular way to experience the dramatic story of Anna and her sister Iya who lose their village in a tsunami and are forced to find a way to survive the Alaskan wilderness on their own. Their only help is an outsider that Anna doesn't trust.




All you have to do to win this book is share one of your favorite Christmas memories. 

I will run the contest through December 25th and will draw one winner on December 26th.







I can hardly wait to hear your stories. I will include some the best ones here on my blog during the Christmas season.

MAKE SURE TO LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS SO WE CAN CONTACT THE WINNER.


God bless you! Merry Christmas!



Friday, December 05, 2014

Life In 100 Words Or Less - Be Happy!



Yesterday was a good day. 

Mom and I hung out at the duck pond. I met with my acupuncturist. And I did some Christmas shopping.


Why was this day better than any other? I had a REALLY good time! I decided to have fun.


Each person I spent time with became a new friend, even the man who pumped my gas.


Connecting with others makes life more fun. Engage new acquaintances. Make eye contact. Chat. Smile.


Next time you go out, make new friends, even if they are momentary friendships. I bet you'll have a good day too.


Grace and peace to you from God,


Bonnie

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Steadfast - Guest Blogger Allie Pleiter


Make sure to read to the bottom for a chance to win a FREE Book!

Life if filled with treasure, not just the monetary kind, but that which builds our spirits and nourishes our lives. Allie Pleiter, my guest blogger, has treasure to share. Please read on and become richer.



An avid knitter, BBC Television geek and French macaron enthusiast, Allie Pleiter writes both fiction and non-fiction.  The enthusiastic but slightly untidy mother of two, Allie spends her days writing books, buying yarn, and finding new ways to avoid housework.  

Allie hails from Connecticut, moved to the Midwest to attend Northwestern University, and currently lives outside Chicago, Illinois.  The “dare from a friend” to begin writing has produced two parenting books, twenty-two novels, and various national speaking engagements on faith, women’s issues, and writing.  

Visit her website at http://www.alliepleiter.com or her knitting blog at http://www.DestiKNITions.blogspot.com



Riches from Allie:

During my son’s four-year bout with multiple illnesses, I learned there are two types of adversity:  One is the full-scale calamity where you must surrender to your circumstances and exist in survival mode.  Those times offer lessons in grace, dependence, humility, and the extraordinary provision of our Lord.The other kind of adversity is a slow and weary trial that goes on for months, where you battle an eroding brand of normal. This trial must be fought by excavating blessings from amid the constant strain.  For that I used my “Fort of Fours.”

  Each morning I fought hard (some days really hard) to list four blessings.  Simple things like a warm cup of coffee, a kind hospital nurse, positive test results, anything that could teach my spirit to find the good even on a bad day.  Then, I allowed myself to list four prayers for only the coming 24 hours—even if that meant one of those prayers was not to freak out about something that could not be solved in 24 hours.  I went back each morning and put a check mark next to each prayer from the previous day that had been answered.  I collected a lot of check marks.

These eight items became my daily spiritual vitamins.  It allowed me to keep going, to carry a lightened workload, and to see my son through to his healing.  He’s fine now, but I still practice this every morning, and probably won’t ever stop.


These survival techniques are just what I need. Thank you, Allie.

Allie is offering a FREE BOOK to one of you. All you need to do to be included in the drawing is leave a comment. Make sure to include you email address so we can contact the winner. 

This sounds like a fun read. And just in time for Christmas.




Charlotte Taylor isn't good at playing it safe. Reeling from the sudden loss of her job and her beloved grandmother, Charlotte knows buying a dilapidated cottage in Gordon Falls isn't exactly practical. Especially since she just hired the one man who may love the property more than she does to help renovate it. Volunteer firefighter and part-time contractor Jesse Sykes can't stay mad at Charlotte for very long. Though she snatched up the home he'd planned on purchasing, Charlotte's dreams are big enough for both of them…if only she'd let him in. Charlotte promised she'd never fall for a first responder, but is it already too late?


I'll announce the winner of Saved by the Fireman next Wednesday.

Grace and peace to you from God,

Bonnie












Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Journey - It's All About Love





I had such a busy and blessed Thanksgiving that I didn't get a message out on my blog this week.  So Sorry.

First order of business - We have a winner from last week's guest blogger. 



Congratulations, Patti Shene! 
You have won a copy of Dandelion Moon! 



Over the Thanksgiving Holiday I enjoyed precious time with family. I was reminded of my many blessings.

The weekend stirred up my internal thought processes. The idea of love and what it truly looks like whirled around in my mind and my heart. 


None of us is good at loving all the time, but let's be honest, some people are better at loving than others. I've decided that a person with a warm and gentle heart always beats out someone who has their act together. We know those people. They are the ones who always look good - who say the right thing - help the poor - make wise choices - and are successful (in the eyes of the world). But what about the warm and fuzzy component? It's gone missing. 


The world would have us believe that the appearance of goodness is what matters ... and the world would be wrong. The world sets a low standard when it comes to how we should love others. God's Word, on the other hand, sets a high standard. But any other bar of measurement is inadequate. 


1st Corinthians 13 says it so well. Please read and take time to reflect. What is God telling us?


  If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn't love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God's secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn't love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it, but if I didn't love others, I would have gained nothing.

  Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
  Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! But when full understanding comes these partrial things will become useless.
  When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. all that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
  Three things will last forever - faith, hope, and love - and the greatest of these is love.

Love one another. We have only one chance at this life. There are no do-overs. So, let's do our best.


Grace and peace to you from God,


Bonnie



Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Steadfast - Guest Bloggrer, Hannah Alexander



Wednesday means another book giveaway and another guest blogger.

Welcome Hannah Alexander. Thank you for being my guest.





Hannah Alexander is the pen name of an award-winning husband and wife writing team with over thirty published romantic medical suspense novels.

http://www.hannahalexander.com

When to press on and when to surrender is one of the toughest decisions we can make. But God is faithful to show us the way.

Hannah knows this well. Here is her story.


When I Quit

My writing career was doing well as I drove to my mother’s country house one day to check on her. I had just completed the first novel in a new series of trade paperbacks, and I was excited about it. I felt it was one of the best I’d written, and was planning the next in the series. Unfortunately, I had no idea how I was going to complete the other two novels.

Mom’s health was getting worse as she was battling breast cancer and knee surgery. Each time she went under general anesthesia it worsened her dementia.

I didn’t know how much longer I could leave her home alone, but she was one independent woman, determined to make her own way, with no idea the trouble she was in—or the trouble I was facing with her. Her physician recommended assisted living, and I toured the local facilities. I couldn't do it.

I was halfway to Mom’s one day when I received a phone call from my agent to inform me that the trade line I was writing for had been discontinued. I didn't have to bother finishing the series. The book I was so thrilled about was being orphaned, which meant sales would tank.

At the time I could only feel relief. I was gratified to learn that I wouldn't be forced to return the advance I’d received for signing the contract, and that allowed me to care for Mom without the distraction of yet another deadline—often the bane of every writer’s life. The writing stress, along with my income, was all taken away in one short call.

But Mom developed colon cancer. My caretaking days hit like a flash, and we brought Mom home to live with us for the last six months of her life.

Not long after she moved in I was asked to write a series of shorter novels with the same publisher that had discontinued my trade novels. I decided that with a less strenuous deadline I could help Mom and continue my writing career—at least keep my name out there.

It didn't work. Mom stayed up nights, wandering the house with sundowner's syndrome, and I had to follow her. I couldn't function enough to cook dinner, much less write. So I called my editor.

“Joan, my mother is on hospice care. I have no idea when I’ll be able to complete this novel.” I didn't tell her I wasn't sure if I’d ever write again. I felt as if my heart was being ripped to shreds as my mother failed before my eyes.

“You just worry about your mother,” Joan said. “I’m taking your book from its slot, so you don’t have a deadline.”

That was when I began to wonder if it was time to stop writing completely. But how could I stop? I’d been a writer for so many years. And yet, once a writer pauses, the readers begin to forget her. My career might be over. Life was pressing me down to the point I could barely breathe.

I continued to attempt to work on my book from time to time, but it was such a mess I couldn’t make sense of it. My mother’s mind wasn't the only one that had left us. Mind had, too.

My mother passed away in February. In August of that year, as I tried to force my way out of a state of profound grieving, I managed to complete my novel. The poor editor who had to take that mess of a book from an author who had always been known for clean copy, and turn it into something readable? She was an angel.

I get it now when people talk about the struggles of caretakers. I’m amazed by those who spend years caring for their loved ones.

I’m writing regularly again, but my genre has changed slightly. I write more romantic medical drama, less romantic suspense. Life changes, and we metamorphose whether we want to or not. Maybe my career isn't over yet. If it is, that decision is with God. And that’s the best place for it to be.




Hannah is giving away a copy of her brand new book

Dandelion Moon




In Book 2 of the Hallowed Halls series, when Dr. Myra Maxwell finds herself stumbling through the darkness of a cemetery on a cold winter night, she realizes she doesn't recognize a thing, and doesn't recall how she arrived here. As Christmas fireworks begin, they frighten her. She doesn't know who she is, where she is, or why she's here. She diagnoses herself as a patient in a fugue state, most likely from some horrible experience her mind is working to force her to forget. But why?

Weston Cline is frantic about the woman he loves. She left her psychiatry clinic in the middle of the day on Christmas Eve, and he's heard nothing from her since. When he makes a call to her hometown of Juliet, Missouri, he catches a word or two that convinces him she's retreated to the place she feels safest, and he is determined to drive there tonight and protect her. Unfortunately, her friends, Drs. Joy Gilbert and Zachary Travis are determined to keep Weston away from Myra. He's shown his true colors in outrageous ways in the past year, and they don't want to risk her emotional well-being with his presence. Too bad, because he's going anyway, and he will stand firm with her.

Set at Christmas, Dandelion Moon might well give holiday celebrants a 
chance to root for the true meaning of Christmas to show itself at least 
one more time, and to find that miracles really do happen.


Hannah, this sounds fabulous. I can't wait to read it.


One lucky person will win a copy of this book.

For a chance to win leave a comment
And don't forget to include your email address.



LAST WEEK'S WINNER 
IS
Katrina Epperson!


Grace and peace to you from God,

Bonnie

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