Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Steadfast - Guest Blogger Sunni Jeffers


This Wednesday's guest blogger is Sunni Jeffers. Thank you for joining me in my little corner of the blogosphere. You have an incredible story to share.


Sunni Jeffers is the award-winning author of 15 books. Her life has taken many turns, from Navy wife and mother, to business owner and office manager, to rancher—all of this in partnership with her wonderful husband of 48 years. Now she writes as she and her husband travel the country most of the year, living in a motorhome. Visit her at http://www.sunnijeffers.com.


God Does Answer Prayer

I’m a Pollyanna sort of person. Not that life has always been rosy, but I tend to see the bright side of any situation. It’s nearly gotten us in trouble a few times. My husband is a bit of a risk-taker. I’m not. But if he says to me, “Do you think we could…?” my response is always, “Sure.” In truth, I’m not sure at all.


Back in the 1970s, after ten years in the Navy, my husband got out so we could move to Denver, Colorado. We had promised his parents we would come run the family business so they could retire. The business was only six years old. As neither of us had a business background, it was a leap of faith—or a jump into a pit without looking.


Our retail locksmith business sold and installed residential and commercial security. We had an expiring lease on a store in a strip mall, and several step-vans that did residential and commercial calls. When an old, small building and vacant lot came on the market across the street from our store, my husband said, “Do you suppose we could…?” and I said, “Sure!” Our banker was a lot like me and he said, “Sure, and we’ll lend you the money.” Oh boy, we were off and running.


We hired a contractor with a good recommendation (who ran out on us 2/3 way done, and he had not paid the subs, but that’s another story). Our landlord assured us that we could stay there on a month-to-month until our new shop was built. We tore into the old building, ripped it back to studs, and open three sides (leave one side and it’s a remodel). Then we started to build on a two-story addition. We’d just gotten started when the business owner next door came to tell us we had two weeks to get out, because she had leased our space.

We were devastated. Now what? It was the end of November. We had a dozen employees to pay, customers who counted on us, and Christmas was coming. We could not use the new store, as it was a construction zone and a hazard. We faced the impossible. We could keep our trucks operating out of the back of the unfinished building, but a big portion of our business relied on walk-in retail.
We prayed and asked our employees to pray. Some were believers, but others were not—yet. Then we pushed forward. Everyone worked overtime to move our merchandise and equipment into the basement of the old building and set up a makeshift work area against the one intact wall. We parked a step van in front of the new building, right next to a 2 Hour Parking sign. We put a locksmith and a space heater in the van, even while temperatures outside dipped into the teens, and ran a big extension cord from the shop to keep him operational. Another locksmith ran back and forth between the van and the shop to do work or deliver merchandise. Meanwhile, the other store employees worked days and evenings and weekends to get the old side of the building finished.
The local police departments and cities purchased locks and safes from us, and they would walk right by the 2 Hour Parking sign to do business in our van. For an entire month, until we were able to open the main part of the store, our only shop sales were done out of that van.

At the end of the month, I added up the sales totals. And re-added the totals. I couldn’t believe it. We had had one of our best months ever! Shop morale was at an all-time high. We’d survived and thrived during the impossible. And everyone—even our non-believers—gave credit to God. There was no other explanation. God heard our prayers and answered, working in and through us to accomplish the impossible.

This was not my first experience, nor my last of God intervening in my life and answering prayers. Some were painful situations or hard lessons that have shaped my character, deepened my faith, and given me life experiences that fill pages and characters in my books. This one was amazing and affirming.


Have you experienced something in your life that you know was God answering a prayer? I’d love to hear about it.



Sunni is offering a free copy of her new book!




Spiritual forces are at work to destroy mankind…

Dr Ellen Larson has heard myths of fallen angels, but she has no idea they exist—or that they’re after her. She has enough on her mind--her research and her own strange DNA, which she’s kept secret since she discovered a mutation in medical school that’s never been seen before.

Then the impossible happens. Two patients admitted to the University Medical Center—Rafe Zacharias and Homer Wilton--have the same genetic mutation! Without transfusions, the men will die. Ellen can’t withhold what may be their only hope: her blood. She has no choice…

Her secret must come out.

Unseen, a battle rages around them. A battle to bring an ancient curse to life. Ellen, Rafe and Homer are pawns in a war mankind can't afford to lose...

This sounds so good! I can't wait to read it!

If you'd like a chance to win a copy of this book just leave a comment and your email address. I love Sunni's question at the end of her story. Answered prayer anyone?

Last week's winner is Patti Iverson! Congratulations!

Grace and peace to you,

Bonnie

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Steadfast - Guest Blogger Roger Bruner


Happy Wednesday! And welcome Roger Bruner. Thanks for being my guest. I love your story and, readers, so will you.



Roger Bruner worked as a teacher, job counselor, and programmer analyst before retiring to pursue his dream of writing Christian fiction full-time. He sings in the church choir, plays bass guitar on the praise team, and participates in the weekly nursing home ministry. He enjoys reading, writing songs and playing his guitar, web design, mission trips, photography, and spending time with his wonderful wife, Kathleen. 

Roger’s new novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, released this past November. His two Young Adult novels, Found in Translation and Lost in Dreams, came out in 2011. He’s also published a small book of his shorter, older works, Yesterday’s Blossoms. Eight completed novel manuscripts are waiting to be discovered by some discriminating acquisitions editor.


Roger's story - A God thing.

For many years I wanted to write a novel someday, but thought it probably wouldn’t happen until I retired, and that was years in the future. But then my unexpected downsizing from a company I’d worked at for nearly nineteen years left me filling in the time to retirement at the register of a nearby Target store.

But the part-time hours gave me the time I needed for writing, and God provided a novel-worthy story idea. Writing the novel was fun. I was hooked.

I knew that finding a traditional publisher might take years, though. As an award-winning English major, I felt competent to self-publish. I doubt seriously that I consulted with God before proceeding.

That novel may have had very few grammatical errors, typos, and misspelled words, but what a mistake I’d made self-publishing it. I was too interested in writing the next novel to work hard enough at marketing the first one, and it wasn’t until I started consuming writing books by the dozen and attending Christian writing conferences that I realized how horrible the first book was. Novels had changed quite a bit since I graduated from college in 1968.

Not wanting future readers to judge my writing by that book, I withdrew it from availability and pretended it had never existed.

I kept reading writing books, attending conferences, and writing. Although my writing was improving, I wasn’t making much progress using my appointment times at conferences to land an agent or an publisher.

I talked to a Harvest House acquisitions editor who invited me to submit some sample chapters of whatever I was pitching at that conference. But Kimberly Shumate, a different editor who’s no longer at Harvest House, wrote back and told me they didn’t publish that kind of Christian novel.

However, God used her to encourage me over the next few years by graciously reading a sample of this and a sample of that. Even though she couldn’t use those manuscripts, either, she kept telling me how good my writing was and assuring me that my day would come.

At one writing conference, I was pitching a Young Adult novel called Found in the Translation, based very loosely on my daughter’s mission trip to Mexico when she was eighteen. When I asked popular writing instructor James Scott Bell to look at the first page or two, he told me I hadn’t even started with a scene. Bummer!

God urged me to take Jim Bell’s comments seriously, and I ended up cutting the first fifty pages—oh, did that hurt!—and writing a new beginning. But the result was much stronger.

Not long after that, I asked Kimberly if she would look at Found in the Translation.

“Sure, send me fifteen pages.” That was on a Monday. “ On Wednesday she asked for the whole manuscript, and I gladly emailed it to her. On Friday, I received a message that said, “Roger, read this message from the bottom up.”

I did. It consisted of a number of back-and-forth messages between her and several other people and the news that Mr. Terry Burns of Hartline Literary had read Found in the Translation, agreed with Kimberly that it needed to be published, and became my agent without my having to go through the usual submission procedure.

I couldn’t believe it! God had used an editor who couldn’t publish my manuscripts to find an agent for me when I had failed so frequently to find one myself. Definitely a God-thing.

Although it took Terry a year to place Found in Translation with Barbour Publishing—they kept my original title, but dropped the “the”—I never lost sight of the fact that not only was my writing “for God,” but everything about it was in His hands.


What a beautiful example of a teachable spirit. You worked, you listened, and then you worked some more. Way to go!



Roger's Newest Book




B.L.ZeBubb became the laughingstock of Heaven when he failed to win Pastor Gus Gospello's soul years earlier. He's determined to succeed this time.

Gus is obsessed with leaving a legacy—a satire making fun of B.L.ZeBubb's foolish pride. He feigns friendship with the Devil to learn back story for his novel.

When B.L.ZeBubb discovers that he's being used, he starts wrecking Gus's life in every imaginable way and ultimately tricks him into willingly signing a contract for his soul.

Gus has some tricks up his sleeve, though. But the Devil is still the Devil, and Gus has no guarantee of success. Who knows where he'll go when he dies?


For a chance to win a FREE copy of The Devil and Pastor Gus just leave a comment along with your email address.

You can find Roger at these sites on the internet:

o http://RogerBruner.com
o http://OnAgingGracelessly.com
o http://AsIComeSinging.Wordpress.com
o https://www.facebook.com/roger.bruner https://twitter.com/RogerBruner


Grace and peace to you from God,

Bonnie




Friday, January 16, 2015

The Journey - Grandchildren To The Rescue





I'm certain there are those of you who will disagree, but I'm convinced that I have the dearest grandchildren on the planet.

They are sweet and thoughtful (most of the time) and they love their grandma. Today they showed me, once again, how special they are.

My back has been giving me trouble throughout the holidays and today it decided to be extra cantankerous. I was down... really down. Ugh.

To make matters worse, my husband is out of town. Taking care of me all by myself is daunting. What to do? I admit to shedding a few tears. But two of my grandchildren, Ezra and Olivia, came to the rescue. They offered to stay with me.

They've been attentive, full of hugs and encouragement. They helped with dinner and did the dishes and joined me for an evening of movie watching.

They stayed over and made sure to let me know that if I need anything they are here for me. Oh ... they warm my heart.

Love can change everything. I have remembered how blessed I am. I'd forgotten for a few moments. 

The Lord uses those who are willing.

Grace and peace to you from God,

Bonnie



Wednesday, January 14, 2015

WINNERS!



I have two winners to announce today, but before I do I have a little something on my mind. (I know ... surprise, surprise).

Whether we "win" at the game of life or not, we who belong to the Lord are always winners. We are loved and cared for by Almighty God, Creator, Friend, Father. 

Each new day, even those with troubles, I am a winner. My Lord loves me just as I am and He has a place reserved for me in heaven. How blessed I am. 




Now on to the contest winners. 

Thanks to all of you who courageously shared your New Year resolutions. I loved reading your comments.

The winner of a $15.00 Starbucks Gift Certificate is - Deanna Stevens! I'll be contacting you.

And the winner of When Dawn Breaks, a book written by my guest blogger, Jennifer Slattery is ... Lyla who is more than legs.

CONGRATULATIONS!

Grace and peace to you from God,

Bonnie

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Steadfast - Guest Blogger Jennifer Slattery



I'm so excited about my guest, Jennifer Slattery. Welcome. And thank you for teaming up with me today.

I started reading Jennifer's blog and couldn't stop. Do you like transparency? Do you want to be encouraged? Inspired? Then read on. 




Jennifer Slattery writes soul-stirring fiction for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. She also writes for Crosswalk.com, Internet CafĂ© Devotions, and the group blog, Faith-filled Friends. When not writing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her teenage daughter and coffee dates with her handsome railroader husband.

Visit with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.



The Day I Wanted to Quit:

I felt terrible. Like electrical wires had been attached to my nerve endings and every muscle had been pulled through a taffy machine. I was exhausted, only I hadn’t done anything. Except get out of bed, an action I was quickly regretting. Sitting at my desk, staring at my computer screen, I seriously considered going back to bed. Indefinitely.

Closing my eyes, tears welling behind my lids, I turned to God. “I’m tired, Lord. I’m done.”

I’ve often said, my greatest hindrance in this daily battle of chronic illness I fight is the fact that I don’t need to work. I don’t have to get out of bed, if I don’t want to. My husband has a great job, supports me in every way—whether I’m productive or a lump, and our bills get paid. Even if I camp out on the couch.

But sometimes, there’s more at stake than a paycheck and an electric bill. Sometimes there’s more to live for than feeling well. This was what God showed me that day, and in the week that followed.

It started with a verse; a passage, actually:

“I said to myself, ‘I will watch what I do and not sin in what I say. I will hold my tongue when the ungodly are around me.’ But as I stood in silence—not even speaking of good things, the turmoil within me grew worse. The more I thought about it, the hotter I got, igniting a fire of words: ‘Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will by. Remind me that my days are numbered—how fleeting my life is’” (Psalm 39:1-4 NLT).

Remind me how fleeting, how short, my time on earth is.

Life on earth is short, but eternity will last forever. One day, when I stand before my Savior, I want to hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. I saw your pain. I saw your fatigue and discouragement, but more than that, I felt you lean hard on Me as you sought to serve Me with everything you had.”

That Sunday, as if cementing the truths and passion God had infused into my heart that early morning, our pastor’s daughter sang a song. You can listen to here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFFberbflbU  (You really want to listen to this)

The words that penetrated the deepest: “You said life’s not meant to be wasted.”

I had been asking God for permission to waste the life He’d given me. To let me finish my fleeting days on earth in autopilot. But God created me for so much more!

I learned something that day, something I’ve known for some time but never truly grasped until I’d been there. Until I’d been at the end of myself.

My momentary troubles, no matter how hard or long lasting, are nothing compared to the glory of eternity. More than that, my struggles here on earth can actually impact someone else’s eternity, if I’d but surrender my whole self, weaknesses and all, to Christ. Because when I do, He uses every struggle and every tear to bring about His glorious, grace-filled, miraculous purposes.

And it is when I am weakest that Christ’s strength in me is most revealed.

Christ in me, the hope of glory.

What about you? What struggles are you facing? Are you tempted to check out; to end your days on cruise control? Or are you ready to surrender it all—every trial, frustration and set-back—to you sovereign, loving, eternal Savior?


Thank you, Jennifer. Your words have touched my heart. 


Jennifer is giving away a copy of her book, 
When Dawn Breaks.




As the hurricane forces Jacqueline to evacuate, her need for purpose and restitution motivate her to head north to her estranged and embittered daughter and into the arms of a handsome new friend. Dealing with his own issues, Jacqueline isn’t sure if he will be the one she can lean on during the difficult days ahead. And then there are the three orphans to consider, especially Gavin. Must she relinquish her chance at having love again in order to be restored?

Read a free, 36-page excerpt here: http://issuu.com/newhopedigital/docs/slattery_sampler/1

You can buy a copy here:

On Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/When-Dawn-Breaks-A-Novel/dp/1596694238/

On Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/when-dawn-breaks-a-novel-jennifer-slattery/1120694122?ean=9781596694231

On CBD: http://www.christianbook.com/when-dawn-breaks-a-novel/jennifer-slattery/9781596694231/pd/694231


I read the opening of this book.Wow! Jennifer can write! I'm definitely going to get a copy.

Would you like to know how you can win a copy of When Dawn Breaks? All you have to do is leave a comment along with your email address and you will be included in a drawing. I'll announce the winner next Wednesday - January 14th.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Bonnie




Thursday, January 01, 2015

IT'S A NEW YEAR!





Happy New Year!

The year 2015 is going to be amazing. It belongs to the Lord and He never does anything in half measures.


I entered this world way back when the calendar read 1952. That's a lot of years ago. Wow! Cherish the years.

I love New Year's Eve. It's always special, even if I don't do anything extra special. Big plans today. Hah! I took a nap, watched a great movie, and when the "ball dropped" shared some sparkling cider with my hubby and a New Year's kiss. Then we went out on our deck in the chilly, misty air and cheered with our neighbors and reveled at all the guns and fireworks going off in our little town. There was a lot of celebrating going on. And why not - we have a new year ahead of us with all sorts of possibilities.

Today I went into town to see my Mom and we had a good visit, shared hugs and kisses. Two of my grandchildren, Ezra and Olivia, went with me. Mom always loves to see them.


Me and the kids had a great time together. We didn't do anything special, just talked ... about things like arm pit hair (crazy kids) and the fact that I talk a lot, and I use big words they need me to interpret. Silly me. We bought junk food to eat while we watch the Ducks game tomorrow. And we cranked up the music in the car and did a little hip hop while we drove along. A guy on the sidewalk laughed at us and that made us laugh even more. My granddaughter announced that she liked my new hair cut about a half dozen times, and that she'd already gotten used to it. Hah! That made my day - her opinion counts.


Kids are so great. I'm thankful for the ones the Lord blessed me with many years ago and for their children, my beautiful grandchildren. If I were going to make a New Year's resolution it is  this - I will spend lots of quality time with my grandchildren and children, and with the rest of the folks I love. Work matters and will always be here, but it can't be my 1st priority - People are. Loving the precious ones in my life is something I'm going to do a lot more of this year.


God has been good to me. I don't want to waste the days He gives.


Do you have a resolution for the New Year? What is it? I want to know.


If you leave a comment. I have a Starbucks gift card to give away to one lucky person.

HAPPY NEW YEAR! 


Grace and peace to you from God,


Bonnie

Friday, December 26, 2014

CHRISTMAS CONTEST WINNER!




I loved all of your Christmas traditions and Christmas stories. Thank you so much for sharing. I now have some new ideas to share with my own family.

I wish you all could win, but there can only be one winner. And that winner is ....


Kathy T!


I'll be contacting you soon with your prize of an audio copy of The Journey of Eleven Moons.


Grace and peace to you,


Bonnie

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