Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Steadfast - Guest Blogger Janice Thompson


November seems to be flying by. And lucky for us, it's Wednesday. This week I have a special guest, Janice Thompson. Though we've never met in person, I feel as if we're good friends. She's a doll. You're going to love her.
   



Award-winning author Janice Thompson has over a million books in print. She has published over 100 books for the Christian market,
crossing genre lines to write cozy mysteries, historicals, romances, nonfiction books, devotionals, children’s books and more.

Janice is the incoming president of the Woodlands, Texas ACFW chapter and was named the 2008 Mentor of the year for ACFW. She loves teaching at writing conferences, both local and national.

Janice’s tagline, “Love, Laughter, and Happily Ever Afters!” sums up her take on life.

She lives in Spring, Texas, where she leads a rich life with her family, a host of writing friends, and two mischievous dachshunds.

You can find out more about Janice at www.janiceathompson.com.


Don't skip down to the contest details. You really want to read this. Janice knows what it means to remain steadfast. 

The Worst. . .and Best Year of my Life

When I think of a particular season of my life where I had to remain steadfast, I can’t help but be reminded of the worst—and possibly best—year of my life. In the middle of 2006, my twenty-six year marriage came to an end. I didn’t wish for it. I didn’t plan for it. It just happened. Abruptly. I’d been through one heartbreak after another in the relationship but that didn’t make the severing any easier. A few weeks before the divorce was final, I received a call from my dad, letting me know he had cancer: Multiple Myeloma. He was admitted to M.D. Anderson Hospital, one of the leading cancer centers in the world, where he had a bone marrow transplant. Unfortunately, he continued to get worse. After two agonizing, painful months, my father passed away. I was devastated. I was also a woman of faith, who had been quick to tell people, “Just trust God.” Now I found myself in a position where I had to trust Him fully and completely. I had no husband to lean on and my older daughters were already married and gone. So, I did my best to (as I told others) trust God.

The need to trust Him grew and grew over the following months. My first grandchild was born early under emergency circumstances. She was a teensy-tiny little thing, but did fine. I focused on her to ease the pain. Then another unthinkable thing happened. One of my best friends had a heart attack and passed away very unexpectedly. About three weeks after that, (just three days before my daughter Megan’s wedding) my forty-five-year-old sister passed away in her sleep. . .completely out of the blue. I remember that week so clearly. My daughter’s wedding was on Friday night; the funeral was on Saturday. I carried around a purple folder with wedding plans in one pocket and funeral plans in the other. Horrible. I was in a literal fog.

One month after Megan married (leaving me with an empty nest) I went to the theater where I direct plays. We were setting up for a meeting on the stage and needed a couple more chairs. I went bounding down the stairs to the auditorium to fetch them. I can’t tell you exactly how it happened, but somehow I missed a step. Such a simple thing, missing a step. I knew when I landed that I’d done serious damage. My right foot was in the oddest position I’d ever seen and I’d never known such pain. Thank goodness the pain didn’t last. I went completely numb from my knee down and could feel nothing. I would later learn that the injury was a catastrophic break: tibia, fibula and three bones in the foot. I’d also injured my left foot and my right wrist, so I only had one available limb.

The rest was a blur. Paramedics were called. I was put into an ambulance, given morphine, and whisked away to the E.R. The next week and a half involved four ambulances, three hospitals, surgery to pin and plate the ankle and then several days in a rehab. They were (truly) the hardest days of my life. I had a couple of sweet friends who helped out but with my husband gone, my father gone, my daughters married and living their own lives, I’d never felt more alone.

The next couple months were spent in a wheelchair. I had a conundrum because my house was a two-story with bedrooms upstairs and living room/kitchen down. At night I would scoot up the stairs on my backside and then use an office chair to roll my way to my bedroom. Talk about tough! And to make matters worse, my only book contract was pulled. I was out of work and out of luck with very little money in the bank and no way to make more until I recovered and could find a job.

You can imagine that these months provided a lot of opportunity for depression. This hit especially hard on the anniversary of my dad’s death. I’d never been so low. Fortunately, several good friends took notice. They set camp around me and prayed me through. They offered encouragement, prayer, and even a bit of fussing, when the situation warranted it. In short, they were the hands and feet of Christ.

The fog slowly lifted. I was able to get my feet back under me again (literally and figuratively). New book contracts came. New possibilities arose. Grandbabies started coming in droves. In short, my life took off. God took a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year and began to use it for His glory. I not only survived; I thrived. It didn’t happen all at once, but in time I could truly see that God had walked with me every step of the way. Even when I felt completely alone, He was right there.

I’ve had several years to watch God’s hand at work. He took this frightened, lonely woman and gave her new projects, new grandbabies, sweet friends and much, much more. In fact, my plate is so full now that I can barely keep up. He redeemed my life and gave back what the enemy had stolen. No, I could never replace the people I’d lost, but with the birth of each grandchild, I saw how life continued, how hope was restored. I really did learn to trust God, just as I’d always encouraged others to do.

I don’t know what you’re going through today, but I can say this: Hang in there, friend. Remain steady, steadfast. God can (and will) take even the toughest experience and use it for good. This, I know.

Connect with Janice:
Website: www.janiceathompson.com
Twitter: booksbyjanice
Facebook: Janice Hanna Thompson


Janice, what an amazing story. Thank you for sharing it. I am encouraged.




Janice is offering a free book to one of  you.







A BOUQUET OF LOVE

She didn't expect to fall in love--but roses aren't the only thing blooming on Galveston Island

Cassia Pappas has found herself in a nearly impossible situation. She wants to spend her time immersed in her new job at a Galveston Island floral shop, arranging blooms and brightening occasions with her lovely creations. But her boisterous Greek family--especially her father--has other ideas. They've all relocated to Galveston to open up a new family restaurant located on the Strand--directly across the street from iconic pizza place Parma John's--and they want Cassia's full participation. 

To make matters worse, as Cassia is trying to develop a strong professional relationship with Galveston's premier wedding coordinator, Bella Neeley, her own father is intent on stealing all of the Rossi family's faithful customers. Not exactly the best way to get into this former Rossi's good graces!

Still, at least Alex, that hot delivery guy from the nursery, is always hanging around the flower shop . . .


This sounds like a fun read. I'm definitely getting a copy.

For a chance to win a free copy leave a comment along with your email address and you'll be eligible. I'll be drawing a winner one week from today.

Our winner from last week is oldthingsnew.com. Congratulations! JoAnn Durgin will contact you. 

Grace and peace to you, from God,

Bonnie

21 comments:

  1. Thank you for hosting me! :)

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  2. It was only a few short years later, in early 2009, when my marriage also abruptly ended. Janice became an online encourager to me and I'm so thankful for her joyful heart. We may live through the dark night, but JOY comes in the morning!

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  3. Janice and Christina, you two are such night owls. Sisters!

    So glad you are here, Janice!

    Christina, I remember that time, the retreat and the heartache you were enduring at the time.

    So thankful for God's mercy and for JOY!

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  4. Wow, Janice, what a lot of things to go through one after another, without even any time to draw a breath. So sweet to know that during times like that, Jesus IS our very breath! Thanks for sharing your experiences and the faithfulness of the Lord.

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  5. Wow Janice, You have been such an encouragement to me and here you are again, dishing out hope. Thank you for sharing your dark cloud year and putting a ray of Son-shine into mine.
    Delores L

    P.S. of course I'd love to win a Janice Thompson book - always a good read and a spiritual lesson from the characters lives.

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  6. Delores, I'd love for you to win, but I need you to include your email address so if you do win Janice contact you.

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  7. Janice, your life story inspires hope. Beautiful!

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  8. Janice, you are an amazing person fashioned and molded by the Lord. Every time I've brushed against your presence on the loop, in your teaching, in your books, I have been blessed. You are a showpiece for God's faithfulness. He never leaves or forsakes.

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  9. You are all too sweet. I'm blessed to have you as friends and cohorts in (writing) crime!

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  10. Bonnie, thank you for the wonderful interview with Janice. Janice thank you for shining brightly in a dark world!

    psalm103and138[at]gmail[dot]com

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  11. Oh Janice what a year. I almost cried just reading it. I said a prayer after reading it. Thank you for sharing. Bonnie thank for letting Janice share.
    eppersonkatrina@yahoo.com

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  12. Lis K9:52 AM

    Thank you for sharing this, it was just what I needed to hear today.
    garfsgirl AT hotmail DOT com

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  13. This is a beautiful testimony Janice!! Thank you for sharing!!!

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  14. I always know not to miss your blog or interviews, Bonnie. I also love reading about other's lives and how God saw them through--because she let Him! He is faithful, and she's right--or you are---her year was a lesson in steadfastness. Good for us all, for sure! Hope she never has to have a year like that again, though! pattiiverson@gmail.com

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  15. Merri Chapman3:19 PM

    Janice, I've known you most of my life. I first met you when I was about seven years old. You've always been an inspiration and someone I looked up to. You was my rock in my teenage years. You are a strong,wonderful,caring and loving woman. You have always been and will always be someone I look up to. Thank you for being who you are. Love you! merri@harnettcomputers.com

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  16. You are precious. And Merri, thank you for such kind words. :)

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  17. It's always so great to hear when we think we don't have it in us to go any further, the Lord steps in and comforts us in a way only that only He can do.

    Thank you so much for sharing.
    Lourdes11743[at]gmail[dot]com

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  18. Anonymous9:52 PM

    It was very inspiring to read Janice's story, and be reminded to trust God in everything. Would love to win her book to read this fall! Thank you both!
    Jill
    sunnyday12j@gmail.com

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  19. Janice: I knew some of these things had occurred, but not ALL of them! And in such a short time. Goodness. So many might give up. But you had faith in the Faithful One and of course, He rescued your life and gave you a new one. Even richer than before.

    An unspeakably painful year, yet one where God had incredible opportunity to show His love to you and to those who watched. (The Great Author SHOWING, not telling, eh?) Thanks so much for sharing your story.

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  20. Janice is my hero. She always has been! No matter what happens, she smiles, and that says volumes about her faith. She's an encourager of the best sort!!

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