Friday, January 27, 2012

Quiet Moments With God -- A New Creation

My heart is full. I spent several hours continuing my interviews with Bonnie Preschern, a native woman who grew up in Alaska. I am working on her memoir, an amazing story of survival and redemption. She lived a life few have ever known. She has every reason to be bitter . . . but she's not. She is a light that casts a glow of forgiveness and wonder on the greatness of God.

I don't want to give away her story because I want you to read the book so I won't say more about that, except that Bonnie is a walking miracle and is now a living, breathing example of what it means to be a disciple of Christ.

When she speaks I listen. I see the love of God in her eyes and hear it in her voice and see it in her actions. When she speaks of Him and of how blessed she is her eyes flood with tears and so do mine.

When we place our faith in Christ we are a new creation. I've witnessed it in others who are close to me and in me the day I received the love and forgiveness offered by my Lord. And once more God is reminding me of His grace and love and His power through a wounded woman who loves Him with her whole heart.

We have so much to be thankful for. Are we a light to the world? Do we demonstrate the transformation of the new creation--us?

God has given much. Don't forget to thank Him. And to tell others of His goodness.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Topic of the Day -- Reason to Rejoice!

The first week of October, my eighty-seven-year-old mother underwent open heart surgery to replace a bad valve, correct an irregular heart rhythm and to perform a single bi-pass. She experienced horrific pain and a grueling recovery. Even so, in the days following the surgery all signs were good . . . and then her pain increased and she started going downhill in every way. Staph had invaded the incision in her chest. This powerful infection sent my mother and our family on a journey we hadn't expected.

More than once we thought we'd lose her. In fact, one night in the ER my mother and I said our farewells. I had some serious and heart wrenching discussions with God. I didn't understand why he would allow an eighty-seven-year-old woman to suffer so terribly. In my mind He should either heal her or welcome her home to heaven. But then, I'm not God.

Yesterday, in the worst snow storm since the 1980's, Mom went home . . . to her comfy chair in front of her fireplace and the loving care of her husband. She's happy and counting on more time to enjoy this precious life. She's stronger. She's happy. And she's thankful.

Through the difficult and arduous weeks we've all grown and we've changed--for the better. Mom has always been a thankful person, but is even more so now. And I believe she appreciates every day in a way she never did before. I think I can speak for her children and her grandchildren when I say, we see our relationship with her as even more precious than we did before. On a personal level I'm so proud of and thankful for my stepfather. He was steadfast, always beside Mom and continues to do so today. All the days and weeks and months while Mom fought to live, he made sure to see her every day and did all in his power to make her life more comfortable. And he became a better man. He has my admiration and my support. The bond between us is stronger because of the ordeal we've shared.

I don't have an answer as to why God allowed this to happen to my sweet mother, but I have seen His work in the midst of it. And I thank Him for that and for keeping His hand upon my her and for giving us more time together. God is good . . . no matter what the circumstances. Praising Him!

Grace and peace to you from God.


Another Winner!

Anna has informed me that she already has a copy of Judy's book and has asked me to draw a new winner. And . . . the winner is . . . JoAnn Brown!

JoAnn, can you contact me through the website by hitting the contact button? Make sure to include your mailing address so I can get it to Judy.

Congratulations and bless you.


Monday, January 16, 2012


Anna Popescu, you have won a copy of Judy Gann's book, The God of all Comfort! Congratulations!

Please hit the contact button on my website and leave your mailing address. I'll make sure to get it to Judy.

And thank you, Judy for being my guest this month and sharing your words of wisdom with us.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Monday, January 09, 2012


Judy, I’ve known you for a good number of years. And I’ve watched as your sweet spirit reaches out to those around you. You are definitely a person making a difference. I’m privileged to call you my friend. I’d love it if my readers could become better acquainted with you. Can you share a little about your background, and can you tell us who Judy Gann is?

Thank you for the warm welcome, Bonnie. I’m humbled and honored to be a participant in your “Make a Difference” series. I hope my story will illustrate that God can use us to make a difference in our sphere of
influence—regardless of our personal limitations and obstacles.

I grew up in a loving, close family near the beach in San Diego. I became a Christian through the ministry of The Navigators while in college. After college I taught elementary school and later became a children’s librarian.

I’ve lived with chronic illness most of my life—immune system problems. Although at times I want to shout, “There’s more to me than my illness!” I know my health issues have been used by God to mold me into the person I am today. Stubborn and independent by nature, I know, if not for my illnesses, I would rely on my own strength, not the Lord’s. Because of my own health issues, I have a great understanding and compassion for people with physical and emotional limitations.

I’ve been told that my spiritual gift is encouragement. My greatest joy is found in offering hope and encouragement to others—whether through friendship, mentoring younger women at church, writing, or speaking.

And an encourager is exactly what you are. I’ve been the recipient many times. Thank you.

You were involved in a ministry called Rest Ministries. Can you tell us about this ministry and what your role has been in this valuable organization?

Rest Ministries ( )is an international Christian support ministry for people with chronic illness and chronic pain. Lisa Copen, the Director of Rest Ministries, runs the ministry from her home—in spite of her own chronic illnesses. Rest Ministries provides Christian hope, comfort, and encouragement through a variety of resources: daily devotional, support groups, articles, e-mail loops, prayer groups, etc. It is the first resource I give to friends and acquaintances who are diagnosed with chronic illness.

For several years I had the privilege of serving as Writers’ Coordinator for Rest Ministries. I monitored an online group of people interested in helping others by sharing their experiences with illness through the written word. In addition, I represented Rest Ministries’ HopeKeepers Magazine at writers conferences. I loved meeting with aspiring writers. God’s lead me in new directions now, but I’ll always treasure the time I spent with Rest Ministries.

Rest Ministries has been a great help to me. I receive their daily devotionals and often pass them on to twitter or to friends who can use a word of encouragement. It’s very helpful.

Your book, God of All Comfort is still in print many years after its original release. What motivated you to write this enriching devotional? How did you come to write it and why do you think it is still in demand?

Books and words were always a part of my life and I always dreamed of writing books like the ones I read so voraciously. But busy with the priorities of daily life, I stowed my dream of writing until I had more time.

Then several years ago a brutal allergic reaction to medication severely impaired my cognitive abilities. After spending nearly a year bedridden, I returned to work, only to find I’d lost the ability to write even a simple memo. My dream of writing crumbled.

Over the next seven years my cognitive abilities—including writing—gradually improved. I came to view my ability to write as a gift from God. God is the God of second chances. He gave my writing ability back to me, and I now have a responsibility to use it for Him.

These thoughts were in the back of my mind when one day a few years later, a friend asked me, “Judy, which Scripture passages comfort and encourage you when you’re battling poor health?” My friend’s question stayed in my mind long after I’d given a list of verses to her. Later, they became the basis for The God of All Comfort: Devotions of Hope for Those Who Chronically Suffer(AMG Publishers).

My purpose in writing a devotional book for people with illness was to draw them into God’s word to find the comfort, strength and hope for living with chronic illnesses. It’s my way of comforting others with the comfort God’s given me. (2 Cor. 1:3-4) I interviewed seventeen other people with illness so the application is broader than my own experience with illness.

I think the reason this book is still in demand is that illness is, unfortunately, one of those “evergreen” topics. Chronic illness doesn’t go away. We’re living longer and the large population of baby boomers is dealing with the effects of aging.

Judy has graciously consented to give away a copy of her book, The God of All Comfort. Leave a comment and I’ll make sure to include you in a drawing for this wonderful devotional.

• You are a busy woman, involved with your family and numerous other ventures. It seems you’re always jetting off somewhere. Can you tell us about some of your activities, including the fabulous novel you’re presently working on? Taking into account all of you’re enterprises is there one that is closest to your heart? And what do you see yourself doing in the future?

I’m hoping this year involves a bit less “jetting off” as you put it. LOL
It’s a bit of a toss-up, but I think writing my novel is closest to my heart for 2012. I’ve always loved to read fiction and been a firm believer in the power of stories to convey biblical truth and hope. While attending an American Christian Fiction Writers Conference to teach a workshop on marketing to libraries, I took a beginning fiction class and was hooked on writing fiction. But, it wasn’t until a comment from a member of my writing prayer team collided with a news item that I knew I had my story. It’s very much a WIP, but I’d like to finish my manuscript by next July.
Another project dear to my heart is Library Insider ®, an innovative tool to assist authors and publishers in marketing to public libraries, in partnership with Books & Such Literary Agency. Library Insider consists of a regularly updated database of major libraries in the United States along with the contact information for the book purchasing decision makers, usually the acquisitions librarians. Training and additional marketing resources are also available. For more information see

For the future, I’d like to continue writing fiction and assisting authors and publishers in marketing to public libraries. I’d like this year to be a year of reconnecting with my church, family and friends. I tend to be too focused on tasks and sometimes let relationships slide.

Is there anything you’d like to add to this discussion? And how can we best pray for you?

I’m continually in awe of God’s provision of strength in the midst of my physical weakness; the ability He gives me to do all He calls me to do. I pray that your readers will be encouraged to examine their own spheres of influence and see where the Lord is calling them to make a difference. You may feel limited. But, God’s strength shows up best in our areas of weakness.

Each year, with much prayer, I choose a word for the year. This year’s word is “savor.” Please pray that I will savor what the Lord has for me in each moment and experience as it’s happening, rather than getting caught up in busyness and thinking about the next thing on the agenda.

Thanks so much for the privilege of sharing with you!

Thank you, Judy, for sharing your life, wisdom and vision. You are an inspiration to others.