Introducing Jodie Wolfe – The Hope of Christmas

Jodie Wolfe is more than a favorite author. She is a prayer warrior, and a sister-friend.  I hope you enjoy getting to know Jodie and leave a comment for a chance to win an Ebook of  her latest —the Hope of Christmas.

Hi Jodie – Let’s start at the beginning…How did you get started in writing?

I wrote my first poem in second grade for a school project. Soon after that I started writing little stories and illustrating them. By the time I was thirteen I was writing my first novel.

 

Tell us about your new novel.

The Hope of Christmas is a collection by three authors. My story is called Picking a Bride for Paul. Here’s the blurb for it:

When Teddy Love’s neighbor and best friend breaks his leg, she pitches in to do whatever she can to help him on his farm. But when he enlists her aid in finding a wife, she comes to realize she has feelings for him.

Paul Baker follows his mother’s wishes by looking for a bride from the East who is refined and genteel, two qualities Teddy isn’t. When his potential bride arrives, he finds himself comparing her to Teddy. How can he go back and change things before he makes the biggest mistake of his life?

Is your story part of a series?

Sort of. My first story was in the Let Love Spring collection. My story, An Angel for the Cowboy was about Teddy’s sister, Essie. Here’s the blurb for it.

When the bank threatens foreclosure on Essie Love’s home, it’s up to her to provide for her sisters. She’ll do whatever it takes to save them, even if it means marrying a stranger.

Jud Steele is wanted for a crime he didn’t commit. Wounded and left for dead, he lands on Essie’s doorstep. While she nurses him back to health, he finds himself longing for a home and family.

Can two desperate people find a path that leads to what they both need?

Did you always want to be a writer?

I’ve had an interest in becoming a writer ever since I was a little girl.

What advice can you give to writers trying to break into the publishing world?

Take time to learn the craft. If you can, find a mentor. Be patient and wait for God’s timing.

What spiritual truths do you desire to convey to your readers?

With each of my stories, I desire to convey that true hope can be found in Christ.

What are you working on now?

I have a full length book coming out in May 2018 called To Claim Her Heart. It’s set in the backdrop of the Cherokee Strip Land Run in 1893 in Oklahoma Territory.

I love that you make yourself accessible. Where can readers connect with you?

Look for Jodie on her website, Stitches Thru Time blog, and Putting on the New blog as well as Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, and Twitter.

*** Don’t forget to leave a comment, and an email where we can contact the winner of  the Ebook version of Jodie’s book!

 

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Letters to a Daughter in Heaven

After Losing a Child – remembering…

Dear Laurie, (C.G. A.L.M.O.T.T.)

 

I did it again. I was going through some old emails tonight on the computer today, and copying sections for an article I am writing about caretaking Mom, when I came on half a dozen of yours. They were a sequence about a bike trip we were going to take and some chat about caretaking my mom . I got so caught up like we were chatting and went to hit reply and respond to something you said…

 

When I remembered….again.

 

Your emails give me a thousand ways to thank God for you – for our relationship, the studies we did together, the proofreading we did for each other, the Native American festivals, food, recipes, teas, remedies, so many things we shared,…for all the time we had.

 

How is it there is never enough?

 

One of the memories that sustains me the most is our time in Chicago, praying together, and shopping at Crate and Barrel…walking to MORE cupcakes and sharing a Valhrona filled and 24k gold decorated chocolate cupcake…finding healthy but gourmet samplers at some famous sports guy restaurant – Michael jordan’s I think, taking the night cruise of Chicago….but most of all you telling me, “Don’t worry about me, Mumsy, it is well with my soul.”

 

It’s comforting to know I will see you again. There will be a time to chat again – though of course you know I’ll never stop talking to you between now and then. You are just – and still – and always will be – a part of me.

 

I have one of your emails on the file in my office where you said, “I’ve been driving our new (but very old) VW truck to work – no radio – no way to plug in my Mp3 player – so I have had time each day to pray for you! God answers prayer! (it never gets old).

 

I’m grateful too for the list of praise verses you left in your Bible. I need those right now, and am going through them with you in mind…

 

finding things to praise.

Like the herbs you planted in my garden

and the swirls around a fancy dessert, and

 

Realizing that all we had never could be enough because we were made for eternity.

 

And you, my dear, have made heaven all the dearer.

 

Can hardly wait for the grand reunion.

 

Love,

Mumsy

 

**Note to readers. When I told Laurie her name Laurel meant crowning glory, she penned the string of letters for her special notes to mom (C.G. –Crowning Glory- ALMOTT – at least most of the time).

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Jesus’ Instructions — Keep it Simple

Mark 6:8 He sent them off with these instructions: “Don’t think you need a lot of extra equipment for this. You are the equipment. No special appeals for funds. Keep it simple. (the Message)

 

Jesus was commissioning his followers when he said keep it simple. His message to us is the same.

 

You are the equipment.

 

He will equip and activate the equipment (YOU)

So

Keep it simple.

 

All too often, I do just the opposite and complicate things – or stall things with complicated thinking. What if…But….

 

The only but that counts is But, God.

But I am not alone. You are not alone.

 

Patriarchs of the faith didn’t get this either –

 

Moses said -please send someone else

David lived out a lack of faith – act first and ask forgiveness later

Gideon said – I am poor, I am insignificant and I am too young

Jeremiah’s excuse – I do not know how to speak

 

God’s answer to them – as well as to you – and me – is the same

 

Jeremiah 1:7–10 But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’ Because everywhere I send you, you shall go, And all that I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, For I am with you to deliver you,” declares the Lord. Then the Lord stretched out His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me, “Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. “See, I have appointed you this day over the nations and over the kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.”

 

  • Do not make excuses and do not be afraid –
  • remember you are not alone—I AM with you to deliver you
  • I have appointed you (and will equip you)
  • MY WORDS in your mouth make the difference – not your words
  • Everywhere I send you, you shall go (confidently) and all that I command you, you shall speak (without fear)

 

 

Read it again

 

Don’t think you need a lot of extra equipment for this. You are the equipment. No special appeals for funds. Keep it simple.

 

 

Quit looking at yourself – look at your provider.

Then …Activate your faith in Him

Go.

Keep it Simple.

 

 

 

 

 

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Got any WOEs for me? (Way of Escape)

Temptations and WOE – Way of Escape

First published in 1896, In His Steps by Charles Sheldon first coined the phrase What Would Jesus Do? Members of a little depression-era church were challenged by a man they’d been avoiding all week. The ragged and disheveled man presented himself before the congregation and listed the needs that were ignored by the Jesus followers in this church. He asked them if their responses to him and his needs were what Jesus would have done. The pastor challenged members to a year of prefacing any big decisions with the WWJD question, and as you can imagine, there were remarkable life changes that resulted.  That pattern affected many readers’ lives as well as mine.

It is still a good idea to ask that question, and then to base our decision on scripture, and to recognize the model Jesus set in varied situations. In life today as in the story it is vital that the question What would Jesus do had to be asked before the final decision was made.

With that in mind, I was thinking of the little things that trip me up – chocolate, salty snacks and being overtired.

I Corinthians 10:13 says every temptation we face is common and more prevalent than we think. It also says that with the temptations God will be sure that we have a WOE – a Way Of Escape.

 

I’ve been challenged to journal my 3 meals a day + 2 fruits –and my temptations and WOEs for the next 6 weeks. Hopefully, when I have a temptation and add it to my daily list, I can add a healthy WOE that will curb the salty or sweet craving.

 

Have you ever done that? What were your WOEs? Some suggestions I’ve gotten so far are celery or apple as they crunch, drink a cup of tea or flavored water, take a walk. Those are all healthy WOEs and I’m hoping that journaling and practicing recognizing the temptation and seeking out a WOE and applying it will create a new habit that will remind me I do not have to succumb to the temptations.

 

Just thought I’d give you a warning if you hear me moan or whine something that sounds like…

Whoa!   That IS what I want to do – to stop and look for a way of escape.

 

Got any suggestions? I’m all ears…

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Got Five Minutes? By WordGirl Letitia Suk

A “timely” thought from Word Girl Letitia Suk:

“Take five minutes to pray for your work each day and see what happens,” was the challenge proposed by our pastor to the congregation years ago. I remember thinking something like, “Duh!” Of course, I already pray at least five minutes a day for my work…don’t I? Surely all the praying-on-the-run I did each day for all the flying curveballs added up to more than five minutes.

 

The nudging continued so the next morning I grabbed a timer on the way to my prayer chair, set it for five minutes and began to pray specifically for my work. Wow, that timer took a long time to ding! Challenge accepted—I was ready to see what would happen.

 

Like many of us, my work is multi-faceted. So I decided to give a minute to each of the five areas for my day-to-day projects. It seemed like one minute would be easier that five. I know, wimpy, right?

 

The first minute I gave to my coaching clients. They invested time with me to bring focus and intentionality to their lives and I wanted to give them my best work. My writing got the next minute. The current projects, the longed-for projects, my skill and wisdom in putting words on a page. Good thing the timer rang because it was easy to zone off into work mode instead of praying.

 

Speaking ministry was next. Events already scheduled and those I wanted to schedule. For my communication skills to grow and for lives to be changed. A lot for one minute.

 

My part-time chaplain work got minute #4. Patients, sensitivity, staff and overall blessing for the hospitals.

 

The last minute I saved for specific work stuff on that day’s agenda: marketing, blogging, networking. This time the five minutes flew by.

 

He was right—things happened! I felt more partnered with God in all aspects of my work. Not just that I was working for Him but with Him as I laid the concerns out each day. I saw clearer productivity and greater results.

 

All these years later, I still set my timer most days. My work depends on it.

 

Each day holds 1440 minutes…hard to claim a legitimate excuse for not finding five of them to invest in prayer over your work. You might be amazed at the return.

 

P.S.—The same five-minute principle works for other areas of your life too!

 

ABOUT

Letitia (Tish) Suk, http://www.letitiasuk.com, invites women to create an intentional life centered in Jesus. She blogs at hopeforthebest.org and authored Getaway with God: The Everywoman’s Guide to Personal Retreat) and Rhythms of Renewal. She is a speaker, personal retreat guide, and life coach in the Chicago area. Find Tish: https://www.facebook.com/Letitia.Suk.Author/

 

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Three Principles to help you hear from God

Do you hear what others do not hear?  Do you see what others do not see?

Or do you long to hear from God?

In 2 Kings 6:17  Elisha prayed, ‘O Lord, open his eyes so he may see.’ Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”

 

In Genesis, Noah heard God tell him to build an ark. “Gen. 6:14 “Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood; you shall make the ark with rooms, and shall 1cover it inside and out with pitch.” The directions were very detailed and his neighbors mocked him. But 6:22 says “Thus Noah did; according to all that God had commanded him, so he did.”

 

Both of these examples required prayer and obedience.

Daily I hear of God’s speaking and leading in the lives of His children. Frequently God has spoken to others to share something with me, or do something for me, and I know their outreach has also required prayer and obedience, for I, too, was not always ready to hear, or ready to see what God had for me. Many times God has spoken to me as well, and honestly, sometimes I worry too much about what it might cost me if I follow what I hear through His prompting. I’ve been amazed, encouraged, comforted and more the times I’ve followed the Spirit’s leading and the times I did not obey, I regretted it, wondering what I’d missed.

A young lady approached me recently saying she wanted to hear from God too and hoped I could teach her. While no one can duplicate experiences God means for you alone, there are three principles I can share.

 

  1. 1. Open your heart to God’s will.
  2. 2. Pray for illumination in all senses, for yourself and for others as you read God’s Words. Ask is there anything I need to obey (do or stop doing) or any new truth/armor I need to ponder, believe or activate –(apply -put into practice.
  3. 3. Obey. Follow the Holy Spirit’s leading (always conforms to, never conflicts with, God’s Word)

Ken’s favorite song Open My Eyes, That I May See is a great prayer with those three essential principles that God never fails to answer:

 

Open my eyes, that I may see
Glimpses of truth Thou hast for me;
Place in my hands the wonderful key
That shall unclasp and set me free.

Open my ears, that I may hear
Voices of truth Thou sendest clear;
And while the wave notes fall on my ear,
Everything false will disappear.

Open my mind, that I may read
More of Thy love in word and deed;
What shall I fear while yet Thou dost lead?
Only for light from Thee I plead.

The refrain is in our attitude or response to God’s Word:

  • Refrain
    Silently now I wait for Thee,
    Ready my God, Thy will to see,
    Open my eyes, illumine me,
    Spirit divine!

Os Hillman says, “Once we are obedient, God will allow us to see what others cannot see. It is the rite of passage for those who are willing to risk all for God’s purposes. God increases the spiritual senses to levels we never knew before. Those around us will observe this.

Do you want to see what others cannot see? If so, it will require a level of obedience that will go beyond human reason. It may require risk and ridicule from others. But you will see what others cannot see.”

That is my prayer for you today.

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Caregiver Guilt: Confessions of a Walking Glue Stick – By Dr. Linda Cobourn

I’ve often heard this emotion is the one “gift” that keeps on giving.

I was caregiver for my mom and know this will resonate with many of you (1 out of 5 women over 45 is caregiver for a parent or family member)

Introducing Word Girl Dr. Linda Coburn:

 

I’m rubber, you’re glue, whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you.”

 

My father-in-law blamed me. It was unreasonable, hurled out of frustration while we stood in the trauma unit, waiting to see if my husband would survive. I was thirty miles away in a graduate class when the driver of the pick-up truck broadsided Ron’s Taurus, but the reproach stayed with me for seventeen years.

 

I’m a walking glue stick.

 

Guilt is a common emotion for those who find themselves in the position of caregiver. The 2015 State of Caregiving Report noted that 81% of spousal caregivers feel guilty, making guilt the #1 emotional trap. We think we should do it all without complaint and we become frustrated with ourselves because we can’t. We self-punish for simply being human. I beat myself up for an accident I did not cause, questioning every decision I made concerning my husband’s care. Yes, I agreed to the emergency surgery and it damaged his heart. My fault. Yes, I let him be put into the rehab unit where his slippers were misplaced and he caught pneumonia. My fault. I even had occasional thoughts that it might have been better if Ron had not survived the accident.

 

That thought stuck on with Gorilla Glue.

 

But God is a solvent to even the strongest of adhesives. I began to search the Scriptures for a way to dislodge my self-reproach. One day, I was led to this verse in Joshua 5:9:

This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.

 

The Israelites had been so beaten down by 430 years of slavery they no longer believed God could love them. Before they entered the Promised Land, God told them that the shame they carried was rolled off them. They were not stuck with the reproach of Egypt. They could stop being walking glue sticks.

 

So could I. It took time, prayer, and counsel from friends to realize that the guilt I bore was irrational. I held myself responsible for things that were not my responsibility. God had forgiven my shortcomings; I needed to forgive myself. Time to learn to be more like rubber, repelling thoughtless remarks.

 

Just the other day, someone ventured to criticize a decision I’d made for my husband’s well-being. I let it bounce off me.

 

Because it really is better to be rubber.

 

ABOUT

 

Dr. Linda Cobourn is a Literacy Specialist who works with at-risk learners and non-traditional college students. She holds Instructional II certificates from Pennsylvania and Delaware in Elementary Education K-6 and Reading PK-12. Dr. Cobourn earned her doctoral degree in Educational Leadership, focusing on the use of critical literacy in middle school. Currently, she teaches at Springfield College in Wilmington. She was recently cited by the Mayor of Philadelphia for her work constructing literacy programs for inner-city youth. She is the author of three published books and writes a blog at http://writingonthebrokenroad.blogspot.com/

 

 

 

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Walking in Your Own Shoes by Kolleen Lucariello

This Word Girl blog resonated with me as I’ve been getting rid of my shoes (about 70 pair – am I a bit of a shoe lover?) I’d apparently been purchasing my former size for some time and needed a new arch support (no wonder so many didn’t fit so well) so I’ve made a couple of gals really happy.

 

Though I haven’t yet met Koleen in person yet, I count her a friend, and feel I know her from our Facebook and writer contacts. (see below)

Here’s what Kolleen Lucariello has to say about shoes:

Here in my home state of New York, October ushers in the fun of pumpkins, apple picking and salmon fishing season. There’s also the beauty of leaves peaking, apple cider and cozy sweaters. Among the many things October has to offer, it has also been designated as Women Walking in Their Own Shoes month: a global call for women to say yes to their purpose, passion and power.

 

If you’re like me, fall also means it’s time to shed the flip-flops, put away the sandals, and slip your feet back into a pair of shoes. Preferably comfortable ones—it’s never enjoyable to spend a day in shoes that don’t fit.

 

Once, while visiting my parents, I slipped my feet into a pair of my mother’s shoes so I could retrieve something from the car. Immediately, I noticed we walk completely differently; she walks on the inside of her sole—I don’t. My feet in her shoes didn’t work well. Come to think of it, I’ve stood in the clearance section trying to squeeze my feet into the wrong size shoe all for the sake of cuteness. I’ve also clomped around in shoes too big out of convenience. Neither were comfortable. Did you know it’s possible to cause serious harm to yourself by wearing shoes that don’t fit properly?

 

Serious harm can also happen when insecurities keep you from walking in your own shoes. Just as there’s comfort when we slip our feet into our own shoes, comfort can be found when we slip ourselves into the purpose, passion and power God has given us.

 

Paul wrote, “It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone” (Ephesians 1:11-12, MSG).

 

When we say yes to Christ, we say yes to purpose because we discover what we are living for. We say yes to passion because we recognize who we are, and we say yes to power because we understand the kingdom of God is not based on talk but on power (1 Corinthians 4:20).

 

Cinderella was the only one who could wear the glass slipper.

 

You’re the only one who can walk in your shoes.

 

ABOUT

 

Kolleen Lucariello, #TheABCGirl, the author of the devotional book, The ABC’s of Who God Says I Am, resides in Central New York with her husband, Pat. You can connect with Kolleen at www.speakkolleen.com as she pursues God’s heartbeat to change our identity—one letter at a time.

 

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After Losing a Child – Missing my girl

Missing my girl today (You know how it is… something happens and I think, “Oh, I’ve got to tell Laurie that” but when I pick up the phone I remember…
and then I was sorting some old pictures of my Mom’s and came across a couple of emails from several years ago.  I don’t know how they got there, but they were like a message from Heaven.  Here’s part of one…
….But now I’ll stop and take a moment to wish you Happy Mother’s Day! Since I’m in poetry mode – a couple poems By Joanna Fuchs to express my love for you!
Without You
Mom, without you, there would be no me.
Your love, your attention, your guidance,
have made me who I am.
Without you, I would be lost,
wandering aimlessly,
without direction or purpose.
You showed me the way
to serve, to accomplish, to persevere.
Without you, there would be an empty space
I could never fill, no matter how I tried.
Instead, because of you,
I have joy, contentment, satisfaction, and peace.
Thank you, mom.
I have always loved you
and I always will.
I Learned From You
I learned about love from you,
Watching your caring ways.
I learned about joy from you
In fun-filled yesterdays.
From you I learned forgiving
Of faults both big and small.
I learned what I know about living
From you, as you gave life your all.
The example you set is still with me
I’d never want any other.
I’m thankful for all that you taught me,
And I’m blessed to call you “Mother.”
I Love You!
Laurie
Until then…
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7 Tips for Handling Anxiety – by Dr. Michelle Bengtson

Word Girls guest blog Michele Bengston.

Real. Those are the type of people and things that move me most. Real stories, books and movies based on real people dealing with real life.  Real tears and real joy at simple things. I’ve not yet met this lady in person, but feel I know her well because she is real. She exposes her heart and her weaknesses along with her victories in a matter-of-fact way that encourages me.

Michele Bengston is living and has come through many of the anxieties that can tear us down. I’m pleased today to share some of her hard-experienced wisdom and to pray for you, that you would find encouragment in her words:

Worry, fear, and anxiety are epidemic. Anxiety disorders are the most common class of mental health disorders.[i]

 

It started in Genesis, when Adam and Eve developed an unhealthy fear of God, prompting them to hide in the garden after realizing their nakedness.

 

God commands us not to worry or fear over 300 times, because He knew we would.

 

Scripture Gives 7 Tips for Handling Anxiety:

 

  1. Recognize it exists. My people perish for lack of knowledge. (Hosea 4:6)

 

  1. Realize those thoughts aren’t your thoughts. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12)

 

  1. Ask God what prompted the concern. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth. (John 16:13)

 

  1. Combat anxiety with the truth of God’s Word. For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

 

  1. When tempted to worry, vocalize God’s truth. So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:17)

 

  1. Trust God to handle your situation and thank Him for His answers. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. (Philippians 4:6)

 

  1. Stand firm, resist the devil, and command him to leave! Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s. (Matthew 16:23) So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)

 

Anxiety isn’t from God. Instead God gives us power, love, and a sound mind. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)

 

Will you exchange your anxiety for His power, love, and sound mind?

 

About the Author:

Meet Dr. Bengtson here : Hope Prevails

Dr. Bengtson, author of Hope Prevails: Insights From a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression is a clinical neuropsychologist and international speaker. She gives practical tools, encourages faith, and offers hope to acquire peace and joy. She blogs at www.DrMichelleBengtson.com. Find her on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/DrMichelleBengtson), Pinterest (http://www.Pinterest.com/Drbhopeprevails), and Twitter (http://www.Twitter.com/DrMBengtson).

[i] Kessler RC, Aguilar-Gaxiola S, Alonso J, Chatterji S, Lee S, Ormel J, Ustün TB, Wang PS. The global burden of mental disorders: an update from the WHO World Mental Health (WMH) surveys. Epidemiol Psichiatr Soc 2009;18(1):23–33.

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