Saturday, September 13, 2014

DEANNA KLINGLE: WHAT DOES MINISTRY MEAN TO YOU?

Ministry According to Mother Theresa
What does ministry mean to you? Is it something difficult? Something you need special training to do? Years to accomplish a goal? It could, of course, be all those things. But for most of us, without special training, or special gifts, with time and financial  constraints and family obligations, it’s simpler. And many ministries are simple; simple enough for a child to do. Mother Theresa of Calcutta taught ministry in brilliant simplicity for the world to emulate. “In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.”
I remember one of my Girl Scout Troops made bedside bags for nursing home patients while learning to sew and learning compassion.  For several of them, that lead to a new ministry as Candy Stripers. The bags were a service project. To become a Candy Striper required a commitment to an ongoing service. Delivering the mail and the flowers, bringing smiles and joy to the elderly became a ministry for them. “Spread your love, everywhere you go,” Mother Theresa said.
There are ladies in my small parish church, too old to be Candy Stripers, who have a prayer blanket ministry. They meet, pray, and construct small lap blankets for the infirm. “It is not the magnitude of our actions but the amount of love that is put into them that matters.”
I attend Church in other cities and states on Sunday mornings when I’m traveling with my books. Some have an entire page in their bulletin listing all their ministries, everything from hand bells, teaching, visitations, gardening, just about anything really. “The miracle is not that we do this work, but that we are happy to do it.”
A ministry that brought great joy to a lot of people in the twelve years I pursued it, also brought me joy and happiness. My therapy dog ministry.
Several years ago I contracted Lyme Disease. I was very ill for a long time. During my recovery we bought a golden retriever puppy. She did so much for me, gave me so much love and joy, I vowed if I got well I would share her with others who were ill.  Lily was a wonderful therapy dog for the next twelve years at hospitals and nursing homes. We eventually added a golden rescue to the family, who, when she recovered from her own dire condition, also became a therapy dog. I never ceased being amazed by what the dogs could accomplish.

I eventually wrote a book about their ministry, Just for the Moment: The Remarkable Gift of the Therapy Dog. Their stories continue to bring joy to others. The dogs lived Mother Theresa’s famous quote: “Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired.” I admired the dogs for their simple , tireless ministry.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Interview with Lee Carver about A Secret Life


Author Lee Carver is my guest today. 

She has an amazing background. Meet this interesting woman and her World War II story from a German's Point of View.



 Lee Carver is once again failing at retirement. After being born, educated, and married in the United States, she established homes and reared their children in Greece, Saudi Arabia, Argentina,
Indonesia, Brazil, Spain, and again in Brazil. Her husband Darrel, once a US Navy pilot and then a VP in Citibank’s International Division, took early retirement to be a missionary pilot over the Brazilian Amazon. They now live in a suburb of Fort Worth, Texas, where they continue to be involved in missionary aviation.


WWII is the new Amish. This new genre is becoming quite popular. As the WWII veterans are rapidly dying, the war moves into the classification of historical. What prompted you to write this story?

I’ve never been a history buff. Biology and chemistry, such logical sciences, pushed away any desire to study history, politics, and especially wars. My husband is quite the opposite, and had always wanted to visit the European battlefields where his father fought. The book and TV series Band of Brothers brought that desire to a slow burn. Robin Sink McClelland, the daughter of Col. Robert Sink, Regimental Commander of the Parachute Infantry Regiment featured in Band of Brothers, is a personal friend. Having never traveled out of the US, Robin organized a private tour to visit the area where Col. Sink fought. We were invited to join the tour, which became a remarkable, world-expanding experience. I had toured Germany several times and used to speak the language, but this trip changed my understanding of Europe, its history, and World War II. I simply had to write a story about fictional characters caught in that scene.

You’ve never written a historical novel before. Does this represent a change in your genre for the future?

No, I’m returning to contemporary fiction. The intensive research necessary to write A Secret Life totally involved me for more than a year, and I’m so glad I did it. However, my next novel, to be released December 3rd, is a contemporary missionary story. It’s an inspirational romance set in the Brazilian Amazon, where my husband and I lived for over six years.

While other WWII novels are written from the perspective of American soldiers and the women who fall in love with them, the central character of A Secret Life is a young German man. Why did you take that approach?

As a person who has lived in seven countries and traveled to more than forty-five, I felt that the attribute I could offer readers was a foreign view. I walked the hills in this story, I ate German food, spoke German, and toured the great cities of Europe. And while most war novels show Germans only as detestable Nazis, I knew and loved Germans who suffered terribly under Hitler. Without becoming too graphic, I wanted to show that there is another side to this beautiful country.

Romance novels, almost by definition, begin with a man and woman who must fall in love, but they have compelling reasons why they shouldn't. And then they do, and the story ends. Again, yours is different. Why did you break the pattern?
Can you imagine marrying someone who is not at all who you thought? The sweet love story covers a profound deception. The compromises of marriage are based on faith in the person and personality represented during the courtship. What if all that were totally false? Could love survive? Would God even bless such a marriage? The development of the character Karl—who he is, what he believes, and his purpose in life—plays out after his marriage. He grows, strengthens, and takes control after his return to Germany. He is no longer reacting to events; he is making them happen. That’s when Karl becomes the hero of his own story.

You say that every novel you write is inspirational. How do you work that into a novel about war?

There is no pulpit event, no point at which action stops and I, the author, hop up on a soapbox and explain Jesus and salvation. It’s just there. My characters live in the Christian worldview. Karl comes from a Christian family, though his faith has not be tested as it will be. His mother, an American from a Jewish family, converted before she met her husband, and her faith runs deep. Karl’s relationship with God deepens as he perseveres, as he learns what love is. His faith is the foundation of his life, as it is for his wife Grace, and as it is for us.

One final question: you self-published three books before this one, which has a traditional publisher, the Inspirational line of Prism Book Group. Why the switch?

The Most Excellent Adventure, a collection of experiences—mostly humorous—all over the world, was first published in Brazil. Later I edited it and published through Amazon. Then I wrote the first novel, Love’s Second Verse, almost as on-the-job training. The plot involves a woman working as an IT specialist in the world largest international bank (go figure). As technology rapidly advanced, the story line was becoming dated. I had to either publish it right away or toss it. The third book, Flying for Jesus, is totally autobiographical, a nonprofit venture to give testimony to God for the amazing years as missionaries in Brazil. These are all available through Amazon.com. But my goal to be traditionally published is rooted in the desire to be recognized as a worthy novelist. I want to be admitted into the ACFW Conference courses for “published” authors—published by ACFW recognized publishers. It’s a gratifying professional step.

A romantic excerpt from the courtship of Karl, living as the American Henry:
“If I were wealthy, would he consider me a better prospect for his only daughter?”
She bent her head. “It’s terrible to say, but I think so. He wants me to marry a ‘good provider.’ Sometimes he even tries to match me up with guys he meets in his business.”
Like grit in his teeth, Henry abhorred the thought of losing her to another man. He took both her hands in his and locked eyes with his love. “Someday, Grace, I will be wealthy. I will be the son-in-law your father respects.”
She drew a sudden breath.
His words were tantamount to a proposal of marriage.
He watched her recover from mild shock, and attempted to do the same. In truth, he had declared his intention.
She looked down with a blush. Then she leaned toward him. “Money isn’t important to me. I love you. We’ll make it fine. I’ll work…”
“You won’t have to, my sweet.” In an echo from the past, he borrowed Father’s words. “I have a plan.”
Her smile opened her expression as if in wonder. Whatever her thoughts, pleasure ran through them.
He found courage to continue. “I don’t know how long it will take, but I will not dally.”
***

 A Secret Life, by Lee Carver, is a World War II historical with a romantic thread, and like all her novels, it is inspirational.  Here's the back cover blurb:
 The German Army of World War II rips KARL VON STEUBEN from his family and privileged life, forcing him to conceal his American sympathies and Jewish heritage. Stripped of every tie to his home country, he determines to escape. As he crawls to the Siegfried Line, only he knows the hiding place of gold ingots melted from the jewelry of prisoners. Wounded after assuming the identity of a fallen American soldier, Karl briefly deceives even himself.
Discharged and shipped to America, he discovers God’s unmerited favor in a beautiful Atlanta nurse. But he must return to Germany or relinquish his family fortune and rear children under the name of another man. Will Grace forgive his duplicity and accept him as a loyal American?

The hotlink for the print book and Kindle is http://amzn.to/1sr2NPc
I would appreciate your sharing the word to anyone else who might be interested in the book. Having this spread by FB and other digital means is invaluable.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A WORD FROM THE APOSTLE PAUL FOR TODAY


By Paul the Apostle

Recorded by Dr. Luke 

A.D. 62

ATHENS, GREECE  -- God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands.

Nor is He worshped with men's hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their habitation so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each of us;
Paul preaching on Mars Hill in Athens  lds.net Bing photos

For in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said,
For we are also His offspring.

Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man's devising. Truly, there times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men to repent.because He had appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom 
He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead."

As one of Paul's traveling companions, Luke notes at the end of the passage in Acts 17:24-18, "But when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked, while others said, 'We will hear you again on this matter.' But some men joined Paul and believed.



Monday, September 8, 2014

Ane Mulligan: Humor and encouragement for the Over-50 Writer

By Ane Mulligan

Don't let anyone ever tell you you're too old to dream a new dream or start a new career. After all, Sarah was 90-plus when she became a mother. Noah was over a hundred when he became a shipbuilder. Moses was a card-carrying member of AARP when he led the nation of Israel out of Egypt. So, why not me?

God called me to writing in December 2002, using Hubs to say the words, and I put pen to paper—okay, fingers to keyboard—on January 1st, 2003 just four days before my 56th birthday.

I had a long way to go before realizing that dream with a publishing contract. It took a few years to learn the craft of novel writing. I'd been a published playwright for seven years, but scripts are all dialogue and a few stage directions.

However, since I stepped out in faith and answered His call, God put mentors in my path, who taught me so much. I bought books on the craft of fiction writing my mentors recommended, read and committed to memory all I was taught.


Four special people came alongside me in the way of critique partners. Now, I have to admit at times I questioned God about them and their tough love. I call them Attila the Holmes, Hannibal Dotta, Genghis Griep, and Ludwig von Frankenpen. Oh, they have a name for me, too. I'm Ane of Mean Gables.

Along my journey, I often got discouraged, but each time, God sent something to encourage me. Sometimes it was a contest win or an acquisitions editor, who took my manuscript to committee. Still, the door to a contract remained tightly closed.

What I learned during these years is God is trustworthy with our dreams, no matter what they are. When we commit our ways to Him, He's faithful. We just need to factor in His time and place to our dreams.

I'd always wanted sisters, but only had a brother; both of us adopted as infants. In 2009, God fulfilled that dream and my five birth sisters found me. That's another story and can be read on my website under Adoption Share—and yes, Heaven help them, they're just like me.

In 2013, the Lord finally fulfilled my other dream and opened the door to a publishing contract. I knew the time and publisher were right.

I've always believed people let down their guard when they think they're being entertained. Then, when they least expect it, our words can reach out, touch hearts and change lives. And isn't that why we write?

Meet Ane Mulligan

So no matter if you're over 50, it's never to late to dream or to follow those dreams.
While a large, floppy straw hat is her favorite, Ane has worn many different ones: hairdresser, legislative affairs director (that's a fancy name for a lobbyist), drama director, playwright, humor columnist, and novelist. Her lifetime experience provides a plethora of fodder for her Southern-fried fiction (try saying that three times fast). She firmly believes coffee and chocolate are two of the four major food groups. President of the award-winning literary site, Novel Rocket, Ane resides in Suwanee, GA, with her artist husband, her chef son, and two dogs of Biblical proportion. You can find Ane on her Southern-fried Fiction website, Google+, Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, and Pinterest.



Chapel Springs Revival

With a friend like Claire, you'll need a gurney, a mop, and a guardian angel

Everybody in the small town of Chapel Springs, Georgia, knows best friends Claire and Patsy. It's impossible not to, what with Claire's zany antics and Patsy's self-appointed mission to keep her friend out of trouble. And trouble abounds. Chapel Springs has grown dilapidated and the tourist trade has slackened. With their livelihoods threatened, they join forces to revitalize the town. No one could have guessed the real issue needing restoration is personal.

With their marriages in as much disarray as the town, Claire and Patsy embark on a mission of mishaps and miscommunication, determined to restore warmth to Chapel Springs —and their lives. That is if they can convince their husbands and the town council, led by two curmudgeons who would prefer to see Chapel Springs left in the fifties and closed to traffic.




Thursday, September 4, 2014

THE WONDER OF OUR FEET

Photo: News Discovery.com

HOW ABOUT YOUR FEET?
By Ada Brownell

When I was a kid I heard about stinky feet, toe jam, big feet, ugly feet, dirty feet. I never heard much good about feet.

After I got a little older I told people, “If my face looked as good as my feet I’d be in great shape.” Then with walking for my health, a corn showed up. Plantar warts. Another corn. Callouses. The makings of a bunion.

How can I complain? At least I have feet. When I was about 12, I disobeyed Daddy and went ice skating next to the mighty Colorado River. We skated on a pond of backed up water next to the river. My house was farther away from the river than their’s. Besides, my shoe skates were getting too little and they cut off the circulation.

On the way home, my feet felt like bricks. No feeling. Temperatures probably were below zero because we had to have zero temperatures before ice was thick enough to skate on.

When I walked into the house, I headed for the bathroom, stuck my feet in the sink and turned on hot water. My feet turned black and began to swell.

There was no way I could hide what happened. I couldn’t wear my shoes and had to borrow an older sister’s and wear them for days until the swelling went down.

The only time I saw a doctor before I got married was when I had the croup and he came to the house. My parents, refugees from the Great Depression and the Kansas Dust Bowl, didn’t have a penny to pay for any extras. I had few clothes and wore my brother’s hand-me-downs because my four sisters were too big. If our parents hadn’t grown a big garden and raised pigs and chickens we wouldn’t have had anything to eat.

But about the time I was born, the last of eight children, our family one-by-one committed their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ. They knew how to pray. My feet soon became normal. I’ve wondered if I had been taken to a doctor if he’d have wanted to amputate.

Our feet are beautiful examples of God’s complex design.  According to WebMD the feet are flexible structures of bones, joints, muscles, and soft tissues that let us stand upright and perform activities like walking, running, and jumping. The feet are divided into three sections:
  • The forefoot contains the five toes and the five longer bones.
  • The midfoot is a pyramid-like collection of bones that form the arches of the feet..
  • The hindfoot forms the heel and ankle. The talus bone supports the leg bones (tibia and fibula), forming the ankle. The heel bone is the largest bone in the foot.
Muscles, tendons, and ligaments run along the surfaces of the feet, allowing the complex movements needed for motion and balance. The Achilles tendon connects the heel to the calf muscle and is essential for running, jumping, and standing on the toes.

The active agents in the mechanism of the foot are the muscles, and the passive the bones, ligaments, joints, etc. The bones are levers, and muscles the power.

 “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” we’re told in Hebrews 10:15 and Isaiah 52:7. Isaiah added, “...who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation, who says in Zion, “Your God reigns!”

Where have my feet been? I pray I’ve left good tracks in the neighborhood when we  moved. I pray my children see good tracks left by my feet in their lives. I pray I left good tracks everywhere I worked, in every Sunday school where I taught, on people I meet and those who read my writing.

May there be a scent of God’s sweet anointing on my feet.

©Copyright Ada Brownell






Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Free devotions from WEIGHT LOSS AND DIVINE DINING






"Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free."

 John 8:32

By Janet K. Brown

If there is one truth I’ve learned since the Lord healed me of compulsive overeating, it’s that I must be honest and real. That truth provides the basis for my book Divine Dining: 365 Devotions to Guide You to Healthier Weight and Abundant Wellness.

     Despite the trusted belief to the contrary, will power isn’t the answer for weight loss. My strong will power fueled my disease. I reached two hundred, fifty pounds. By then, I was an emotional wreck with thoughts of suicide. Food dominated everything I did.

     I was a Christian, so I prayed for God to help me, to stop the cravings, to take away the desire to overeat. Nothing lasted. I rose from my knees to try another diet, to do it for myself. I could tell you the caloric content of foods, what to eat and what to avoid. Knowledge did not translate into success. My will power would last for days or for months, but then it turned on me and pushed me to eat what I wanted, so that I regained the weight, plus some. Nothing worked until I truly gave up trying and told God if He didn't heal me, I was doomed. Desperation drives divine dining.


     Every week during a Christian weight loss class, I soaked up the lessons presented. When the teacher moved, I continued to teach the class. I lost weight in direct proportion to my reliance on Christ. God healed me emotionally. While teaching this class, I also attended a twelve-step Overeater’s Anonymous group. I tore down the idol of food and put God on the throne of my heart.

     In Divine Dining I teach principles from my weight loss journey. Even now, after eighteen years, I read books and literature over and over to keep me inspired. I have several daily devotion books, some specifically for compulsive overeaters, but Divine Dining is the first one I’ve found that combines a twelve-step approach with drawing closer to Christ and allowing Him to take His rightful place in our lives.

A few years ago, the Lord woke me in the middle of the night. My mind popped with devotions. I wrote fourteen before I went back to bed. For four years, ideas came to me. Sometimes I wrote one a day. Other times I wrote one a week. By the time I had finished 300 devotions, I knew this wasn’t meant just for me. God wanted me to share it. I started submitting. Pen-L Publishing released it in December, 2012.   

  
For one month only, Pen-L Publishing offers on Smashwords a FREE devotion a day from Divine Dining.

Take advantage of this even if you’ve only thought about losing weight God’s way. You can preview thirty of the devotions. If they minister to you, then you might want to purchase the entire 365. There’s no obligation. The devotions are FREE. All you must do is click on the link below and download it.




Sunday, August 31, 2014

YOUTH AND GOD'S GREAT LOVE


By Ada Brownell

Viewing the underbelly of society as a newspaper reporter affected me.  I can't forget the woman whose teenage son committed suicide; The high school gal I did a story about who excelled in academics as well as sports, who killed herself before she could be valedictorian.

I talked with teen mothers in a high school class designed to train them in caring for their babies, with the emphasis on preventing child abuse. Only one young mom in the class of about 20 still dated the infant's father. I could detect anger against parents, former boyfriends, and even the babies.

I remember the juvenile ward at the Colorado Mental Health Institute. A psych tech told me abuse, physical and sexual, affected many of them. That might explain the obscene gesture one patient made to me when I walked into their television room.

 Serious thought disorders affected other patients. One of the kids killed his parents. The youths hee-hawed about being insane, putting on a show of disgusting faces and actions.

I stumbled into the story where a half dozen 12-year-old boys who gang raped an 8-year-old girl were in court.

Then every year, sometimes more often, I reported statistics on teen pregnancy (kids as young as 11 or 12 gave birth); abortions; and sexually transmitted diseases in our county.

As the mother of five, I wondered why we have these things happening to our children. Are we so busy earning money we neglect our own flesh and blood?

Praise the Lord my children  all serve the Lord. From their births I wanted them to grow up, as I did, knowing God loves them and has a plan for their lives—and they did.

Yet, evil forces work to destroy their faith, so thanks to things I learned in teaching teens in Christian education classes and my other biblical studies, I acquired much needed knowledge to impart to my family. They knew serving the Lord was first in my life, and my most earnest desire for them was and is that they live for Jesus.

Most important, I spent lots of time with them--and  on my knees.

Yet, I knew parents don't have control. Each child has to decide whether to believe God's Word and accept salvation.

Although I've seen effects of sin as a journalist, I don't dwell on wickedness plaguing our society, and I don't advise others to do so. The Lord gives too much joy and things to rejoice about to spend too much time smelling the pig pens in life.

Our children need to know more about the joy unspeakable and full of glory that the Lord provides and the rivers of living water that refresh and strengthen our souls. Paul was in a prison cell, but he rejoiced and told us to rejoice because God is still on the throne.

The good news is our children can be righteousness, even in this wicked society. "For God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might sow the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:4-7NKJ).

All five our children grew up to serve the Lord, be examples of the wonder God creates in His children, and have been or are in Christian ministry, and one of them, Carolyn, is in heaven. What a blessing! What a joy!


©Copyright Ada Brownell February 2014

My book, IMAGINE THE FUTURE YOU, was birthed in part from my esperiences as a journalist.
Here's the summary:

IMAGINE THE FUTURE YOU
By Ada Brownell

Will you be the person you dream of being—or someone from your nightmares?

You don’t need a fortune teller to reveal your future. You are the person who determines who you will be, what your life will be like, and how your hopes and dreams will be fulfilled.

This book will show how to make the right connections, how to grow your talents, and how to begin believing in yourself and things greater than yourself—for a wonderful Future You!

A Bible study available in paper or for Kindle http://www.amazon.com/dp/1489558284
Ada Brownell’s author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001KJ2C06
 Also available in audio at www,audible.com   Free book with new Audible membership