Category Archives: Guest Posts

The Death of Pride and Friendship Reborn

lindsay-harrelBy Lindsay Harrel

I don’t think there’s much that hurts worse than the death of a friendship. Lost friendships leave us wondering what went wrong. They might leave us bitter, blaming someone else for the rejection and dejection we feel. They might make us regretful or give us low self-esteem.

Sometimes, the death of a friendship is a necessary thing, taking us away from a toxic person who was only poisoning our lives. But that certainly wasn’t the case for me.

Several years ago, I lost a lifelong friend. She and I had been going down separate paths for awhile, but I was too busy to see it. On the surface, I thought I was doing what I needed to maintain the relationship. But when I looked deeper, I saw that I had begun avoiding her because of some hurts I’d allowed to fester and grow into resentment.

That revelation didn’t come overnight. In fact, it took some time to accept my part in the “breakup.” Before that, it was so easy to blame her, to see how she’d twisted events to suit her, to see the hurt she inflicted on me by deciding I wasn’t worthy of her friendship anymore (my interpretation at the time).

So I became bitter and nasty toward her. Because of our circumstances, we still saw each other fairly frequently. I would tell myself to be cordial—but as I’m someone who wears my heart on my sleeve, it was too difficult a task for me to pretend everything was all right. I’d end up saying things that weren’t like me at all, and make everyone around us uncomfortable.

Eventually, after some wise counsel, I decided I needed to move on for my own sake. Even if I couldn’t repair the friendship, I had to ask for forgiveness for my part and forgive my former friend for hers. We met up, hashed things out face to face, and decided to move past this—not as friends, but as indifferent acquaintances.

I was still sad over this arrangement—because I’d lost a friend—but okay with it. After all, what else could I do?

But friends, that is not where this story ends.

friendshipSomehow, over the years, we have become friends again. I can’t even tell you how it really happened, except to say that we serve a God who doesn’t settle for “okay.”

So even when it seems that all hope is lost, remember that the God who created the heavens and the earth cares about our relationships. He wants us to be restored to full unity, to be the most effective body of Christ we can be. And if we are willing, he will do miracles in our lives—even when we least expect them.

About the Author

lindsay-harrelLindsay Harrel is a lifelong book nerd who lives in Arizona with her young family, and two golden retrievers in serious need of training. Besides writing, singing, and hanging out with family and friends, Lindsay enjoys making a fool of herself at Zumba, curling up with anything by Jane Austen, and savoring sour candy one piece at a time. Her debut novel, One More Song to Sing, releases December 2016. Connect with her at www.LindsayHarrel.com.

About One More Song to Sing by Lindsay Harrel

onemoresongMore than two decades ago, Olivia Lovett left her old life behind in the red dirt of Oklahoma and forged a career in Nashville as a country music star. Now her voice is failing, forcing her to find a new dream just as the secrets of her past come knocking at the door. Long-time friend Andrew Grant agrees to partner in a new business venture—but would he stick around if he knew her whole story?

After the tragic loss of her father, twenty-one-year-old Ellie Evans headed to Nashville seeking more than just fame. For two years, she’s waitressed, strummed, and sung her way to what may finally be her big break when Olivia offers to sign her to the budding record label. More than anything, Ellie just wants to be seen: by her future fans, by Nick Perry—a fellow musician with a killer smile and kind eyes—and above all else, by the mother who abandoned her. If the spotlight never shines on her, will Ellie ever feel whole?

One More Song to Sing is a romantic drama about the power of forgiveness, second chances, and a God who never fails to see us.

Connect with Lindsay on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/LindsayHarrel

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you want to go on a mission trip so bad, you make up one.

janetprofileBy Janet Ferguson

In my first book, Leaving Oxford, I researched Honduras and Guatemala. A character was impacted by the death of his caretaker from that area of the world due to dengue fever. The disease is a mosquito-borne disease with no current cure or vaccine. When I started writing the novel four years ago, the Zika Virus was unknown to me and probably most of us. Vector-borne diseases were seemingly a thing of the past for the U.S. Now we have more of a reason to care about those diseases as they make their way northward.

From my research alone, I fell in love with the people. I interviewed many friends and relatives about their mission trip experiences. One thing was clear. Mission trips impacted those going on the mission probably as much as they impacted the people they were “ministering” to. Research has shown mission trips to be one of the highest rated events that affect the faith of young people.

That said, I wanted to go on my own trip to Honduras or Guatemala. Really badly. But the timing or finances didn’t seem to be right. Can you relate? So, I sent my characters in Book Two of the Southern Heart Series on a mission trip instead. I figured I could live vicariously through them. And I did, ha!

Guatamala.1Then something amazing happened. Our youth minister announced a trip for our teens to Poptun, Guatemala. I had a senior in high school who wanted to go, and they needed chaperones. But would my eighteen-year-old son want his mom to go? With a huge chunk of maturity, he told me before I even asked that he knew I would want to go, and it was okay!

The trip was amazing. The people we met were amazing and certainly ministered to us, as well. Yes,Janet_Guatamala I added a few tweaks to my novel, but much of the trip was as I’d imagined. I hope you get the opportunity to travel on a mission trip, but while you’re waiting, check out Going Up South.

What’s your mission trip experience? If you haven’t been, would you like to?

About Janet’s New Book. https://www.amazon.com/Going-South-Southern-Hearts-Book-ebook/dp/B01DOREISA

Going_Up_SouthNo one told him he had a son.

Actor Dylan Conner is furious. Not only has he been left out of his child’s life, the baby boy has been given another man’s last name. Determined to be a better father than the sorry guy who’d left him and his mother, Dylan fights to ensure a significant place in his son’s life. Unfortunately, his bad-boy reputation overshadows his good intentions. Only one woman in this small town sees beyond his Hollywood image. And he’s falling for her. Too bad she’s the custody mediator.

After her scandalous divorce in the small town of Oxford, Mississippi, attorney Cassie Brooks has no intentions of practicing law again. The humiliating experience left a bitter taste for love, marriage, and her profession.

Now friends need Cassie’s help in a custody negotiation, and her role demands she remain objective. She never expected to be drawn to Dylan Conner—the actor who everyone warns is bad news. Not only is the mediation at stake, but so is her heart.

You can connect with Janet Ferguson, by clicking on the links below.

 https://www.facebook.com/Janet.Ferguson.author
http://www.janetfergusonauthor.com/
https://www.pinterest.com/janetwferguson/
https://twitter.com/JanetwFerguson
 
Faith, Humor, Romance
 Southern Style
 

A Visit with Michelle Ule

MichelleA hope came true recently and I visited the lovely town of Fairhope, Alabama, set on the eastern banks of Mobile Bay.

I went to visit a friend and enjoyed our travels about town as she pointed out the beauty and pleasure of the small town life.

I’d loved the name ever since Kim first told me where she lived and when I wrote two novellas for The 12 Brides of Christmas and The 12 Brides of Summer, I “borrowed” her town’s name and gave it to a small frontier town in Nebraska circa 1874-1875.Twelve_brides

Fair and hope make such lovely words to describe a young town, don’t they?

The town’s name in the first novella, The Yuletide Bride, is ironic given the story takes place in the fall and winter of 1874. But another meaning of “fair” also works in this story because the love interest’s father gives her would-be suitor a fair deal when Ewan asks for Kate’s hand.

“Ewan, you’ve had a rough go of it, but you’re just a grasshopper of a boy. You’ve no land, no prospects, no money. All you’ve got is your fiddle and a willing heart. It’s not enough to court my daughter.”

But Mr. MacDougall knows the two are devoted to each other, so he softens his stance and gives Ewan just enough hope to be fair:

“I knew your family, good people. I’ve always been sorry for your loss. But unless you can earn seventy dollars by Kate’s Christmas birthday, I cannot agree to a match.”

$70 was a huge sum to earn in three months for a young man without a job, but Ewan applies himself. He also knows MacDougall is being more than fair since Kate has a wealthy suitor in banker Josiah.

When Kate learns of her father’s agreement, she learns to be a good “helpmeet” for the man she loves, all the while trying hard to be fair to Josiah.

Since bagpipes get involved, humor turns up as well.

You can learn how in The 12 Brides of Christmas.

The 12 Brides of Summer includes sequels to the Christmas stories, and in The Sunbonnet Bride, Fairhope once again is an ironic twist when a tornado runs through the neighborhood and upends local farms.

In this case, Kate’s brother Malcolm is a teamster—to whom Ewan gave hope of a future in The Yuletide Bride—with an eye on a seamstress hoping to build a business.

Sally’s dreams are dashed when the family farm is flattened, but through her father’s encouragement and that of Malcolm and Josiah, she learns that all is not lost even when it looks grim.

With two suitors vying for her attention, both with strengths and ways to encourage her hopes, life continues.

The Sunbonnet Bride explores how Sally tries to be fair to both as well as to her future hopes.

Both novella collections are stories full of inspiration, faith and hope for people in challenging circumstances and/or love.

It’s always a fair hope when people allow God to care for them, their lives and their circumstances.

Isn’t it?

MichelleMichelle Ule is the best-selling author of six books. She’s currently writing a biography, Mrs. Oswald Chambers, which is also full of fair and faithful hope. For fun stories of historical research and every day life, check out my blog:  http://www.michelleule.com/

To buy The 12 Brides of Summer Collection, click on the link below.

https://www.amazon.com//1634090292/ref=nav_timeline_asin?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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Facing My Own Meanness

By Peggy Trotter

I own the world’s meanest cat. Seriously. When I try to pet her, she bites me. Every time. When I hold her, she has a biting, scratching fit. Evil Minion And I have to admit, a few weeks ago I was ready to send her to the river with my shotgun-wielding husband with instructions to come back alone. The man, not the cat.

Oh, sure. You feel bad for the animal, but then she hasn’t repeatedly hung from your bare leg with her claws. Or climbed you as you were walked by. My skin is littered with her claw marks. I’m considering adding pin cushion pants and oven mitts as my normal attire. What’s her name, you ask? Let’s just say we now call her, “Minion.”

It wasn’t always like this. I got her when she was just four weeks old this past July. She was so tiny and so cute. She didn’t know how to feed herself yet, so I painstakingly fed her kitten-replacement milk through a syringe. I awoke in the middle of the night to care for her, cheered over her use of the potty box, let her sleep in the curve of my neck. I, in short, adored her.

She, however, had other ideas. Each day she became more and more independent and rough until she was quite unhandleable. And I cried. Literally. She wasn’t the pet I wanted her to be. And for some reason, this led my thoughts to something a little more serious. Is that how God views me? Not the human He wanted me to be?

Did I start out at first so small and so cute, and then grow more and more independent and tough until I was unhandleable? Unusable?  Did God adore me, hand feed me, and then weep at my self-indulgence? Would he have preferred a quick end of me to rid Himself of such a mean, ungrateful individual? Hmmm. I must say it gave me pause.

With much relief I can say, “no.”

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, —Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 NIV

Praise God. He loves me despite my unlovable ways.

Well, I still have my cat. We’re, “retraining,” so to speak. Not an easy task. But then, God is constantly, “retraining,” me to love, forgive, trust, obey—just imagine an unending list. Yet with Jesus as a filter, I, a dirty sinner, look sinless to God. And you can too. Retrain, my friend. Every day. Sheath your claws and be adored by the Creator who gave you life.Sweet Minion

Look, Minion looks almost, well, tame.

 

 

 

 

Peggy Trotter is an award winning Christian author.12092149_1025257307524423_822597350_n

She has been writing something for over 30 years. The empty-nest syndrome set her to groping for a new direction, and wow, did God answer! Year of Jubilee, a Christian Historical Romance set in southern Indiana, debuted in April of 2015 through Prism Book Group. A second, a Contemporary Romance entitled, Reviving Jules, just released on Oct. 9th, 2015 as well. She loves to reveal God’s miracles through the world’s underdogs and mix in a little love, a dash of romantic heat, and of course, a happy ending.

She took third place in the Indiana Golden Opportunity Contest in 2013 in the Inspirational Category, and won the coveted Genesis Award in 2014 from the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) in the Novella Category with her entry, Spun, a Historical Romance.

God blessed her with a wonderful husband who cooks and helps clean while supporting her crazy dreams. She has two incredible grown kids plus two fabulous in-law kids, and two rays of sunshine, commonly called grandchildren. Seldom does she stand still, but when she does, it’s to praise her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Creator of all gifts and Bestower of all blessings!

Her new book, Reviving Jules Reviving_Julescan be purchased by clicking on the link to her website below.

To order her book and to learn more about Peggy, visit her website at: http://www.peggytrotter.com/

I can’t wait to read Reviving JulesPeggy writes “Christian Romance with a Dash of Heat.”  Thank you Peggy for visiting my garden. Where seeds are sown, the fruit of His spirit blooms.

 

 

 

 

#friendshiphope&friedfruitpies, #catstories, #catlovers,  #godlovesusunconditionally, #facingmyownmeanness, #peggytrotter, #christianromancewithadashofheat