Books, Books and More Books!

I love books! What can I say? When I was in elementary school, I loved library day. I will share this. In early elementary my family moved often. I was in 2-3 schools each year until 4th grade. I had many gaps in so many areas as I would miss certain ways of doing things when I would get to a new school. Since I was extremely shy I was easily overlooked by teachers. I also didn’t ask questions as I didn’t want to bring any attention to myself. So, the library was always so fun for me, but, I didn’t have a clue how to look up certain books etc. I would just glean the shelves and choose my books. I would always check out as many as was aloud. I loved when it was time for the Weekly Reader to come out. SRA’s were always fun. I loved going up and picking the next story to read. Oh, and when it was time to order your very own books was very exciting. (I’m dating myself, aren’t I) The only problem was there was never any money in the budget at home for anything like ordering books. One very rare time was in third grade. I bought a book about Abraham Lincoln. I loved that book! For years the library was always exciting for me to go to. When I was about 16 I discovered a Christian book store one day. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Well, not really, but, it was so exciting. I had no idea there were Christian book stores. I was then a regular customer. I think the name of the store was, Sonshine Corner. When My Jim and I were serving in full-time ministry, we both loved books. Our budget was always very tight and books would be the last thing we would purchase. I love it when I hear about churches that give their pastors a book budget in order to buy books that would only help their teaching, etc. I especially love it when I hear they do the same for the pastor’s wife. Unfortunately, we never had that luxury. All that to say, I must be making up for lost time as books are my weakness! I have enough books now that should last me til the end of time.

I heard someone say when I was a teen that we should always be starting a book, in the middle of a book or ending a book. I’ve always tried to keep up with that idea. I’ll be sharing some books over time that I have finished that I think would be an encouragement to you.

This past week I finished two books that I think you would love:

Pink Satin Sashes, My Life in Sketches, Swatches and Paper Dolls by Debra Mack Larson

I saw this book advertise in my favorite magazine, Southern Lady. The word” paper dolls” caught my eye. I was a huge paper doll collector when I was little. I still love them today. Yes, I’ve even purchased some as an adult that I just couldn’t resist as they looked so cute! But, back to the book…what a sweet, inspiring and fun book this is.

Debra Mack Larson grew up in the 50’s and 60’s. Her mother made all of her clothes from toddler to teen and even her wedding dress. She was an excellent seamstress as you can imagine. As she described her childhood it reminded me of the shows like Father Knows Best and The Donna Reed Show. After her mother passed, Debra discovered that her mother had kept journals of all the clothing that she had made for her throughout her childhood. She had sketches of the outfit with a sample of the fabric and if that wasn’t enough, she made a paper doll out of most of the designs. As someone who loves the 50’s and 60’s fashion styles and even the fabric and then throw in the love of paper dolls, I can’t even imagine what a special find this would have been. The book is filled with photos of her journal drawings and fabrics.

My favorite story she shared was after her father had passed, Debra made a shadow box of his WW2 memorabilia. When she shared it with her aging mother, her mom loved it and then said, “I wish I would have done something wonderful with my life to have it in a shadow box.” Yes, that made me tear up when I read that. I have a feeling if her mom could see this beautiful book that shows her talent and most of all her care and love that she had for her home and family, she would be very happy. What a beautiful tribute this book is for Debra’s beautiful mom.

I love this book and if you think you would want your own copy, go to www.larsondesign.net to order.

This book made me think of the Proverbs 31 Woman. Proverbs 31:10-31. There isn’t a shadow box to hold all that this precious lady did with her life in making a safe, secure and loving home for her husband and daughter. I just love it!

Rocking It Grand, 18 Ways To Be A Game-Changing Grandma by Chrys Howard and Shellie Rushing Tomlinson

I have a couple other books on the issue of being a grandmother who makes a difference in their grandchildren’s life. While raising my kids, my constant prayer was, “Lord, help me to be the mom that each of my kids need.” I knew my two children were different from each other and had different needs, so I worked hard at knowing my kids to the core and then being the mom that they each needed. We can talk about that on another post, because now we are talking about being a grandmother. My name is Mimi and I have 6 amazing grandchildren and another one on the way this coming fall. How exciting is that! So, now my prayer is still not only to be a mom that my kids need even as adults, but, to be the Mimi each one of my grands need. They are all different and unique in each way just as their parents are.

This book was an easy read and three main things popped out at me that were an affirmation of things that I’ve been thinking on and have witnessed myself with other grandmothers that I glean from or have been watching. Just as we were never moms before our kids were born, we’ve never been Mimi’s before either. Always learning new things never gets old. We should always be learning, regardless how old we get.

Chapter 3 – They Don’t Want to Entertain Us

This was such a good chapter, I wish I could type the entire thing out, but, you may need to get the book. I’ll highlight it. This is a concept that I have noticed lately in watching some other grandmas in action. I’ll try to sum it up in my words….We need to have a life that is full. A fulfilling life. If you don’t, then maybe you need to figure it out. Find those things that you love doing. Just because you are older doesn’t mean you forget about yourself. Enjoy life. Let your kids and grandkids see that you have a full exciting life. Your grandkids are a special part of that. If all you do is live and breath your grandchildren and have nothing to offer them from your life, then something is missing and it becomes a hardship on your grandkids and kids for that matter. They are living full exciting lives and if they have this constant pressure to make sure you are not just sitting idly by waiting for someone to make you feel fulfilled, then it can put pressure on the relationship. Life should be full and living a fulfilled life all together, not just one sided. I so hope that makes sense. You might need to read the book to get the full picture!

Chapter 7 – Little Ones Understand More Than We Think

So much is going on in our world that is a bit scary. Our grandkids will have questions and want to talk about things. When we talk to them, we should always offer hope as well. Let them know they were created for such a time as this and we all have a purpose and life isn’t all doom and gloom, but we are to have wisdom and discernment and we as adults can share our wisdom with them and teach them how to not be fearful. If we are fearful, our kids will be. We need to always offer hope and let them know who is really in charge. We can also teach them how to make a difference either now or in the future. *I’m going to share my own thought here. I’ve heard so many people say their kids are missionaries and they are expected to stand strong against the world even as little ones. Well, I don’t exactly go along with that….we train, teach and encourage our kids and to expect them to face the culture as it is today and stand strong when most adults can’t, is beyond me. We as adults need to have wisdom and discernment of how much to allow our children to partake of as far as the culture. To say children are invincible and resilient is like saying we are…..and I don’t think we are. Even as adults, we are learning and growing each and every day. Our job is to help our kids grow and learn each and every day, too.

Chapter 17 – Living in the Present Is a Gift

This chapter covers several things, but one main thing was respecting your grandchildren’s boundaries. Also, we are to encourage their boundaries. Some kids don’t like to be hugged that much. We shouldn’t force a hug on anyone at anytime. One of the authors told about a granddaughter that didn’t like to be hugged and when she realized this, she respected that and didn’t force her to hug. In time as the girl grew out of a stage, she went to her grandmother and always had a hug for her. It was then on her terms and she was more comfortable with that. Kids go through seasons and they are dealing with all types of emotions We are to be the grandmother that is wise and senses things and respects their space.

Those are just a few highlights from a book that is filled with lot’s of wisdom. They also share grandma cookie recipes throughout the book which is fun! If you can’t find this book at your local Christian Book Store, there is always Amazon *this is an affiliate link….it helps with my book issue.

Until next time….Happy Reading!

I captured this of one of our grands at a bookstore one day.

New Book Release! 30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents

I met Kathy Howard several years ago in a writing group.  She has since then published several bible studies/books.  Her latest book, 30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents just released and I wanted to share it with you.

Kathy’s parents are both elderly and her world has now changed over to caring for her parents full-time.  I know so many people are in that time of life to where the roles have changed a bit in the parent department.  If you are in that season now or you want to be prepared for the future, this book will be a great resource for you.

Kathy shared an excerpt of what you will find in 30 Days of Hope….

                                                 Can I Parent and Honor My Parents?

Due to Mom’s worsening dementia, she could not stay alone while my father was hospitalized. Each day we drove to the hospital to spend the bulk of the day with Dad and then I took her home for the night.

During the drive one morning, I saw Mom rummaging in her purse in my peripheral vision. At a stoplight I glanced over in time to see her touch a mascara wand to her lips.

“What ‘cha doin’ Mom?” I asked casually.

“I need a little color on my lips,” was her reply.

Seriously, what do you do with this? I could let her walk into the hospital with black lips, setting her up for possible embarrassment. I could stop her with a quick rebuke. Or I could ask God to help me do the right thing, the right way. I quickly asked God for wisdom and words.

“Mom, I’ve got some lipstick in my purse that would look great on you. Want to try it?”

Mom dropped the mascara in her purse and used my lipstick. Her feelings were spared and she was satisfied. I’d like to tell you every encounter is similar, but sadly it’s not. Too often I react from my own resources instead of God’s.

As our parents age, as illness takes it toll, they require increasingly more help. As the parent becomes more like a child, the child must take on the parenting role.

God’s Word teaches that honoring and caring for our parents is our God-given responsibility and pleases Him (1 Timothy 5:40). But is it possible to both care for and honor our parents?

We can do what’s best for our parents with kindness and respect. But we must first make sure my heart is right with God.

More than once I’ve caught myself trying to do the right thing in the wrong way. My impatience and selfishness fostered harsh words. I’ve learned that the end result isn’t all that matters. The words and actions we use to get there should comfort, encourage, and strengthen our parents.

Honoring our parents while caring for them is not child’s play. But God stands by to supply everything we need to do the right thing, the right way.

Think about some of your recent interactions with your parent. In what ways, if any, could you have improved on the outcome?

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That was just a sample of the wisdom filled chapters that make up this great resource, 30 Days of Hope When Caring For Aging Parents.

Kathy has generously offered to give away a book to one of my readers who leaves a comment on this post.  I would love to hear if you are going through this season and what your biggest struggle/blessing is.  If you aren’t going through the season of caring for your parents, you may know someone who is and would be blessed by this book. *We will draw a name from the list of comments on Monday, July 2, 2018 at 9:00 p.m. (central)

Be sure to visit Kathy’s website.  She has some great articles that I know you will love!

Hannah – A Passionate Hope

Are you looking for something to read this weekend?  I may have just the book for you!

I know I’ve shared with you before how reading fiction is out of the box for me.  I love reading non-fiction and I can probably count on one hand how many fiction books I have on my shelf right now.

As a teen someone gave me a book called “Two From Galilee” by Marjorie Holmes.  I was new to the Christian reading world. I fell in love with the story of Mary and Joseph after reading this book.  Of course, I always loved the story form God’s Word, but, this book helped me to see how life was for Mary and Joseph and how the world was operating at that time.  It put everything in  perspective for me.

When I discovered the author, Jill Eileen Smith, I thought that I may have found another Marjorie Holmes type book.  I was thrilled that she wrote specifically about the women of the Bible in her stories.  I’ve always had a fascination for the women of the Bible.  I love reading and learning how God used all types of women in so many different ways to make a difference in the world.

Once I began reading,  A Passionate Hope, I had a hard time putting it down.  If you are like me, you might struggle with things in the Bible days such as men who had multiple wives, slaves, animal sacrifices and the wickedness of men and women.  This is what I love about reading this type of book; it helps me understand the culture in those days and it also shows me the consequences of practices that God warned us about.

I don’t want to spoil the story line for you, so I’m not going to give you details of the book.  I’ll try to share enough to hopefully entice you to get the book and read it for yourself.  If you do, I would love to hear your take on it.

When I read, I try my best to focus in on the lesson, whether it be fiction or non-fiction.  I learn from everything I read.  So many lessons to learn from women who walked many years ago.  I guess we could even think of them as our mentors.

While reading, A Passionate Hope, one main thought kept screaming out at me.

“Stop thinking life will be better if only it were different than what it is now.”  Hannah wanted a child so desperately from the moment she married.  Her every moment was filled with wanting a child so badly that she would do anything to have a child of her own.  She probably missed out on a whole lot of life by being miserable, jealous, bitter and dissatisfied each day. That dissatisfaction spilled over to her husband.

How thankful I am for a forgiving God, who is right there waiting for me to get my act together.  Even when we don’t trust or our faith starts wavering; He is right there waiting to walk through whatever it is that has been set for us to walk through.  We are stronger and our faith is stronger.

As I was reading, I thought of my own life.  What is it that I’m always worried about, always fretting about and playing over and over in my mind?

Have you ever had this thought?

“Well, God must not love me like I thought, because He isn’t answering my prayer just like I want Him to.”

Doubting God is the first big thing that will put you on a path of dissatisfaction.  When we are disatstistfied, we become ungrateful and we can lose our joy.  Once we lose our joy, we become bitter.

Oh me, I don’t want to be a bitter old joyless woman!  Yikes!  I have a feeling you don’t either.

God has a plan for our life, just like He had a plan for Hannah.  Let’s don’t spend our days fretting about what isn’t perfect.  We have so many blessings around us.  It’s time to count those blessings instead of count what we wish were different and always being dissatisfied with where God wants us at this time.  We can’t afford to miss the grand plan….it could be something as grand as changing the world as we know it or change the direction of your life or someone in your family.

I could tell you some crazy stories of some places I’ve been in the past 58 years.  Even when I’ve gone through some things and didn’t understand why….I did my best to put all my trust and faith in my God.  He saw me through, even when I thought my heart was going to break right in two.  Instead, I chose to learn some serious lessons that only made me stronger.

We all have a choice.

We can either listen to the voice of the enemy and think we are worthless or we can listen to what God has to say about us and become a Mighty Woman of Faith!

Just like Hannah…..

It’s a Giveaway!!!!

For every comment, your name will go into a drawing for a copy of the book, A Passionate Hope-Hannah’s Story by Jill Eileen Smith.

If you haven’t subscribed to my blog and you do so today, your name will go in a second time and you will double your chances of winning a copy of, A Passionate Hope-Hannah’s Story.  You may already be a subscriber and if you are, let me know and I’ll put your name in the drawing as well.

 

Coloring Through The Bible with Debbie Hannah Skinner

Debbie Hannah Skinner has published a coloring book called “Fear Fighting Scriptures.” This book has 31 coloring pages with 31 verses to meditate on as you color.

If you have read my last few blog posts, you know that I’m giving a copy of Debbie’s coloring book away.  All you have to do is leave a comment and I will then enter your name into a drawing.  I will be drawing the name on Friday, September 22, 2017. (so, if you want to enter, leave a comment today) If this is your first time visiting my blog, welcome and enjoy your visit!

If you don’t win your own personal copy of Fear Fighting Scriptures and are wanting to purchase one, click here to learn more.

I met Debbie in 2004 when I attended my very first writer’s conference in Oklahoma.  I was new to the idea of writing and I was between being very excited to learn what all I needed to know to begin writing and also very nervous as I was in the midst of some seasoned writers.  I remember Debbie as being very kind and friendly.  Many years later, I came across her name as being a painter who speaks to ladies groups.  I was so intrigued as she would paint as she spoke.  I knew that we had to have her at our church to speak to our ladies.  What a blessing it was to be around her for a couple of days and see her in action as she shared her story during a women’s conference and yes, she painted a picture and then gave it away to one of the attendees of the conference.

 

I do not have one bit of artistic talent in me.  I have a brother who paints amazing pictures and I also have a couple of sweet friends who paint.  I’m amazed at how someone can draw and paint pictures that you could actually frame and hang somewhere for people to look at.  My stick figures don’t even resemble a stick figure.  I guess I will be satisfied to admire my painting friends work instead.

I hope you will visit Debbie’s site and learn more about her.  She loves Jesus and spends her time sharing about what a difference He has made in her life.  Her sweet spirit will draw you in to learn more.

Debbie Hannah Skinner created these coloring pages for adults to help you find less stress in life and more rest in God’s Word.  An artist, Bible teacher, and author,  she helps people engage their hands in art to help focus their heart on God.  She’s a Southern girl living on the high plains of West Texas.  Learn more about Debbie’s ministry through words and painting at WisdominWatercolor.com

Always Room for A Children’s Book!

The earliest I remember of being interested in reading, was when I was in first grade.  I loved going to reading time and putting my little wooden chair in the reading circle.  There would be several groups and each group was labeled a different color to coordinate with the reader and your reading level.   The books that I learned to read from were the famous Dick and Jane books.  I LOVED looking at the pictures more than anything.  I would study how they dressed and all the fun they were having.  Cooking, working in the yard, driving to the grocery and getting ready for bedtime are the ones that stand out in my mind the most. I would dream that those pictures were of me and my family.

This book was given to me by a dear friend who knew that I had fond memories of my readers in 1st grade.  She had a collection of these and surprised me with one.

In my later elementary years, Library Day was my favorite day.  I loved going through all the books and studying the titles and then choosing my books.  The first thing I always wanted to know was what the limit of books to check out were.

I’ll always remember that time of year when we would get a catalog of books that we could actually order from and have as our very own.  I would go through and mark all the books I wanted.  It always ended up that I could only order one book, if any.  Money was extremely tight at our house.  My first book that I ordered was a reader about Abraham Lincoln.  I can still see the cover of that book in my mind.

I had the honor to homeschool our children and books were a huge part of our schooling.  Our son and daughter loved to read and were always reading something interesting.  They both were excellent readers and they both love reading today, as adults.

While my husband served in full-time ministry, money for books was a huge luxury.  I would go to bookstores with him and drool over all the books I wished that I could purchase and read.  But, we were only able to get him the needed books that he had to have.  Commentaries, study books, Bibles, etc. were very expensive for our little family that was in the throws of ministry life.  I always said that if we were ever in a position of having a staff while serving as pastor, I would request that the wife of the staff member would get a book allowance for sure, alongside her husband. *If you are reading this and you are in a position at your church to make a decision such as that, I would highly recommend it.

All that brings me to my main reason for writing today.  Children’s Books!!!!  I love books for kids.  I began collecting them many years ago.  I’ve given many away and of course, we encourage our grandkiddos to read them.  My favorite thing to listen to is, my Jim reading a book to one of the little ones before bedtime.

We had many Little Golden Books when my kids were young and they were always a part of bedtime stories.  But, I think their favorite was when Jim made up stories instead of reading.

Today, I visited a bookstore looking for a certain decorating magazine.  I found myself in the children’s section and of course bought four books for the “kids.”  I always have to read them first and they are just as exciting to me as when I was little.

This is my “book haul” from today, as they say…..

I hope children’s books are a big part of your life and that your children and grandchildren will fall in love with reading because you made it easy for them to have access to books.

I am picky about the books I choose.  They must always have a good message.  There is enough negativity in the world that will find its way into your child’s mind. The books we choose for them should always be full of knowledge and good things!

My sweet elderly friend and mentor, Iris, wrote a little story that would be perfect for a board book.  I’m doing my best to help her with it.  Pray that it will work out.  I’ve always thought about the idea of writing a children’s book.  Maybe this will let me know if it is for me or not.

What are some of your favorite books that you remember as a child?

Our cutie pie grandkiddos are in the middle of a reading challenge for the summer.  I’m speechless when they tell me how many books they have already read.  Isn’t that fun!  I’m so proud of them!

I love the program that Dolly Parton has concerning children’s books.  Read about it here.  When I was a child, I would have LOVED to be on the receiving end of this amazing gift.

Happy reading!

Movie Review – The Champion

 

I love a good movie, don’t you?  I especially love watching a good faith based movie.  I was so excited to get to preview the new movie, The Champion.  This movie will be in theaters on May 19, 2017.  I do hope you go see it.  I do my best to get to the theaters when a faith based movie comes out; number one, to support it and number two, because I hope to be inspired and encouraged in my walk with Christ.   How refreshing it is to be able to watch a movie without bad language that makes you cringe and scenes that you wonder…”why?”

My husband and I sat down to watch, The Champion and we were impressed with the acting and the actual filming of the movie.  We both agreed that it was good quality and nothing to be ashamed about!  That is usually the complaint you hear the most about some faith based movies.

Our son is an animator in the movie world and has worked on some major movies.  We are used to watching movies with him and then discussing things other than the plot of the movie; we discuss acting, lighting, camera work and how you feel after seeing the movie.  I’m  thinking we watch movies a little bit different than some people do.

You might enjoy this link to a page that will show who the actors are and their bios.  That is always fun to see.  I love reading about the actors that share their talents in a movie that has a gospel message.

I do hope you will go to the theater on May 19th and watch, The Champion.  Click here to see if it is showing in your area.

 

Here is a synopsis of the move:

In the supercharged world of dirt track racing, a single mistake causes the lives of two men to change forever. One must fight for his family, the other must fight to forgive.

Dirt track racer Sean Weathers was at the top of his game…an unstoppable career, scores of fans, and an adoring daughter. When a rivalry with another racer turns personal, the ego that propelled him to success causes a tragedy, sending his life into a tailspin.

Jack Reed was attempting to make up for past mistakes. He had prospered as a businessman but failed as a family man. In a sudden turn of events, his chances for reconciliation are ripped from his grasp.

Sean and Jack’s lives collide, and an unexpected bond forms between them. Working through a painful journey of healing together, they each learn about second chances and the true freedom only forgiveness can offer.”

My favorite theme of the movie was that of forgiveness, redemption and the love of a father.  I am super sensitive when it comes to showing father/child relationships.  If you are too, you might want to have your tissues close by.  Then of course when it comes down to realizing the love of a Heavenly Father, I not only have tears but chill bumps as I thank the Lord for saving me as a teenager.  Click here to see part of my story of when I realized I needed and wanted a Savior.

I do hope you will go see, The Champion on May 19th.

Do you have some favorites in the faith based movie world?

I’ll be anxious to hear what you think of, The Champion.

Feisty and Feminine – A Book Review

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I just finished reading a great book called, Feisty and Feminine by Penny Young Nance.  Penny is the President of Concerned Women for America which was founded by one of my heroes, Beverly LaHaye!

I had read about this book being published and put it on my list of books to buy as soon as it was available for purchase.  A sweet friend gave me a copy and I read it in about three sittings.  Feisty and Feminine was a hard book to put down.

If you are a conservative woman and you are concerned about the direction that our country is going, this book is for you!

Penny Nance covers several important issues in easy to understand detail.  Issues such as:

The Devaluation of Women

Sexual Assault and Politics

Marriage and True Tolerance

Abortion and the Sanctity of Life

The Real War Against Women

The Rise of Islamic Extremism and the Need to Fight Back

Beyond Our Borders: Why Israel Matters to Christians

You will want to save this book and use as a refresher and a reference when things come up that you may not understand and need clarification on what is going on.  I will for sure keep my copy handy.  It’s hard sometimes to stay on top of the many issues going on in our world.  When you listen to the media and the so many people who have a different point of view, you can lose your focus and forget the practicality of the issue at hand.

I love how she refers to women as, Esther Women.  If you know the story of Queen Esther, you know that she saved a nation by being concerned about the destroying of her people and then taking action and doing something about it.  It was serious to her just as we are serious about our country.

Beverly LaHaye has always taught that in a woman’s life are seasons and we can’t do everything at once.  I love the way Penny takes an entire chapter and explains how important it is to not judge others for what they are doing or, what they are not doing.  We don’t know what season of life other’s are in.  We do know what season of life we are in and what we are capable of doing. What is important to know is; Are we doing what we are called to do?

After reading this book, you may find the one issue that you want to be vocal about.  Being vocal can mean one thing to you and something different for someone else.  It may be getting involved in a prayer group, writing letters to your congressmen, getting involved in politics, making aware issues that concern you to your friends and family. We are the only ones that know what we can do at this moment in time.  We all can be informed and gain more knowledge on issues. That is why you might need to read this book!

I do hope you read, Feisty and Feminine and then ask God what He wants you to gain from it and if there is something He wants you to do about it.  Peggy also has a study guide that you can download from her site.  Click here if you would like to download the study guide.

I love this quote Penny shared by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who called on the church to stand against the Nazis.  “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak.  Not to act is to act.”

What is it that concerns you the most in our country?

Is there something you can do to make your voice heard and to make a difference?

 

 

 

 

Sold Out; Live For Jesus! (Author Blog Tour)


SOLD OUT Cover2

 

I met Carla Mcdougal several years ago at a writer’s conference in Dallas.  What a joy it has been to see all the amazing things she has done since that time.  This is her third book and she leads an amazing ministry that is making a difference in women’s lives all across the country.  I am thankful to have met her those years ago and now call her my friend!  Enjoy the interview with Carla!

 

 

Reading through the Table of Contents for Carla McDougal’s 3rd book, SOLD OUT – Live for Jesus, it becomes quickly apparent that she has a very close relationship with her Savior. Titles such as God Appoints: His Kingdom Puzzle, Forgiveness: Fresh Start, and The Word: Spiritual Nourishment entice the reader to hear what she has to say on the subjects. The chapters are short, but the content is mighty.

When she was 40, she heard the phrase, “Life is not about me, but all about Him.” She took this to heart, and it became the focus for her life and ministry. The concept for SOLD OUT came to her from reading Philippians 1:21 – To live is Christ, to die is gain. Putting the two “ah ha” moments together, she realized if her thoughts and actions reflected them, she would be living sold out for Jesus. Consequently, the theme for this book was born.

When asked what her favorite entry might be from SOLD OUT, Carla had this to say: “PRAY 911 pops into my mind. Shortly before I was scheduled to speak at a women’s retreat, I felt a heavy oppression. I know it was a spiritual attack from the enemy, and I was even doubting my reason for being there. That morning while sitting in my prayer chair, I opened my Bible to Psalm 91. The first verse seemed to jump off the page. He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Peace washed over me, and God’s Word strengthened me for the event that evening. The next day I shared this experience with a close friend who said, ‘Next time, text me to pray for you!’ Later in the day I went back to Psalm 91:1 and this is what I saw—­ 911. My heart started pounding with excitement and I decided from then on, when oppression comes my way, I will text PRAY 911 to my prayer team. Sometimes there isn’t time to do anything more. But they don’t need to know why I need prayer, they just need to know to pray. I jumped up and started praising God. A smile emerges when I think of how God used this real life situation to teach me a spiritual life lesson.”

After her second book, My Prayer Chair was published and winning awards in 2013, people started requesting help in using it as a Bible study. They wanted to discuss the book with others who were reading it, but needed some structure to their discussions. A free leader’s guide was created and made available through www.reflectivelifeministries.org. Carla is creating a similar guide for SOLD OUT, available in January 2016. But the book is a wonderful devotional tool all by itself, with each section containing scriptures, personal anecdotes, a life challenge and a place to journal your thoughts.

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Beverly:  Where did you get the idea for your new book, SOLD OUT Live for Jesus?

Carla McDougal:  In October of 2014, Philippians 1:21 lingered in my heart, “To live is Christ, to die is gain.” I couldn’t get it off my mind. Over and over I asked God, “What does it mean to live is Christ, to die is gain?” In the stillness, I heard, “Live sold out to Me. Let every action, thought, and conversation reflect an attitude that says, “I’m sold out to Jesus.” Suddenly, the cover of the book popped into my head. A woman with a sign covering her face that reads, “SOLD OUT Live for Jesus.” A message embedded deeper still, “It’s not about me, but all about Jesus.” Without a doubt, God embedded in my heart, “This is your new writing project!” I praise God for the unique ways He works, for it’s all about Him.

Beverly:  What is the purpose behind the name of your book––SOLD OUT Live for Jesus?

Carla McDougal:  God desires for us to live each day with purpose. From the moment we wake up, God waits for us to connect with Him. His voice calls, but do we listen? SOLD OUT encourages readers to find purpose in life by drawing nearer to Jesus in real and practical ways. The heartfelt messages and analogies bring laughter, tears and   understanding to God’s Word. Be inspired to live in victory and sold out to Jesus through your thoughts, words, and actions. SOLD OUT not only nourishes the soul but also ignites a purpose for living!

Beverly:  What inspired you to write SOLD OUT Live for Jesus?

Carla McDougal:At age 40, I heard a phrase that rocked my world. Changed my perspective. Moved me to tears. These nine words opened my eyes to view God’s  purpose for me in a whole new way… “Life is not about me, but all about Him.” Under  the umbrella of God’s Word, my focus changed from what I can do for Jesus to surrendering it all to Him. Over the past 12 years, God has used this statement to shape and mold my writing. The front cover of SOLD OUT is symbolic of what I want my life to be. Just like the sign covers the woman’s face, I desire for others to see Jesus working  in my life. SOLD OUT focuses on living out God’s Truths in every conversation, action,       and thought.

Beverly:  Is SOLD OUT Live for Jesus a devotional or an individual read? Can it be used as a Bible study for groups or individuals?

Carla McDougal:SOLD OUT Live for Jesus is unique because it serves as a devotional and Bible study in one. This format caters to those craving to dive deep into God’s Word and is just right for those without much time on their hands. SOLD OUT is designed both for group studies as well as an individual read. Either way, the reader will be molded to look more like Jesus by the end of the book. I am in the process of writing the SOLD OUT Leader’s Guide, which will aide the leader in facilitating an in-depth group study. The guide scheduled to release January 2016 as a free PDF download from the Reflective Life Ministries website which is www.reflectivelifeministries.org.

Beverly:  Share with us your favorite entry from SOLD OUT Live for Jesus.

Carla McDougal:Wow, this is a tough question. But, the entry PRAY 911,  from Chapter 1, pops into my mind. In the midst of an oppressive time, or should I say a spiritual attack from the enemy, I was scheduled to speak at a women’s retreat. The oppression was so heavy and burdensome. Doubt plagued my mind. The morning of the event, I was sitting in my prayer chair and opened my Bible to Psalm 91. The first verse seemed to jump off the page, He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the  shadow of the Almighty. Peace washed over me. God’s Word strengthened me for the             event that evening. The next day I shared my experience with a close friend who said,  “Next time text me to pray for you.” Her words continued to linger in my heart and  mind. Later in the day, I read Psalm 91:1 again, and this is what I saw––911. My heart pounded with excitement! Immediately, I decided when oppression comes my way I will text PRAY 911 to my prayer team. I jumped up and started praising God. A smile emerges when I think of how God used this real life situation to teach me His spiritual life lesson.

Beverly:  Besides SOLD OUT Live for Jesus, have you written any other books?

 Carla McDougal:  SOLD OUT is my 3rd book. The 1st book I wrote is a 10-week Bible study called Reflecting Him. Like Jesus’ parables, Reflecting Him uses familiar objects to   identify the connection between our physical and spiritual lives. God wants to be part of    everything we do, and this study is designed to help you become aware of His life lessons twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. My 2nd book is called My Prayer Chair, which focuses on encouraging the reader to engage in ongoing conversations with God – 24/7. My grandmamma is the inspiration behind My Prayer Chair. Her love, trust, and ongoing communication with Jesus played an important role in molding my prayer       life. My Prayer Chair won multiple awards in 2013 and is now available in Spanish and   as an audiobook through Audible, ITunes, and the RLM website,  www.reflectivelifeministries.org/shop. All of my books are available through Amazon,   Barnes & Noble, Lifeway, and other online bookstores.

 Beverly:  Just for fun… How do you deal with writer’s block?

 Carla McDougal:  Prayer. Waiting. Listening. For me, prayer is the key to writer’s block.         Communicating with God opens the door to the waiting room. In the stillness, I listen and anticipate His voice behind me saying, Whether you turn to the right or the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way, walk in it.” Isaiah 30:20

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Thank you, Carla!  I’m excited to read your latest book!

 

The Declare Conference – Day 3 (last day)

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What an amazing time I’ve had. So much inspiration! We all need a time to get away from the everyday and focus on who God is and do a check up on our lives to make sure we are walking as close to Him as possible. Being around positive and uplifting people is one of the best things ever in this crazy world. The Declare Conference leaders are an incredible example of women who love the Lord with all their hearts and want to see others in that beautiful place, too! I encourage you to visit their blogs:

Eryn

Heather

Kristen

Michelle Acker

Our keynote speaker for our last day was, Carri Trotter. If you want to be around someone who is excited about God and passionate about His Word and loves life, you will want to get to know Carrie. She challenged us to aim our arrow at our goal and to go for it. Don’t talk about it, don’t think about it…..just GO! Yes, that was for me!

For our morning session, Kristen Kill, a blogger from New York City, spoke on using your blog to build relationships through monetizing and writing sponsor posts. I love her sweet spirit.

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Each day during our lunch break, we would listen to a speaker share about their ministry.  On this last day, Ashley Linne, shared on a topic from her book, Inseparable. She also gave us each a copy of her book. Now that was sweet!

Next on the agenda, we met with our Mastermind Group. Our assignment was to go to each of our blogs and critique and share possible ways to make it better. The ladies in my group were very wise. I was impressed with the knowledge they all shared with each other. I decided that Mastermind Groups are a good thing!

Our afternoon workshop was with Denise J. Hughes. Her topic was, Ten Steps to Take Your Writing to the Next Level. Denise is a professor at a college in California. I wish you could have been there.  Trust me, it was excellent.

Chrystal Evans Hurst closed the conference out with the subject of, Interruptions! Another great message to ponder on! I’m telling you, you should have been there.

Now to put in practice all the challenges we heard this past week. My head is spinning, but anxious to sharpen my arrow!

Hopefully, I will see you in 2016. Check the Declare site if you are interested in attending!