RENEWING YOUR MIND

POWER UP WITH GOD

Romans 12: 2

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.

I wrote the second part of this post in August but it’s even more true for me today–more than a month later. September was a busy–busy month for me. I had a new book release (GAME ON) and along with that more than 30 guest visits on other people’s blogs and…my husband’s birthday, our 15th anniversary, two camping trips and a week-long visit with my brother and sisters from out of state and two chemotherapy treatments.

Yes, I’m back on chemotherapy in hopes that it will restore my hearing to what it was in May before I started having “episodes” with my hearing once again. It’s been more than four…

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Book Review: When Love Arrives

TITLE:  when-love-arrivesWhen Love Arrives (Misty Willow #2)

AUTHOR:  Johnnie Alexander

DATE:  2016

PUBLISHER: Revell

STARS:  ***1/2

Dani Prescott came to the children’s hospital to spy on Brett Somers, so how did she end up on a date with him? Weeks earlier she’d seen an interview in which he blamed her mother for the plane crash that had killed his parents. But the crash had killed her mother as well, so Dani can’t believe the story Brett’s trying to sell to the media.

Vowing to find a way to discredit the privileged and maddeningly handsome Brett, Dani has been following him and taking photos, hoping to find something she can use against him. But when she catches his eye instead, she quickly finds herself offering up a fake name and agreeing to a date. Brett knows this mystery girl is hiding something–but he’s got his own secrets to keep. What will happen when he discovers who she really is? Will Dani and Brett look beyond their own heartaches to discover a love that could heal their deepest pain?

After reading the first book of the Misty Willow series, Where She Belongs, I jumped at the chance to read and review When Love Arrives. When the padded envelope from Revell showed up, I eagerly opened it. Huh. Not the cover I would have chosen, but hey, I wasn’t about to judge a book by its cover. Not when I’d been waiting to read this story.

As in the first story, Johnnie Alexander’s writing sang, with witty, realistic dialogue and picturesque descriptions. However, the hero seemed awfully unheroic for much of the book. I understand that his character arc included a drastic change, but his lingering womanizing ways were a disappointment. And Dani’s desire for revenge melted awfully quickly under Brett’s mesmerizing gaze.

In spite of these perceived problems, I enjoyed When Love Arrives, and if given the change, would love to read Book 3 of this series. I award When Love Arrives three and a half stars. I was given a copy of the book by the publisher in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.

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Book Review: A Million Little Ways

Book Review: A Million Little Ways.

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Book Review: A Million Little Ways

a million little ways

TITLE:  A Million Little Ways

AUTHOR:  Emily P. Freeman

DATE:  2013

PUBLISHER:  Revell

STARS:  *****

The majority of us would not necessarily define ourselves as artists. We’re parents, students, businesspeople, friends. We’re working hard, trying to make ends meet, and often longing for a little more–more time, more love, more security, more of a sense that there is more out there. The truth? We need not look around so much. God is within us and He wants to shine through us in a million little ways.

A Million Little Ways uncovers the creative, personal imprint of God on every individual. It invites the discouraged parent, the bored Christian, the exhausted executive to look at their lives differently by approaching their critics, their jobs, and the kids around their table the same way an artist approaches the canvas–with wonder, bravery, and hope. In her gentle, compelling style, Emily Freeman encourages readers to turn down the volume on their inner critic and move into the world with the courage to be who they most deeply are. She invites regular people to see the artistic potential in words, gestures, attitudes, and relationships.

Readers will discover the art in a quiet word, a hot dinner, a made bed, a grace-filled glance, and a million other ways of showing God to the world through the simple human acts of listening, waiting, creating, and showing up.

After nearly a year, I finished reading this book today. A year! The reason? This is a book to savor, to taste a little at a time, and let it roll around on your tongue and in your mind, to draw out every bit of deliciousness.

A Million Little Ways spoke truth to my soul in a way few books have. This birthday gift from my sister is a treasure I will read again and again. Highly recommended, A Million Little Ways earns five stars.

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Face-Off with JoAnn Durgin!!

Face-Off with JoAnn Durgin!!.

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Why, God?

Why, God?.

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Why, God?

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Have you heard the news?

Do you watch it on TV, or check it on your laptop or smart phone? How do you react to the barrage of terrible happenings? Riots in Baltimore, earthquakes in Nepal and other places, volcanoes erupting, atrocities committed by extremists.

What are we supposed to do with so much horror?

And then we open Facebook or email and discover another loved one has been diagnosed with cancer. Or someone we prayed for got worse instead of better. A marriage collapses. Children are abducted.

I don’t know how you handle it, but I tend to crumble. My faith in the goodness and justice of God falters. I don’t like to admit it, but it’s true.

The more people I connect with, the more bad news I hear. And my prayers become a silent scream. “Why, God? Why?”

Several years ago, I scribbled this poem through tears when we found out that my seven-year-old niece’s brain tumor had returned. I learned something through the writing; it seemed that God himself spoke to my heart through this poem. And this week I needed the reminder.

If you are struggling to endure yet another blow, perhaps these thoughts will touch your heart, too.

TOUCHING GOD

Pain constricts my heart, its pressure bows my back.

Grief and anger fog my mind, my arms hang limp and slack.

Life takes too much effort.

In sorrow I cry out, “God, oh God, why don’t You care?”

as faith succumbs to doubt.

 In anger I assault Him with all my grief and fears.

My flailing fingers touch His face—and feel His loving tears.

 Our faithful heavenly Father is never far away.

When trials make us feel alone, He longs to hear us pray.

For prayer is our connection, a channel for His grace.

He touches us with love and peace whene’er we touch His face.

 The struggles will continue; they’ll pummel, press and prod.

But His grace becomes sufficient when I touch the face of God.

There are so many things I don’t and cannot understand this side of eternity. But until then, my lifeline is this:

You are good (oh Lord), and what you do is good. (Psalm 119:68)

When the “whys” overwhelm, I need to refocus on the “who”: God Most High, who is good, faithful and true.

“Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” Amen.

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Who Is Nila Black?

To celebrate the release of my second novel Nila’s Hope, I would like to introduce you to the heroine of the story. If you’ve read Melody’s Song (my first book), you’ve already met this remarkable young woman. Nila comes from a background of neglect and abuse, and her mistreatment dulled her self-value so much, she submitted to an abusive live-in arrangement.

But let’s let Melody’s story tell of their first encounter:

On the only occupied bed in the four-bed ward lay what appeared to be a broken doll. She was on the bony side of slender, and her face was a pale background for the dark bruises that stained her eyes, cheeks and mouth. Her long, dark hair was coming loose from its confining braids. She had stitches on one cheek, and her left arm was in a cast. Her eyes were so swollen Melody couldn’t tell if she was awake or asleep. Above the neckline of the hospital gown more bruises colored the girl’s collarbone.

Melody’s stomach clenched. How could anyone do this? God, help me help her.

“Hello? Nila?” she called softly, not wanting to scare or waken the girl.

One bruised eye opened slightly. “Who are you? What do you want?”

“We’re your neighbors, Nila. I’m Melody; I moved into the yellow house down the street from you a few weeks ago. And this is Bobbie. She lives next door to me. We’re concerned about you and want to know if there is anything we can do for you.”

“Just take your concern and leave me alone. There’s nothing anyone can do.” Her eye closed again she turned her face away.

Melody felt tears fill her eyes at the hopelessness in that weak voice. “That’s not true. We can help you.”

She was surprised at the smoothness of her voice—not a waver to betray her nerves. “May I sit beside you? I promise I won’t hurt you.”

Nila’s slight one-shouldered shrug gave permission, and Melody moved to the chair beside the bed. She glanced over at Bobbie, who was still standing just inside the doorway.

“Nila, I know you’re in a lot of pain, so we won’t stay long. But I do want to help you. Is there anything at all I could do for you? Perhaps bring you something to read? I notice you don’t have a television in here. Would you like one? Or something special to eat?”

“Eyes hurt too much, and I can’t eat much yet—mouth’s too sore.” The words came with their own pain, causing a spasm in the young, battered face.

“What if I read to you? Would you like that?” Melody stroked the slender fingers protruding from the stark, white cast.

“If you want. One of my foster moms used to read to me when I was a kid.” Nila turned to look at Melody. “But why would you? I’m nothing to you.”

Melody smiled through unshed tears. “Oh no, that’s not true, Nila. You are very special. God loves you so much he pushed me to come to you even though I was afraid. He cares, and now that I’ve met you, I care too. I think I should read you my favorite psalm. It gives you a clear picture of just how much God cares for you.”

Melody pulled her small Bible out of her purse and quickly found the page.

“Here it is, Psalm 139:

O Lord, you have searched me, and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord.
You hem me in–behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depth, you are there…”

The girl’s eyes were closed when Melody looked up, but she looked much more peaceful then when she’d arrived.

“Nila?”

No response.

That’s who Nila was. But that’s not who she is.

I hope you’ll enjoy both Melody’s Song and Nila’s Hope, available through all online booksellers, the publishers, and I have copies on hand.
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Now it’s your turn. Have you ever dealt with an abusive situation? What did you do?

Please leave a comment below or email me at kathleenefriesen@gmail.com.

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What? Me, Worry?

Give all your worries and cares to God, because he cares about you. (1 Peter 5:7 NLT)

Worry. We know we shouldn’t, and we know it can damage our health as well as our outlook on life. If you need confirmation on that, check out these websites (http://www.christianpost.com/news/are-you-a-worry-wart-52589/; http://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/how-worrying-affects-your-body) or just Google “effects of worry.”

I have been known to worry. My family is now laughing at this understatement. In fact, my sweet husband often tells me, when I’m in the middle of a state of anxiety, that at least I’ve found what I do well and am doing it with all my heart. Ouch.

I know I’m sensitive. I feel things most do not notice, but too often I allow those feelings to wear me down and erode my faith. It’s as though a pebble of worry gets into a groove of my life.

That’s why these photos, shot at Bailey’s Chute in Wells Gray Park in British Columbia, speak so clearly to me. On our visit there, my husband and I learned that these ciSONY DSCrcular holes in the rock are made by a tiny pebble washed up by the rushing water. The pebble finds an indentation, and the action of the water rolls it around and around, eroding solid rock and creating a deep hole. Unless someone or something plucks out the stone (and it’s much too dangerous here), the hole continues to grow. After a while, that massive rock looks like Swiss cheese, and its strength is destroyed.

You know where I’m going with thi????????s, don’t you? Jesus is the only one who can pluck that pebble of worry out of my life, but I have to allow him access to it.

What is the antidote to worry? Faith, of course. We are told to “take up the shield of faith (Ephesians 6:16), and it will protect us from those abrasive, destructive pebbles.

As Corrie Ten Boom so eloquently said, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.”

Father God, take away all my pebbles of worry, so that I can live in your strength. Amen.

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How Can I Know God? (Part 2 – Relationship)

How Can I Know God? (Part 2 – Relationship).

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