Monday, October 24, 2016

Praying For Our Kids—The Power Rests in God, Not Our Words by Edie Melson

My guest author today, Edie Melson, is doing a giveaway for an autographed paper copy of her book While My Child is Away. To enter this giveaway draw, please leave a blog comment below about a prayer you prayed for your children that God answered, including the spelling out of your email address. I will draw the winning name on Sunday Oct. 30.  

Praying For Our Kids—The Power Rests in God, Not Our Words by Edie Melson

In spite of the fact that I now write books of prayers, praying didn’t always come easy to me. Early on my lack of prayer power didn’t bother me. It wasn’t until I began having children that the urgency hit. Then my prayer life became vitally important. I wanted to be the type of mom who prayed powerful prayers that protected her children no matter what happened.

I worried that my prayers weren’t good enough. Maybe I hadn’t spent enough time on thanksgiving or confession. Or perhaps I was saying things in the wrong order. Truthfully I was looking for a formula that would infuse my prayers with power enough to get God’s undivided attention on my child’s behalf.

Turns out that what I believed about my role in prayer was all backwards.

I was looking for power in my words, instead of focusing on the power of God. And I was forgetting that each of us has God’s undivided attention—always. He loves each of us, and more importantly to me, He loves each of my children even more than I do.

Even when I discovered the mistake in my thinking about prayer, I still wasn’t quite sure how to frame my prayers. Then I revisited one of my favorite passages in the Bible. So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11. That was what I needed to redirect my prayer life and get me on the right track.

Here are the 3 steps I used to refocus my prayers:
·         I began praying specific verses for my children. I’d choose a verse or two and insert my son’s name in place of any pronouns.

·         I started a prayer journal. For me, it was too easy to get lost in prayer. Once I started writing them out, I could remain focused.

·         I recorded how God spoke and how He moved. Often as I was praying, I would feel like God was directing my prayers and/or adding to them. By writing these down, I could go back later and see how He had worked. I also went back later and added in how God answered these prayers.

These three simple steps revitalized my prayer life. By taking the focus off of me and putting it back on God, the peace returned. With that peace, my faith also took wings and began to grow.

Prayer is non-negotiable in the list of things we do for our children. But the power behind those prayers isn’t our responsibility. Our part is obedience, the rest is up to God, and He is more than able for the job.


Find your voice, live your story…is the foundation of Edie Melson’s message, no matter if she’s addressing parents, military families or writers. As an author, blogger, and speaker she’s encouraged and challenged audiences across the country and around the world. Connect with her on her blog, Twitter and Facebook.

Purchase Links to the Book:

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Wisdom from my Guest Author Elaine Stock "My T-shirts"

My returning guest this week is a dear writing friend, Elaine Stock. Elaine is offering a Kindle ebook Giveaway of her debut novel Always With You which I highly recommend. I gave it 5 stars. Leave a blog comment below (about this post or the author) and I'll draw the winning name on Oct. 23.  Just in case you have already read Always With You: Elaine is offering the Kindle copy of Christmas Treasures, an anthology (her Christmas Story featured among other authors) that is currently #3 on Amazon. Winner can choose 1 of either books.

And now "My T-shirts" by Guest Author Elaine Stock

If I could get away with it, I’d live in T-shirts and loose fitting jeans or khakis daily. Like many other vacation travelers I love my souvenirs to remind me of the places I’ve been and enjoyed. Specifically, I adore my tourist tees. You know, the ones with the city or quaint town’s name emblazoned across the shirt, often with a cute logo or picture. I’m wearing one right now—an old green one from the time my husband and I drove to Nova Scotia. Too long ago, now, the design has faded and I didn’t take a photo like the ones I’m sharing below.

Here’s one from my recent work-vacation to the ACFW conference in Nashville.
I love attending writing conferences—they’re my version of Disney Land! This T-shirt is a touristy one; not conference related.

This T is from my trip to Michigan last year when I attended the Maranatha
Writer’s Conference. Like my Nashville shirt, this one isn’t a conference tee, but does reflect the conference site.

Years ago, when I attended a New Jersey chapter RWA, I did manage to snag a true writer’s tee about putting your heart into a book. 

Well, that’s all in the name of fun … and wishing I played tourist a lot more than I do! I’ve been thinking lately what kind of T-shirts I might or should wear in the future. When I hear people jokingly gripe about their ages: “Hey, I woke up today—guess I can’t complain” I usually counter with “You’re supposed to say ‘I don’t get older but just better.’” Here’s the thing: I am getting older. We’re all getting older. I know. This is not news. More than less these days I wake up to a world flinging craziness and frightening ideologies, tempting me to imagine what it would be like to hide under the covers the rest of my life. Here’s a T-shirt I wonder if I should be wearing:

Better yet, here’s the T-shirt I think I’ll choose for the rest of my days:

It’s blank! So God can write and illustrate it exactly how He chooses, not how I wish. I can’t go wrong!

Elaine Stock is the author of Always With You, which released in January 2016 and has made the Kindle bestseller list. 

Elaine's novels fuse family drama and psychological suspense. She is a
member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Women’s Fiction Writers Association, and contributes to the international “Happy Sis Magazine.” In addition to Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads, she hangs out on her active blog, Everyone’s Story, dedicated to uplifting and encouraging all readers through the power of story and hope.

Purchase Links for Always With You:

Barnes & Noble:

Links to find Elaine Stock
Website/blog: Everyone's Story

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Man of the House by Guest Author Linda Sammaritan

In 1967, the U.S. Air Force lost a horrific number of fighter pilots in Vietnam. On the home front, their wives learned to balance the checkbook, take care of the property inside and out, make dozens of solo executive decisions every week, all the while maintaining a calm exterior to the rest of the world.

This "Slice of Life" piece is for all the military moms who valiantly coped with ten thousand stresses during war

Man of the House by Linda Sammaritan

Dad placed his hands on my brother’s shoulders and looked him straight in the eye. “You’re the man of the house, now.”

And then he shipped out for Vietnam.  

I didn’t mind that Dad had bestowed this singular honor upon Doug. Really I didn’t. As the oldest, and a girl, the title of “man of the house” didn’t fit me. Besides, Dad had made it clear, all four of us were expected to help Mom, even Tricia who was only two.

Problem was, ten-year-old Doug took Dad’s words literally.

Mom said he was adorable, taking his job so seriously. He sat in Dad’s place at the dinner table. He decided when the lawn should be mowed and insisted that Mom take him to the filling station to top off the five-gallon gas can. Now. And she would.

When a boy dropped by the house to hang out with me, Doug didn’t allow me out of his sight. If we watched television in the den, Doug watched with us. If we went for a walk, he followed us down the block. After a couple of months, I was sick of him.

Steve was mad, too. Instead of the normal big brother banter, Doug ordered him around like a general with the troops. “Rake the leaves along the driveway.” “Make sure you’re home before six.” Sheesh.

Mom stopped thinking it was cute when he tried his parenting skills on Tricia. Grandma and I were clearing plates from the table after dinner while Mom scooped ice cream at the kitchen counter.

Tricia, who had been diagnosed as profoundly deaf, was trying to communicate something to us. We couldn’t understand what she wanted. In frustration, she threw her hands into the air – and clipped her glass of milk on the upswing.

Doug slammed his fist on the table. “Tricia!”

Like she could hear him.

She did feel the vibration through the table, though, and she could see the ugly expression on his face. Her own face registered shock as she realized his anger was aimed at her.

“Bad girl. Look at this mess.” Doug pointed to the puddle of milk and the soggy paper napkins that hadn’t kept up with the flood. “Go to your room.”

He started to lift Tricia from her chair when Mom intervened shaking the ice cream scoop in his face. “Douglas James Geib, what do you think you’re doing?”

“She got mad, and she spilled her milk.”

“Yes, she did.  But I asked what you were doing.”

“I’m---” He stopped and looked from Mom to Tricia. With a puzzled expression, he settled Tricia back in her chair and returned to his seat.

Mom set the dripping scoop on one of the remaining dirty plates. Her voice gentled. “You’re trying to be the daddy, Doug. And you’re not. And that’s okay.”

“But Dad’s not here.”

“No, he’s not. But you don’t have to do his job.”

Doug frowned and opened his mouth to object.

Mom spoke first. “I appreciate all the man’s work you do. You help out whenever I ask. You and Steve and Linda. I can’t think what I’d do without all three of you helping around here.

“But only your dad can be Tricia’s daddy. Nobody else. And you’re Steve’s big brother, not his father. You’re Linda’s little brother, not her appointed guardian.” She walked around the table to where he sat. Placing a hand on Doug’s head, she ruffled his hair. “I have no complaints on your brother skills. Keep being a good brother. You don’t have to be a father.”

Doug looked down at his plate. His lip quivered. “May I be excused?”

“Certainly.” She squeezed his shoulder, and he almost ran from the room.

Mom looked at me and Steve. “You’re excused, too. We’ll save the ice cream for later.”

We shuffled out of the dining room, not sure what to say or do. I wondered what Tricia was thinking. Whatever she had wanted to tell us never got communicated.

Grandma mopped up the rest of the milk with some kitchen towels. She hadn’t said a word. As I walked out, Mom asked, “Did I do the right thing?”

Grandma murmured a response that faded as I headed upstairs. “He’s a good boy, but he can’t take on the burden…”

While her sons were small, Linda Sammaritan enjoyed writing magazine articles. Now a retired teacher, Linda has begun a new adventure writing in a digital world. She is currently working on a middle grade novel based on growing up with a deaf sibling.