Monday, November 25, 2013

Just a Pilgrim Passing Through

In two days, we celebrate Thanksgiving. Not a new thought. We practice this ritual every year by pulling out our favorite holiday table cloth, china, silver or stainless steel. We make out grocery lists, dig out old family recipes, and
scrub the guest room until it sparkles. A sense of excitement fills the air for some, while dread fills the hearts of others. Those preparing huge quantities of food, typically the women in the family, usually fall into the "dread" category,
while those consuming the huge quantities of food, typically the male occupants of the household, fall into the "excited" category.

Thankfully, in our house we have worked out a system where I cook and Chuck cleans. That's fine by me. I enjoy the food preparation on this special day more than any other time of the year. Maybe it's because my family and guests always
seem to appreciate the effort so much. Just another way they show their thankfulness, I suppose.

I like the anticipation of the days leading up to Thanksgiving Day. I even like wrestling the raw twenty-pound Butterball around the kitchen early Thanksgiving morning while everyone else in the family snoozes. Once he is safely
tucked in the oven, cooking in his pan, I sit back for a while and just enjoy the aroma wafting from the kitchen.

I day-dream about the early settlers to our country. Pilgrims in search of a better world and a better home for their children. Freedom to worship God apart from a king's tyrannical rule.

Then I think about myself and my family. Just pilgrims, really, in search of a better world and a better home. On a journey, not from Europe to America, but from this earth to heaven, and I am at peace. Even though the smell of baking
bird calls me back to the kitchen with thankfulness for my present riches, I silently thank God that this world with its turkeys (you can read whatever you want into that word) is not all there is! A better world is coming. Not a world
devised by the evolutionists or secular humanists or new age thinkers, but a world created by a loving Father calling His precious child home.

A pilgrim just passing through on this Thanksgiving Day. How very thankful I am for that!


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Holiday Business Cards

Who needs Vistaprint? With a little card stock and acrylics, you can make your own business cards with your unique personal touch!

Don't get me wrong--I LOVE Vistaprint! Great prices and wonderful quality!

But once in a while, it's fun to try something new. 

You don't have to be a great artist to make these little guys. Just circle some white paint on your card, then embellish as desired.

Most of all--have fun!


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Best Birthday Gift

Quietly, she slipped an arm around me, held it there, and softly sang, “Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday, dear Eileen, happy birthday to you.”
Our foursome of church sisters gathered for our annual Christmas dinner and gift exchange (which just so happened to coincide with my birthday), but nothing touched my heart quite like that simple gesture. You see, my singing friend is a miracle.
Doctors didn’t think she would ever talk again, let alone sing. Due to thyroid cancer, she’d undergone surgery at great risk to her vocal cords. Yet, not only did she regain her speaking voice, but she stood on our church platform and sang only a few months later. Not as clearly or with as much control, but she sang! With a smile on her face, she sang. And heaven rang with praise.
So did my heart. Never has God used her so powerfully than in her weakness.
Knowing how God has brought good from her suffering moves me deeply. Knowing she would love to sing once again with a clear, crisp voice but quietly accepts God’s will moves me even more.
Never has she glorified Him more than now. For this brief season, until she sings with full abandon in His Kingdom, forever and ever!
Thank you, Cheryl, for the best birthday gift I received this year. 
For more enduring stories, visit Eileen's Author Page

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Healing in the Aftermath of Abortion

Her urgent voice traveled over the phone line.
“Where are you, honey?” I sat at my station, scribbling notes on a form provided by the crisis pregnancy center.
“I’m in a phone booth. My mom’s in the grocery store, and she wants me to get an abortion, but I don’t want another one. And if Daddy finds out I’m pregnant, he’ll kick me out of the house.”
I’d received many such intake calls over my two years working at the center. Desperate unwed moms, most of them teenagers, crying out for hope and help. Some of them succumbing to abortions, others, thankfully ending up on our doorstep. My heart hurt for them and also for their unborn babies whose lives hung in the balance. I’d seen the prenatal pictures of a baby’s development, but never did the reality of preborn human life hit me harder than in 1981.
            In November of that year, my husband and I lost our second baby at four months gestation—a perfectly-formed baby boy spanning the length of the obstetrician’s hand. He called it a “spontaneous abortion.” We called him David Nathaniel.
I had no choice in the abortion. My body simply and horribly rejected my child. I not only grieved over my loss, but for all the babies who had been aborted by choice. And for all the mothers who had been duped into thinking that their babies were merely globs of tissue, easily discarded. To my horror, four years later, we lost another baby—Allison Marie.  
Viewing my premature babies, complete with miniature fingernails and tiny toes, gave me a greater appreciation for the sacredness of life at every stage. Sadly, to date, over 50 million babies have died due to abortion on demand. How God’s great heart must grieve over this senseless slaughter of innocent lives. Psalm 139 details how a loving God carefully and meticulously fashions each one of us in the womb, thinks about us day and night, covers us with His hand, and numbers all our days. We are made in His image. So, both preborn babies and their mothers are precious to God. To destroy a life He has created is to tamper with His image. In the case of abortion, a baby’s physical life is destroyed and the mother’s emotional, spiritual, and sometimes even physical well-being is damaged.
Through my latest release, Laughing with Lily, I want women who’ve undergone abortion to know that God loves them, just as deeply and completely as He loves their babies. No matter the guilt or grief they carry, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Wounded Healer, stands ready to cover them with His healing and forgiveness (see Isaiah, chapter 53). And I desire women who haven’t experienced an abortion to understand that the ground is level at the foot of the cross. We all need healing in some form, and when we experience God’s forgiveness through Christ, we can approach others with a balance of truth and grace. 

Visit my Author Page

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Codependency Workshop

Codependency Workshop
Led by Chuck Rife, LPC, LMFT
Total Life Counseling, Inc.
5401 Fallowater Lane
Roanoke, VA 24016
 Tuesday, November 19, 2013 6:15pm - 8:15 pm $25 per person or $40 per couple (cash or check)
To sign up or for more info call 540-989-1383
Refreshments served
Chuck uses God's Word and sound therapeutic resources to help you: See God truthfully See yourself truthfully Treat yourself lovingly Treat others lovingly Work with the body of Christ Use your spiritual gifts with wisdom and balance Speak up Stand up Step back
Bonus feature: Josephine will be there with her coat of many burdens,
plus a FREE copy of Tranquil Moments for each participant!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

What Mave Does on Thanksgiving Morning . . .

Woman vs. Bird

And I know who wins . . .

Every year, Second Chance protag Mave does the same thing on Thanksgiving morning, but I'll let her tell you about it.

Dancing around the kitchen floor at five in the morning with a naked turkey is not my idea of fun. Nevertheless, Thanksgiving Day wouldn't be complete without my annual battle--woman vs. bird. After inching the stubborn plastic ring off the drumsticks, I plop my captive on the counter, thrust my hand inside the cavity, and retrieve the wrapped giblets to cook up for gravy. Chuckling, I remember asking Jerry this time last year if he wanted the neck.

Gathering the garbage, he'd quipped, "Wanna neck? Sure!"

I rolled my eyes and shot back, "Is that all you ever think about?"

He paused and scratched his head. "Yep, pretty much." Then he slung the bag over his shoulder like Santa Claus and headed for the kitchen door.

Sure, he was joking. Still, what do they always say? There's a bit of truth underneath every joke. Maybe I should have appeased his appetite. Perhaps the growing distance I've felt between us since the kids left wouldn't have occurred if I'd been more attentive to his needs. 

A newbie to the empty nest, Mave misses her kids. She's let her appearance and affection toward her husband slip. Now she wants the fire back in her marriage, but wonders if Jerry's moved on to greener pastures.

But Mave's done some "slipping" out, too, and a couple new people join the Robertson's Thanksgiving table this year as a result. 

And one of them may very well get her in trouble, not only with Jerry, but with the law. 

A signed copy of Second Chance, FREE to one commenter! 

Leave a comment below and automatically enter to win a print copy of Second Chance, in time for Thanksgiving!


Friday, November 1, 2013

Dealing with Holiday Stress

For me, October 31st ushers in the holiday season. While I thoroughly enjoy this time of year, the holidays can also bring added stress . . .

Aunt Edna plunges through the front door loaded down with gifts. On her heels, Uncle Henry grumbles about the cost of fuel. Popping gum with cell phone glued to her ear, niece Marcie stomps in, plops on the couch, and props her snowy feet on your antique coffee table.
Kinda reminds you of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, doesn’t it?
With all our best efforts to prepare for and enjoy the holiday season, we sometimes lament with the Griswold’s wife when she tells her daughter, “Look, it’s Christmas; we’re all miserable!
Take heart. The holiday season doesn’t have to weigh us down with stress if we follow a few helpful guidelines.
Stop. Take a deep breath.
That’s right. In the midst of shopping, food prep, company, programs, and parties, stop and breathe deeply through your nose. Hold it to the count of eight, then let it out slowly to the count of eight. It’s almost impossible to be stressed when you breathe deeply. The exercise slows you down, forces you to regain equilibrium, and sends nourishing oxygen to all of your organs.
Adjust your expectations.  
If your expectations for a happy holiday do not match reality, then your stress level will go up. You may be the type who wants it all—the china, linen, silver polished to a sheen, and the turkey roasted to golden perfection. Gifts wrapped and glittering under a fresh Frazier. Fire lit and house sparkling. Christmas caroling and hot cocoa and cookies waiting at home. You may want to host a neighborhood open house, serve at the Rescue Mission, or take charge of the office party or church drama.
Choose one or two activities that best represent your desire for the holidays. Then let the rest go. You will be doing yourself and everyone around you a big favor. And you’ll likely experience godly contentment, which no amount of gifts or glitter can replace.
Remember, relationships are more important than things.
If you are so frazzled that you can’t sit down and carry on a meaningful conversation with your spouse, family members, or friends, perhaps it’s time to reevaluate. God loves people. That’s His focus. The Babe in the manger came to restore us to the Father. He’s all about relationships. We should be, too. Take time to play games, read the Christmas story, listen to each other, pray together, and laugh around the table. These are the memories you will carry into the future, not how many activities you completed on your list.
Set aside some one-on-one time.
It’s okay to leave Uncle Fred snoozing on the sofa while you slip out with your honey for a well-deserved walk. Work off that heavy meal with a little touch football in the front yard with your teenager. These activities will not only build connection but also provide exercise during a time of year when diets typically fly out the window.
Share the load.
Consider using paper plates instead of china. Delegate various menu items to members of the family. In our household my husband’s motto is Ladies cook, men clean up! I love it!
Take a nap.
With late night parties, church drama practice, or meal and gift prep, it’s likely you’ve been staying up later than usual. Sneak in an afternoon nap to refresh yourself. Even some quiet time alone in your room can help you regroup so that you can jump back into family life and better enjoy those around you.
Count your blessings.
Remember to stop and breathe a prayer of thanksgiving to the One who has richly blessed your life. An attitude of gratitude can go a long way in building strength and fortitude when busyness threatens to swoop in and rob your joy.

For a video clip of Chuck and Eileen discussing holiday stress, log on to the link below.

The End of One Story, the Beginning of Another

I flip through the calendar, a gift from my missionary daughter. Family face after family face jump off the pages. Grandkids roasting mar...