Monday, December 30, 2013

A Vacation in Maui!

To welcome in the New Year, I'm hosting a 5 book giveaway! That's right . . .

5 Tranquil Moment books!


If you need a vacation but can't afford one, look no further.

Reading Tranquil Moments, Spiritual Refreshment from the Island of Maui is like taking a vacation from your armchair.

Thirty short vignettes focus on the splendor of Maui and a spiritual truth I gleaned from God's Word while visiting that beautiful island. 

Start 2014 with a refreshing and meaningful read!

Contest begins January 1 and ends January 30.

Leave a comment about how God is refreshing you in the New Year 
and enter to win a print copy.

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For more of my books, check out my Amazon author page


Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Call to Reflection


I don’t know about you, but the New Year breeds new hope.I consider this a time to start fresh with a clean slate before me.

Take the month of January to assess your life, marriage, and ministry. Pull out your Bible and journal and spend some quiet time with the Lord. Below are some statements to ponder. They are certainly not all-inclusive. You may add to the list as you think of areas specific to your life.

Put a check mark beside each statement that you regularly do. Then write down what you can do to take your growth a step further in this new year.

1)   I spend some time each day alone with God reading His Word and talking/listening to Him _____________.

2)   I ask God to show me His divine appointments for my day _____________.

3)   I ask questions to determine where God is working, then I join Him in the effort to win people into the Kingdom_________.

4)   I am sensitive to the needs of those God has placed in my sphere of influence_______________.

5)   I apply what I have read in God's Word to my everyday life ______________.

6)   I pray about everything, no matter how small it may seem ______________.

7)   I choose words that will build up my spouse and children _____________.

8)   I pray with and for my spouse and children every day _____________.

9)   I manage problems the day they occur______________.

10) I date my spouse once a week______________.

11) I am a student of my spouse, learning what pleases him/her, encouraging his/her interests, supporting his/her dreams _______________.

12)  I communicate with my spouse to work toward a resolution _______________.

13)  I give God my hurts, choose to forgive, and move on _______________.

14)  I live a complete life with time invested in relationships, work, and relaxation _______________. 

15)  I allow the Holy Spirit to reveal His fruit through my life (love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, self-control, kindness, gentleness)_______________.

16)  I eat a well-balanced diet_____________.

17)  I exercise at least three times a week______________.

18)  I have at least one same-sex friend whom I trust to serve as an accountability partner to encourage and challenge me in my Christian walk______________.    

19)  I offer my finances to God for His good purposes________.

20)  I am available, sensible, and flexible so that God can use me whenever, however, and wherever He desires__________.

How'd ya do? Don't despair! We are each in process. The goal of this exercise is to get you thinking! To reevaluate some areas you may have shoved in a corner of your mind and forgotten about.

Determine before God to SET SOME GOALS that are in keeping with His will for your life. The above statements are general affirmations that each of us need to assess in order to live a happy, well-ordered, God-honoring life. Perhaps they will provoke you to take your reflection to the next level--determining and setting goals that relate to your specific personality, interests, and giftedness. Now that's exciting!

No need to rush the process. Keep spending time with God. Keep journaling. Then ACT on what He tells you to do in the quietness of your heart. Remember, He will never ask you to do anything that is not in accordance with His Word, the Bible. Always test your impressions against the Scripture and bounce ideas off two or three godly, respected believers who may be able to sharpen your focus. Then watch to see how God may be lining up circumstances in a particular direction.

It all begins with a CALL TO REFLECTION. Will you accept the challenge in this new year to come away with Him? To hear His voice above the noise?

"Be still, and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10).

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Eileen Rife, author of Second Chance, speaks to women on a variety of topics. When not writing and speaking, she enjoys visiting with her grown daughters and son-in-laws, playing with her seven grandchildren, and dancing with her husband. www.eileenrife.com, www.eileen-rife.blogspot.com

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Snowman Gabe

Grandson Gabriel helps me make our Christmas snowman cheeseball.

Cream cheese
cheddar cheese
almond slivers
chives
red pepper

Roll in balls, coat with Parmesan cheese, and decorate with peppercorns and carrot for nose

Enjoy!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

A Peek at Our Christmas

Our Christmas tablescape . . .

And on the menu
Roast beef wrapped in bacon
Potato boats with cheese
Peas
Applesauce
Cole slaw
French vanilla ice cream 
with fresh strawberries, 
whipped cream, almond slivers, 
and chocolate peppermint shavings.

The food's great, but the Light of the World, Jesus, is the center of our celebration!

Christmas jamming

Our youngest daughter and husband, expecting their second child in June!

An unexpected treat this year for Chuck and me--the kids went in together to gift us a trip to Lancaster, PA to see the Sight & Sound theater. Yippee!
 
 The grandkids pulled together the Christmas story. Uh, apparently they ran out of costumes. I see Captain America in this pic!

Ethan, our little shepherd boy, greets Mary and the baby


Kylie passes out gifts

Michelle reads a Christmas story. We all write on slips of paper what we can give to Jesus, then place them in a silver box to draw out and read.

Happy Christmas kids! Later, we Skyped our missionary family in India!

Lots of fun!
 
 

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Moving Past the After-Christmas Blues


Last night at church a young mother pulled me aside before the children’s Christmas program. “I remember what you shared with our women’s group a few months ago—about how you experience the blues after Christmas is over. I can relate. I’m dreading it.” Her soft blue eyes filled with unwarranted apology.

My heart ached for the woman. I assured her she wasn’t alone. Many experience the same foreboding feelings when January rolls around. 

Here are some tips I shared with her that I’ve found helpful. Perhaps they will encourage you as well. 

Plan ahead.

Just as you prepare for the holiday season, plan for the post-holiday season. Often we’ve invested so much energy shopping, decorating, baking, and visiting family that once the holidays are over, we drop into a chair exhausted, totally spent, and without a clue how to move forward into the new year.
Treat yourself to some much-needed rest. Sleep in on the weekends. Take a “4R Rejuvenation.” This is exactly what I have planned for our Life Group ladies on January 26. We will meet together to reflect on our lives, rehearse God’s faithfulness, renew ourselves in His love, and release everything and everyone into His hands. We’ll eat together and treat ourselves to massage therapy. 

Having something fun to look forward to, preferably with others, will breathe new life into your spirit. 

Invest Time in a New Hobby.

This one thing has greatly helped me over the past two years. Two or three months before the New Year begins, I decide on an outlet I want to pursue that is fresh and new. One year, Chuck and I took a six-week Shag dance class, which got me through to the end of February. I knew the previous October that I’d have this new outlet to liven up the winter months. Another year, I invested more time in my artwork, a hobby I don’t typically spend a lot of time doing.

Take a Winter Trip. 

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get away. A “trip” may simply mean taking a short drive to a nearby museum or concert. Or it may mean a weekend away at a Bed & Breakfast (one of our favorite getaways). Whatever the trip, plan it in the fall, so that you have something to look forward to in the winter months.

Take your Vitamin D.

This one is getting more press these days, but it was not always so. The winter blahs can sometimes be traced to a lack of sunshine, so make sure you take a good quality Vitamin D supplement to chase away fatigue and depression.  When winter sunshine shows up on your doorstep, take advantage of it. I eat lunch with the front door open, since the sun streams through the glass door. 

Keep Moving. 

After consuming all those rich holiday foods, our bodies tend to be lethargic. Couple that with cold weather and we often resist the admonition to exercise. It’s so vital to the body and the mind to keep moving. Take a walk. Sign up for an aerobics or swim class. Use the rebounder while watching your favorite television show. Set some nutritional goals or revive old ones. 

Get Involved in a Volunteer Activity.

Joy is never experienced so thoroughly as when we give ourselves away to meet the needs of another. Consider volunteering at your local Rescue Mission, food pantry, Battered Women’s Shelter, teen center, or Crisis Pregnancy Center. 

Get Together with Friends.

It’s easy to pull within ourselves after a busy Christmas season. Resist the urge to do so. We need each other! Go out for coffee. Invite a friend over. Knit or talk or bake, or whatever it is you love to do, with someone else. 

Stay Close to the Lord.

Sometimes during the busyness of the holiday season, we let our devotional lives slip. We talk about the Lord; we do things for the Lord, but we fail to spend quiet time in His presence. Thus we enter the New Year spiritually depleted, longing for love and fulfillment. If we’re not careful, we’ll allow Satan, the flesh, and the world to complete our desires rather than turning to Jesus. Monitor your temptations according to 1 John 2:16 (the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life). Remember that God wants to provide the way of escape if you will draw close to Him (1 Cor. 10:13). Surround yourself with the Body of Christ—don’t isolate. 

According to Philippians 4:9, often we simply have to do the right things before we feel like doing them. God will honor our godly actions with good feelings of joy and peace. 

Check out more of my writings:

Monday, December 16, 2013

Crossreads Book Blast with Becca Fisher's Amish Christmas Boxed Set

cover pic
Amish Christmas Boxed Set By Becca Fisher

About the Book

Four different Amish Christmas stories, plus one bonus novella:
The Christmas Surprise
Joshua Zook and Sadie Miller have been dancing around their feelings for months. But just as Joshua works up the nerve to admit how much he cares for Sadie, he realizes that he may be too late to win Sadie's heart.
The Christmas Miracle
William Bieler just wants a simple Amish Christmas. But with a newborn child at home, nothing is simple. When William's wife falls ill however, it will take a miracle to save Christmas at the Bieler house.
The Christmas Performance
Emma Bieler is chosen to do a solo at the school holiday pageant. But a case of crippling stage fright strikes her just before she's about to go onstage. What happens next will change Emma's life forever.
The Christmas Gift
When Amish widow Hannah King remarries, her daughters do not take well to their new step father. But as the holidays approach, it's make or break time to bring peace back into Hannah's house. Bonus novella: Clara Bieler's Amish Christmas
becca fisherBecca Fisher I'm Becca Fisher and I write sweet Amish romances featuring simple people with complex love lives. I'm devout in my faith, relish time with my family, and seek to bring joy to as many lives as possible. I would love to have you as a reader. God bless. If you would like to be the first to know about my new books, join my mailing list here http://eepurl.com/s3WIT Everyone that signs up for my mailing list will receive a Free copy of my "Complete Amish Romance Boxed Set."
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Enter to Win a $50 Amazon Gift Card and a Nook 7" tablet!

Enter below to enter a $50 Amazon gift card, sponsored by author Becca Fisher! a Rafflecopter giveaway This book blast is hosted by Crossreads. We would like to send out a special THANK YOU to all of the CrossReads book blast bloggers!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Beauty

Have you ever wondered why we spend so much time fixing up our homes and ourselves. Painting, plucking, and powdering? Why we flip through remodeling and gardening magazines searching for the right faucet, seedling, or statue? Why we frost cookies, decorate Christmas trees with silver and gold, and light candles to fill our homes with spicy fragrance?
            Because deep within the heart of every man, woman, and child is a longing for beauty. God, the Beautiful One and Creator of all things beautiful, designed us with that desire.
            We need look no further than the Babe in the manger to capture beauty in its truest form. The Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace all rolled into the Person of Christ is the One in whom all things exist and hold together.
           The phrase “God doesn’t make junk,” is actually true. In the beginning, God looked at creation and labeled it “good.” Only when sin entered the world did disarray, disorder, dysfunction, and disease in all its ugliness plague mankind.
           Yet, man retained his innate desire for a perfect world, one of unity and beauty.
           All our days we strive for the good, the right, the lovely, but that desire did not originate in our own thoughts. God planted the seed deep within that nothing can destroy. That yearning for the beautiful is meant to drive us to the Beautiful One who holds the key to perfection. Only in His death, burial, and resurrection can we know Him and truly understand what beauty really is. It is through His promise of a restored heaven and earth that one day true, undaunted beauty will be unveiled.
        So, as you gather to celebrate Christmas this year and enjoy the glittering tree, blazing fire, golden, roasted turkey, and laughter of family and friends, remember the One who gifted you with all things beautiful.
           And humbly thank Him.
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Thursday, December 12, 2013

What I Want My Grandchildren to Remember

"As for me, this is My covenant with them," says the LORD. "My Spirit which is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your offspring, nor from the mouth of your offspring's offspring," says the LORD, "from now and forever." Isaiah 59:21


If I had only one verse to claim for my grandchildren, this would be it. My heart's desire is that they continue to listen and follow the word of the Lord. That requires intentional instruction from both their parents and their grandparents. 

When we walk by the way, rise up in the morning, when we sit at the table, when we play games . . . 

We model Jesus. 

Truth be told, when all is said and done, I want my grandchildren to remember that I loved them, spent time with them, taught them biblical values, and prayed for them. 

When someone asks my grandchildren: Who was your grandma? I have no desire for them to say, "She was an author or a teacher or a speaker; no, I want them simply to say, "She was my grandma, a woman who loved me."

That's how I want to be distinguished in their lives, and in their memories.