Category Archives: Guest Post

12 Days of Christmas

 12 Days of Christmas in Review

By Ruth L. Snyder who invited me to join this 12 days of blog hopping – 12 Days of Christmas

12 Days of Christmas

Thanks for joining us for our version of the 12 Days of Christmas! We hope that you have met some new authors and enjoyed or shared some new books that will become treasured additions to your bookshelf. 

 We have one more book to introduce to you—an anthology from Canadian Christian writers: 

Want to warm your soul for the holidays?

12 Days of christmas Unwrap the true meaning of gift giving with a treasure trove of festive tales. 

Sometimes, the best gift is a great story. With 62 heartfelt accounts of the true meaning of Christmas, this anthology is sure to fill even the grouchiest Scrooge with holiday spirit. 

Christmas with Hot Apple Cider: Stories from the Season of Giving and Receiving is an eclectic collection of true stories, short fiction, and poetry. With 55 featured authors and poets, the anthology provides a diverse and multidimensional look at the traditions, teachings, and values surrounding the birth of Jesus. Be inspired to share your own stories with the world as you discover a fresh appreciation of the holiday season. 

In Christmas with Hot Apple Cider, you’ll delight in stories about: 

  • An immigrant family puzzling over unfamiliar North American customs 
  • Grandparents passing down a family tradition to a young grandchild 
  • An octogenarian remembering the day receiving a Christmas gift was nothing short of a miracle 
  • A Jewish child longing to celebrate Christmas 
  • A teacher witnessing the joy of a simple gift at a Nigerian orphanage 
  • A writer struggling to create a meaningful presentation about the innkeeper 
  • An Old Order Mennonite teen experiencing Handel’s Messiah live at Massey Hall 
  • Two women answering a call for help from a remote First Nations community 

This anthology boasts inspirational stories you and your family will want to read again and again. If you like the Chicken Soup for the Soul books, strong Christian themes, and stories that make you laugh and cry, then you’ll love this must-have stocking stuffer.  

Janis Cox – (me) I have a story in this anthology.

If you missed any of the days, here is a summary of the authors and books: 

December 13—Jennifer Waddle—Worst Christmas Break Ever https://www.amazon.com/Worst-Christmas-Break-Ever-Finkley-ebook/dp/B01NBG1QBE 

December 14—Ruth L. Snyder—Equipped: Ephesians 6 Devotionals to Empower and Make You Victorious in Everyday Struggles mybook.to/Equipped 

December 15—Toni Crowe—Bullets and Bosses Don’t Have Friends https://smile.amazon.com/Bullets-Bosses-Dont-Have-Friends-ebook/dp/B07JH6W8XH/  

December 16—Janis Cox—Tadeo Turtle https://www.amazon.ca/TADEO-TURTLE-Janis-Cox/dp/1770696954/ 

December 17—Marcia Laycock—Love in the Room https://www.amazon.ca/Love-Room-Pondering-Christ-Christmas/dp/1548005185 

December 18—Kevin Cunningham—Time With God https://www.amazon.com/dp/B017ETI8SK 

December 19—Paula Reinbold—Summer of the Phoenix https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KP927P4 

December 20—Janis Cox – Kingdom of Thrim https://www.amazon.com/Kingdom-Thrim-Growing-God/dp/0995229023/ 

December 21—Marcia Laycock—Christmas https://www.amazon.ca/Christmas-Short-Stories-Stir-Spirit/dp/153982313X/ 

December 22—Ruth L. Snyder—Twitter Decoded mybook.to/TwitterDecoded  

December 23—Toni Crowe—The Daytime Lives of the Ladies of the Night https://smile.amazon.com/Daytime-Lives-Ladies-Night-Boardroom-ebook/dp/B07GT9KYZK/ 

 December 24—Summary Post/Wrap Up—Christmas with Hot Apple Cider https://www.amazon.ca/Christmas-Hot-Apple-Cider-Paperback/dp/1927692415/ 

 Merry Christmas! 

Janis Cox 

 

What Success is To You   

 The Daytime Lives of the Ladies of the Night

Our last author on the tour is once again Toni Crowe. She wants to tell us what success is to you. The Daytime Lives of the Ladies of the Night is the follow-up to the debut memoir by Toni Crowe. The Daytime Lives makes you think about your life and your definition of success. 

Daytimes Lives

Have  you ever wondered: “What do the women who sell their bodies and souls at night do in the daytime?  What do these women want out of life? 

This follow-up to Never a $7 Wh**e continues to detail the lives of three escorts: Baby, Essence, Irish and their new  trainee, Tee.  

As the four ladies struggle with the isolation associated with how they are living, The Daytime Lives of the Ladies of the Night reminds us that peace is within anyone’s reach, if they have the desire and determination to change their destinies.  

Excerpt from Daytime Lives of the Ladies of the Night ***

       Prince turned to me and said, “Hey, I need you to do me a favor.” 

I looked at him suspiciously and responded with, “Oh, a favor?”  

He said, “Yeah. I left my wallet at home, so I don’t have any money on me. I owe Ed here five hundred dollars. Ed said if I don’t give him his five hundred dollars right now, he’s going to have his two guys take me out in the bush and beat the living shit out of me until they get five hundred dollars’ worth.” 

I was stunned. Even though Essence had told me something was coming, I was still stunned by what Prince was trying to do to me. My grandfather had called this one the “You a Sucker” scam. It worked well as long as the sucker thought they were saving a loved one from a horrible fate. The scam took many forms, and Prince was playing his version out pretty well. I guessed he had run this scam a hundred times. 

I innocently asked, “What does this have to do with me, Prince?” I knew my mark. 

“Well, Ed thinks you are one sexy woman. He said that if you would give him a blowjob, he’ll write off the entire five hundred dollars. There’s a bedroom upstairs. You and he can go up there discreetly. Once you give him a blowjob, he will forgive the entire five hundred dollars.” 

I said, “Prince, I want to make sure I understand. You owe him five hundred dollars?” 

“Yes, I owe him five hundred dollars,” Prince said. 

“You don’t have the five hundred dollars with you?” I asked. 

“No,” Prince said. 

“But I’m certain we have five hundred dollars back at Tara, back at the house,” I responded sweetly. 

Prince didn’t miss a beat and said, “Yes, but Ed is not willing to wait for it. He wants his money right now. So you have to give him a blowjob right now.” 

Prince looked deep into my eyes, and he said, “How much do you love me? How deep is your love? Are you willing to see me beat to crap over a single, lousy blowjob?” 

I winced, thinking about how ashamed I was to be in this situation. My grandfather would spin in his grave. Prince took my wince to mean he had gotten to me—that he was winning this game.  

He pressed on. “How much do you care about me? If you cared for me, you would do this for me.” 

I stared at the floor. I could feel any love I had left for him sliding out of my feet and out onto the floor like a living thing. I was a mark, nothing more. I was a sucker for this man. Prince thought he had me.  

His voice was soft and sweet. “Tee, you would make sure I don’t get hurt. You would be my girl. You would be my savior. It’s one lousy blowjob.” 

I said, “Yes, you’re right. How much money do we owe him again? I want to make sure I understand.”  

He confirmed the debt was five hundred dollars, and then he smiled that beautiful hundred-watt smile at me, knowing I was going to acquiesce. I stood up at the same time that Ed did, and he reached for my hand. I did not take his hand. Instead, I reached into my purse. I pulled out the money I had stuffed in with my lipstick earlier. I had six hundred dollars. I counted out five hundred dollars for Ed, and I handed it to him.  

I looked at Prince and said, “There is nothing I wouldn’t do for you, baby. I think we have a much better solution.” 

At that moment, I knew that I was one blessed woman. I had struggled with telling Essence where her little boy was. I was so worried about the consequences if Prince or Baby had found out. But I was all in. My heart told me that I needed to tell Essence and so I did. Her heads-up regarding this situation had prepared me for something unusual. Her money had helped me escape this time. 

End Excerpt  

Author Bio 

 

Toni Crowe, BSEE, MSM, CLA, PE is the bestselling author of the $7 Journey series.  

She is an award winning and accomplished executive with 30 years of experience as a CEO/President, Vice-President, Director, Engineer, and Manager across multiple sectors including high tech, consumer and nuclear sensors, Aerospace,  film production and glass.  

Toni has extensive experience in P&L, Manufacturing, Operations Management, and Lean.  She has participated in a number of mergers and acquisitions.   

Toni is currently the CEO of  Just One,  her company which is dedicated to changing lives, one life at a time, by insuring that no one has to make the same mistakes she made.  

 

Buy Daytime Life of the Ladies of the Night to remind someone what success is really about.  

 

https://smile.amazon.com/Daytime-Lives-Ladies-Night-Boardroom-ebook/dp/B07GT9KYZK 

 

What are Smart Topics to Tweet About?

 Smart Topics for Writers to Tweet About 

Today is Day 10 in our 12 Days of Christmas suggested by Ruth L. Snyder. Today her book Twitter Decoded is featured. I have read this book and found it very helpful. Unfortunately it’s at home in Canada right now. Today she gives us some smart topics to tweet about.

smart topics

Use Twitter to easily and effectively reach your readers

smart

Successful writers take responsibility for marketing their own work.

Social media, including Twitter, can be amazing tools. But how do you get started and use Twitter productively without wasting valuable writing time?

Ruth L. Snyder explains the benefits of Twitter for writers and leads you step by step through the process of setting up an effective account. Using this manual, you’ll learn the lingo, find your way around the Twitter dashboard, and start building relationships with your worldwide audience. You’ll also discover many tips and tricks to engage your audience and build a solid marketing platform in minutes a day. Finally, you’ll learn how to write great tweets, use hashtags, link shorteners, Twitter tools, schedule your tweets, use tweet templates, and continue building relationships with your worldwide audience. 

Here’s a sample chapter from the book: 

Are you stumped when it comes to deciding what to tweet about? We’ve already discussed that you need to tweet about things your individual audience is interested in, but there are some general topics any writer can tweet about.

Sandi Krakowski (@sandikrakowskisuggests: 

  • Pictures of flowers
  • A link to a favorite recipe
  • Fun questions (What’s your favorite flavor of ice-cream? What’s the best book you’ve ever read? If you could be any cartoon character, who would you be? Who’s your hero?)
  • Inspiring quotes
  • Things that make people laugh

Pam Moore (@PamMktgNutshares 100 ideas to tweet about http://www.pammarketingnut.com/2013/03/100-things-to-tweet-about-on-twitter-besides-yourself/ including: 

  • Tips to help people save money
  • Photos of you that show your human side
  • How-to tips
  • Jokes
  • Pictures of nature
  • Thank a favorite writer or blogger
  • Link to a favorite song
  • Ask a thought-provoking question
  • Tweet a whole story
  • Share when you reach a goal
  • Share a daily thought
  • Tweet a positive review you received

Jenn Hanson-dePaula (@Jenndepaulashares 40 ideas https://twitter.com/Jenndepaula: 

  • Mention (@[Twitter Handle]) one of your fans, thanking them for supporting you
  • Share an old picture for #TBT (Throw Back Thursday)
  • Write a Haiku
  • Share something that has helped you in your writing
  • Share the title of a book you’re reading and mention the author

Your turn! 

Use one new idea each day this week in your Tweets. At the end of the week, use your “Notifications” and your bit.ly links to track which tweets get the most response and continue to use those ideas.  

You can purchase your copy of Twitter Decoded at mybook.to/TwitterDecoded 

 smart topics 

Ruth L. Snyder resides near Glendon, Alberta, along with her husband and five children. Ruth enjoys writing articles, devotionals, short stories, and Christian fiction. Ruth is Past President of InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship. 

 

Why Was She Missing Christmas?

Missing Christmas

On our journey to meet new authors, we once again encounter Marcia Laycock with a new book, Christmas.

Missing Christmas

Christmas by Marcia Lee Laycock is a collection of short stories that will take you from the far reaches of the galaxy to the edge of the Arctic Circle and the streets of the inner city. The miracle of Christmas is transported from one unusual setting to another, and into your heart as you read.

Here’s a sample called “Missing Christmas”:

Missing Christmas

Sulking and soaking. For me, the two always go together. I know when I’m not fit to be around people, especially the people I’m mad at, so the bathtub is the best place to be. I run the water as hot as I can stand it and stay there until I feel like I can be civil again. That night, the night before Christmas, I thought I might be there till dawn.

Tim had dropped the bomb when he came home from work two days before we were to go home for the holidays. Somehow he’d managed to mess up making the flight reservations. How could he mess up something so important, so essential to my sanity? Bad enough he’d talked me into coming here, to the end of reason and any sign of civilization, just so he could have a “real northern experience.” Bad enough he didn’t once compliment me on how I’d bravely been enduring the minus fifty degree temperatures. Bad enough we still had five more months to live in this town on the edge of the universe. Now we were stuck here for Christmas. And what was his excuse? He thought he’d told the travel agent to book it, but he had only asked her to give him the details. When she didn’t hear back from him, she assumed we’d changed our minds but didn’t bother to check. There are too many people in this town who definitely aren’t the brightest bulbs on the tree.

And speaking of trees. To try and pacify me, Tim dragged a tree home the day before Christmas. I caught him going out the door, downed from neck to ankle, a touque on his head and wool scarf wrapped about six times around his face. When I asked him where on earth he was going, he said something unintelligible and walked out the door. Three hours later I heard him stomping around on the porch. I poked my head out, the cold hitting me like a slap, and all I could see were his eyes. They were laughing. He tugged the scarf down long enough to tell me to wrap up and come out for a minute. Curious, I pulled on my parka and went outside.

He stood there like a little boy who’d just bagged his first bird. Only it was a Christmas tree he held onto. Or rather, it had been a Christmas tree. My mouth fell open and I sputtered through a mouth full of scarf.

Tim pulled his away from his mouth and grinned. “Just call me Charlie Brown,” he said. The tree was almost bare. Tim described how the needles rained down with every blow of the axe. What else did he expect at fifty below?

Then we tried getting it inside. The few needles left on the branches showered the linoleum in the kitchen until it looked like a forest path. We stood it in a corner and stepped back. Tim glanced at me sideways just as I did the same and we both burst out laughing.
“I’ll go buy an artificial one,” I said. Tim didn’t argue.

I trudged off to the only store in town, but of course they were sold out of Christmas trees, artificial or otherwise. Then I went to the grocery store to buy a turkey. No turkeys left either. No cranberry sauce, no fresh vegetables. They had some Caribou steaks on special. Whoopdeedoo.

About Marcia Laycock

missing Christmas

 

Marcia’s work has been published in magazines, newspapers and anthologies in both Canada and the U.S. and appears frequently on the world wide web. She currently writes a regular devotional column, The Spur, which appears in publications across Canada and goes out by e-mail to avid readers. Marcia’s writing has won many prizes, garnering praise from notable Christian writers like Janette Oke, Mark Buchanan, Phil Callaway and Sigmund Brouwer. She has published four devotional books, six novels and many short stories. Marcia won the Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel, One Smooth Stone. The sequel, A Tumbled Stone was short-listed for a Word award along with her fantasy novel, Journey to a Strong Tower. Marcia is also a sought-after speaker for women’s events. To learn more about Marcia’s writing and speaking ministry visit her online at www.marcialeelaycock.com

To purchase Christmas by Marcia Lee Laycock go to Amazon.com or Amazon.ca
Or, if you live in Canada, order directly from the author by emailing Marcia.

Disclaimer:

I have not read this book but once again I have read other books by Marcia and they have been fabulous.

What is The Secret Ingredient?

The Secret Ingredient 

On our march towards Christmas we are delighted to welcome PJ Paulson, author of Summer of the Phoenix. What is the secret ingredient?

In 2002, “it hit the fan,” as they say. I lost my job while a quirky medical condition progressed. My romance was on its last legs. I lived in town while pioneering my middle-of-nowhere ranchland – there was lots of driving back and forth. Outbuildings were burglarized. There was a severe drought. People in my life were behaving badly. 

I couldn’t afford a move to Tuscany. A Spiritual Journey to Tibet was out of the question.

Where could I go to awaken my True Soul…

find a relief from pain (mental and physical)…make sense of the chaos…find the good in people…and just get by from day-to-day? 

I needed to figure out why my life was falling apart, how to heal, and how to eventually get back in the game. I needed a sanctuary in which to look closely at life – both physically and mentally – and to heal. 

I made the unconventional choice to forego my city apartment and embrace a simple, stripped-down, country life absent amenities such as plumbing, electricity, and central heat. I drew serenity and strength from Mother Nature to savor life off the grid. During my retreat, I contemplated my life philosophies and direction, eventually transforming a bleak outlook in the face of what appeared to have been a world gone mad. 

Living in eastern Colorado is like having your soul lightly sandblasted. In a high wind it may be literal, but life here is just harsh enough to keep your spirit a little raw. While the subtle discomfort may be disregarded, you feel your environment more intensely. It’s inspirational, like nowhere else I’ve lived.

The ever-present irritant of sand in the oyster creates the pearl. 

My pearl was the inspiration to write. And one day, to understand what I loved so much about that summer here. Then to realize, too, that by practicing the little things that I appreciated so much, other people might learn how to heal in place, too.  

Summer of the Phoenix is my story about that summer, how I coped, and how I turned my life around. Come along with me, and we’ll taste a sample…. 

The Secret Ingredient 

The light changes as sunset approaches; the breeze stills. Shades of green in the field are touched with gold, then with salmon, before becoming dusky. The horizon far to the east turns from blue to blended watercolored bands of violet, salmon, and rose, fading upward to white, and reaching further upward to pale sky blue. 

The waving fields of knee-high blue grama going to seed become still. 

A Says Phoebe, quiet at this season of year, perches on a young Gravenstein apple tree, or on a leaning Autumn Blaze sapling now dead. Moths flit here and there. The phoebe darts out for a meal, and returns to its perch to dine before moving out of sight to another perch. He (or she) has been roosting, I think, in the little thicket of Rugosa roses outside the family room window. 

It’s a soothing view, and I breathe deeply a few times and consciously relax. 

As an exercise, I make a mental composite of the best bits of places I’ve lived, to imagine a place I might consider ideal. 

The remoteness, the peace and quiet, the acreage of this place. 

The love I felt for the home in which I was sheltered for the first thirteen years of my life. Surrounded by fields, woods, and a creek through which to roam and play, and by good friends and family, I had felt secure. 

The creek, pond, and woods of the small farm where we lived when I was first married. Its little bird sanctuary along the pond outlet. There, trees overhung the little cliff east of the mound of shale and clay that had been dug and heaped up, many years before, to make the spring-fed pond. 

The beauty, lushness, and fecundity of the farm on which we had lived in the hills of Pennsylvania. The dogwoods in spring bloom. The sandy beach at the swimming hole. Fresh trout. Raspberries. Wildlife and singing birds in abundance. Forest through which to wander and explore, and fields in which to grow gardens, crops, and fruit trees. 

Put it all together, and set it on the shore of a small lake where I could have a little boat. A little wooden boat with a sail and a set of oars. The little boat would be moored at a wooden dock, patiently awaiting a still dawn, when I would take it out, beyond the majestic sheltering trees of the yard, to fish for breakfast trout. 

I looked for a long time at my fields and trees, watching the light and colors change. I thought of times I’d spent among those trees and fields. I thought of that summer of 2002 when I had spent hour after hour, day after day in July watering those young trees. And it came to me that what I was doing now, in this moment, was what I had done all that summer: Savouring. 

I was savouring my land and the trees I had planted and nurtured. I savoured the fields and the sky. The birds, the singing insects. I savoured Nature. I savoured Life. And I savoured Myself. 

Then it struck me that that – the Savouring of Self, of Soul, of Nature, of Life, and of Spirit – was what made that year of 2002 so special. I had slowed down, taken a deep breath, and Savoured it all. 

The sun has gone to bed, and a meadowlark sings to me his song, “Goodnight! 

Summer of the Phoenix is available on Amazon in Kindle eBook (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KP927P4), black and white paperback (https://www.amazon.com/dp/0976323532 ), and color paperback (https://www.amazon.com/dp/0976323524 ). 

About the Author 

secret ingredient 

 

PJ Paulson lives on a small ranch in rural Colorado with cats, dogs, and cattle. She has been described as a benign non-conformist who lives life on her own terms, and is not overly concerned with how humankind at large may judge that life path. This assessment is certainly borne out as she turns around her life in Summer of the Phoenix! 

Disclaimer:

I have not read this book but it does  sound fascinating.

How to Grow Closer to God in 2019

Grow Closer to God

We are journeying through 12 Days of Christmas. Today we meet Kevin Cunningham who has written Time with God, how to grow closer to God.

The Time with God book by Kevin T. Cunningham, is designed to help us grow closer to God and to build confidence and consistency in our personal prayer lives. As we focus on God and spend time with him, we can bring our joys and needs to him. Then, we will be better able to partner with God in what he is looking to do in and through us.  

At the heart of Time with God, is a desire to develop the habit of communing with God in practical, powerful, and personal ways. Practical, because we will balance four different aspects of prayer. Powerful, because we will use God’s Word as the basis for many of our prayers.

Filled with Scripture

This book is filled with Scripture verses translated from the original languages and reworded into prayers.  They are chosen to help us nurture and develop our focus on God and our love for him. Personal because you’ll find space each day to write (or draw) your own personal prayers. As you get more comfortable with the concept, it will revolutionize the way you read the Bible on your own. 

Below are two portions from the Time with God explaining how to use the book and a sample day focusing on the love of God. 

How to Use This Book 

The main section of the book contains sets of daily prayers, each focusing on a different attribute of God. For each day, you will find:  

  • A very brief statement about the attribute or characteristic of God for the day. 
  • Four sections offering a suggested Scripture Prayer  
  • Four sections offering space for your own Personal Prayers.  

Each day will include four groups of prayers, as mentioned earlier, organized by the acronym of ACTS, standing for Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication.  

Pray the suggested Scripture Prayer from each of the ACTS sections to God. It might help to read the prayer silently first. If you feel led, you can use the spaces for Personal Prayers to write your own prayers in each category.  

Lastly, when praying in the Supplication (earnestly bringing our requests to God) sections, note that many of the verses are focused on the needs of the person praying. As you feel led, you can pray for other people by substituting their names in place of words like “me,” “we,” or “us.”  

For example, in the Supplication section of the “God Is Love” chapter, we find this prayer:  

Lord, since you loved us in this way, surely we should love one another. Please help me to pass on the love that I have received. 

—Modified from 1 John 4:11 

After praying that God helps you pass on the love you have received from God, you could then pray the same prayer for any of your family members, friends, or even your pastor. You could pray…  

Lord, since you loved us in this way, surely we should love one another. Please help ______ to pass on the love that (he/she) has received. 

—Modified from 1 John 4:11  

This will become second nature after you do it the first few times. 

Day 13: God Is Love  

God proactively seeks the best for others even at great cost to himself. 

Scripture Prayers 

Adoration 

Your unfailing love is better than life itself; my lips will praise you! So, I will bless you while I live. I will lift up my hands in your name. 

—Modified from Psalm 63:3 

Confession 

Please forgive me for not allowing your love to flow through me. So often, I am not patient or kind. Forgive me for times when I envy, or brag, or am proud and seek my own way instead of what’s better for others. 

—Modified from 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 

Thanksgiving 

Lord Jesus, I thank you that you demonstrated your own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, you died for us. 

—Modified from Romans 5:8 

Supplication 

(Pray this for yourself first. Then, pray it for someone else also.) 

Lord, please help us remember that you are our God, and that you are the only God. Help us to love you as we should—with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength. Also, please help us to love others as you would. 

—Modified from Mark 12:29-30 

Personal Prayer 

Adoration  

Lord, I praise you because you are… 

Confession  

Lord, please forgive me for… 

Thanksgiving  

Lord, I thank you for… 

Supplication  

Lord, please… 

You can learn more about Time with God: Develop Confidence and Consistency in Your Personal Prayer Life at www.TimeWithGodbook.com or on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B017ETI8SK 

About Kevin 

closer to God

Rock and roll was my life! I was a disc-jockey on radio and in night clubs. I used to entertain people for a night; now I can impact people for eternity. 

My background includes Christian radio, church-planting in Milan, Italy and local pastoral ministry in the U.S. Kevin is currently serving as an Intentional Interim Pastor in Gloucester, MA.  I consider myself very blessed to be a Husband to Alesa for over thirty years and a Dad to Cathy, Grace & John 

Disclaimer:

I have not read this book but it looks interesting.

How to Find Love in the Room

Love in the Room by Marcia Lee Laycock 

We are continuing our 12 Days of Christmas. We join Marcia Lee Laycock, author of Love in the Room.

The symbols and images of Christmas can slip by us because they are so familiar. In Love In The Room, award winning author, Marcia Lee Laycock, brings those images into focus once again as she explores the true meaning of the season. These short devotionals will stir readers to ponder the Christ child with depth and clarity.


 

Here’s an excerpt from Love in the Room: 

The Promise of Christmas 

Chaos reigned supreme. That’s how it seemed as we rehearsed our Christmas play. The first rehearsal didn’t really happen. The second one was only a bit better, and three quarters of the cast didn’t make it to the third. Those of us who were supposedly “in control” wondered if we were going to have a play at all.  

That was nothing new.

Every year it seems to happen. Kids run helter-skelter, some don’t show up, some can’t find costumes or those made for them don’t fit. The choir director is tearing her hair out This year seemed a bit more chaotic than usual. But somehow it all came together in the end. The night of the performance seemed to go well. I say seemed, because I was too busy trying to keep my “cast” quiet and focused, to notice if the play was working. One of the magi discovered he could use one of the shepherd’s headbands as a slingshot to wing the beads off his crown clear across the front of the church. That delighted the kids in the front row who dashed out to pick them up. Mary couldn’t stop squirming because her costume was made of wool, and Joseph kept changing his mind about which robe fit best – right up until he walked out onto the ‘stage.’  

I wasn’t sure it had really all come together until the audience stood to applaud at the end. When many congratulated us on a job well done, all I could say was, “It’s a miracle!”  

And that’s the promise of Christmas –

it all comes together in the end. I’m sure the followers of Jesus, watching the drama of His life and death, felt the same way we ‘directors’ did. To those who thought they were in control, it looked like chaos reigned. From the moment of His birth, He and His parents had to run from those who wanted to kill Him. As He performed miracles, religious leaders plotted against Him. Even the disciples themselves didn’t understand His message. They were disappointed that He didn’t chase the Romans out of the country; He never did set up an earthly kingdom. Then, the cross. It looked like everything they tried to accomplish was doomed to fail. But in the end … 

In the end, the stone was rolled away. The baby born in a stable and crucified on a cross was raised glorified, to the glory of His Father.  

And there is another promise yet to unfold.

As the birth of Christ is overshadowed by the cross, which was blasted away by his resurrection, even that will be outdone by His return. One day, God has told us, “Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear. They will say of me, ‘In the Lord alone are righteousness and strength’.” (Isaiah 45:23,24) 

It will be a miracle and it really will all come together in the end.  

**** 

About Marcia Lee Laycock love is in the room

Marcia’s work has been published in magazines, newspapers and anthologies in both Canada and the U.S. and appears frequently on the world wide web. She currently writes a regular devotional column, The Spur, which appears in publications across Canada and goes out by e-mail to avid readers. Marcia’s writing has won many prizes, garnering praise from notable Christian writers like Janette Oke, Mark Buchanan, Phil Callaway and Sigmund Brouwer. She has published four devotional books, six novels and many short stories. Marcia won the Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel, One Smooth Stone. The sequel, A Tumbled Stone was short-listed for a Word award along with her fantasy novel, Journey to a Strong Tower. Marcia is also a sought-after speaker for women’s events. To learn more about Marcia’s writing and speaking ministry visit her online at www.marcialeelaycock.com  

To purchase Love in the Room by Marcia Lee Laycock go to Amazon.com or Amazon.ca 

Or, if you live in Canada, order directly from the author by emailing marcia@marcialeelaycock.com 

Disclaimer:

I have not read this book. However, I have read the two books, One Smooth Stone and A Tumbled Stone which were excellent. I also took Marcia’s devotional course which also was excellent and compelled me to keep writing. 

 

How to Grab the Next Rung on Your Career Ladder with Bullets and Bosses

Grab the Next Rung On Your Career Ladder

Welcome Toni Crowe to our 12 Days of Christmas. Her book Bullets and Bosses Don’t Have Friends, How To Navigate Tough Challenges at Work  is a book about learning to be the best you can be at work.  

Discover how to handle tough peers and tougher bosses from one of America’s top Executives. 

With a honest, compelling look at relationships with peers and bosses alike, discover a pragmatic approach to mastering your trek through management. You will navigate common challenges in the workplace and conquer them with your personal style.  

What Will YOU Learn 

In Bullets and Bosses Don’t Have Friends, you’ll discover: 

  • – A behind-the-scenes peek at corporate America that shows you what it’s really like at the top  
  • – Which skills and attitudes you need to scale to the top of the business world 
  • – How to cultivate a relationship with your boss that benefits both of you 
  • – What you can do when confronted with difficult peers so you maintain control 
  • – How you can and should deal with workplace treachery, and much, much more!  

Bullets and Bosses Don’t Have Friends is a series of true stories from Toni Crowe’s life in the corporate world, each with a practical lesson and a set of exercises you can apply to your own career. If you like the personal approach of a mentor, tales of hard-won success, and real-world advice from a CEO with an amazing record of achievement, then you’ll love Toni Crowe’s latest book.  third installment in the five-part My Journey from a Lady of the Night to the Lady of the Boardroom memoir!  

Excerpt from Bullets and Bosses *** 

Many people believe that being the boss is easy. It is not. There are numerous activities that are hidden from the everyday employee that would shock them. 

I was working for a toxic boss on a large, important project. The project involved castings, which are made by pouring liquid metal into a mold. Manufacturing parts with precision dimensions using this process is something of a magic trick. To add to the challenge, we didn’t have molds for this project.  

Normally, from start to finish, a casting takes about thirty weeks.

We had to make the part samples ourselves, check them, send them to a supplier for machining, check them again, and then send them to a supplier for painting.  

We developed a plan for the parts to travel from one supplier to the next, cutting us out as the middleman and bringing the lead time down from thirty weeks to twenty-five. On this project, those five weeks could make a huge difference to the production team, which wanted to get the sample parts back in-house as fast as they could to build up, first, the production prototype and then the units themselves.  

Both the production team and the parts procurement team reported directly to me. Despite enormous effort on my part and theirs, the parts did not come in at twenty-five weeks. They came in at twenty-six weeks.  

They were one week late. 

The day the parts were due but did not show up, my boss stormed into my office. His face was red, he was breathing hard, and his hands were clenched into tight fists. He walked straight toward me, and for a moment, I thought he might punch me.  

He climbed up on my desk and started kicking. He kicked my phone off the desk, then my paper clips, then my calendar.  

I didn’t get out of my seat. I just rolled my chair back against the wall while he was up on my desk kicking things around, hoping I didn’t get hit by anything. I was stunned into silence. He was not a skinny man. How upset was he to climb on my desk?  

When he had finally kicked everything off, he stared at me. “What was the timeline for this project?”  

I told him, “The schedule was thirty weeks.”  

He didn’t like that answer. “What did you tell me you and your team could do?”  

“I told you we could get it down to twenty-five weeks.” 

“Did you get it down to twenty-five weeks?”  

“No,” I told him, “I did not. I got it down to twenty-six weeks. I apologize for missing the plan by a week and only being four weeks ahead of the original schedule.” 

This appeared to calm him down a bit. He climbed off my desk.  

“Engineering is now behind twelve weeks, and you have only made up nine. I want you to see what you can do to make up the last three weeks we need to be on schedule for this project.” 

I stood up and pretended that my desk items were not scattered about on the floor.  

“Sure. I’ll make that happen.”  

My ability to “make that happen” was one of the reasons I did so well in my career. My second ability to stay calm and take the heat was the second. If you work in manufacturing, operations, or supply chains, there are multiple problems you must solve every day. When you are responsible for all of the parts that are needed to produce revenue products, 99.9% is not good enough. If the plant needs one million parts and you and your team provide 999,999, you have failed.  

Manufacturing and Operations are tough gigs. Sometimes, no matter what you achieve, it is never enough.  

End Excerpt *** 

 Disclaimer,

I have not read this book but after reading the excerpt I am fascinated with the story. Staying calm at all times takes practice. Obviously Toni learned to do this and succeed. Well done.

Janis 

 

 

 

How Can We Be Strong in the Lord?

Be Strong in the LORD

Day 2 of Twelve Days of Christmas, we welcome Ruth Snyder talking about being strong in the Lord.

strong in the Lord

“Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.”

—Psalm 37:3-6

I started my morning with prayer and Scripture reading. My heart was especially burdened for our family. I prayed for God’s protection and was quiet before God. My heart was filled with peace when my devotional time was finished.

Less than an hour later, my husband and I were embroiled in a heated disagreement regarding our children. The longer we talked, the more we disagreed.

I retreated to my piano to play hymns and reflect. Why couldn’t we resolve this situation?

Kendall and I both want the best for our children, but sometimes we disagree about what this looks like. We are learning to use tools like John Gottman’s Sound Relationship House (https://www.gottman.com/about/the-gottman-method/).

Life on earth is full of challenges and problems.

Sometimes we get totally overwhelmed. Cancer. Addiction. Family issues. War. Abuse. God is the only one who is big enough, wise enough, to have the solutions. We need to choose to be strong in HIM.

He will give us the victory, if we trust him and not ourselves.

According to Strong’s Concordance, the phrase, “be strong,” comes from a root word that means to enable, empower, strengthen, or be made strong. Remember the apostle, Paul? We may see him as a spiritual giant, but he claims that God’s strength is best displayed in our areas of weakness.

When we feel strong, we don’t rely on God the way we should.

In fact, when we have the ability to do things well, we often boast and become proud. When we realize we are weak, God is able to work through us to display his love and power to those around us (1 Corinthians 1:26-31; 2 Corinthians 12:9).

Here are some examples from Scripture:

  • God enabled Samson to defeat Israel’s enemies, but when Samson chose to disobey God, he was captured (Judges 14-16).
  • God chose Saul to be King. When Samuel took a while to show up, Saul took things into his own hands. Then he disobeyed by not destroying all of the enemy, and God took the kingdom from his son and gave it to a lowly shepherd boy, David (I Samuel 9, 13, 15).

Think About It

Have you experienced God’s power in your daily living?
What difference is it making in your life?
Journal your thoughts, or respond in another way that is meaningful to you.

 

Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you that you are all-powerful. Help me to remember that without you I am vulnerable and weak. As I walk through this day, lead me. Help me to be sensitive to your voice and obedient to your will. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

strong in the Lord

Ruth would like to invite you to join a FREE 10-Day devotional challenge. You will receive 10 free devotionals and access to a private Facebook group to discuss the devotionals, apply them to your life, and pray.

Join the 10 Day Devotional Challenge

strong in the Lord

Ruth L. Snyder resides near Glendon, Alberta, along with her husband and five children. Ruth enjoys writing articles, devotionals, short stories, and Christian fiction. Ruth is Past President of InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship.

Disclaimer:

I haven’t read this book but knowing Ruth and her heart for God, this will be a good one.

It Was the Worst Christmas Break Ever

Children’s Story by Jennifer Waddle

This is the first in 12 posts about authors and their books. Created by Ruth L. Snyder to interest readers. Today we feature Jennifer Waddle’s book Worst Christmas Break Ever!

Jennifer Waddle

What do zombie parents, one-eyed dolls, and leftover lasagna have in common? Find out in this LAUGH-OUT-LOUD Christmas book for kids ages 9-12.

Brad Finkley is an ordinary kid who seems doomed to have the worst Christmas break ever.

This eBook is perfect for your kid’s reading list over Christmas break. Hilarious, funny, and super engaging. Sure to become a family favorite!

Here is a small sample from the book:

I felt a small lurch in my stomach as I looked at all that goopy, white frosting dripping off of the cupcakes. The leftover pizza smelled like stinky feet, so I moved my desk away a few inches.

I closed my eyes and tried to think about nothing, but the song “Ice, Ice, Baby” kept playing over and over in my head, which usually meant I was going to throw up.

My stomach started making noises like an Orca as I miserably wiped my nose on the sleeve of my scratchy sweater.

My teacher, Mr. Will, was trying to get everyone to sing Christmas Carols. He was wearing a Santa Hat that had a dirty looking beard attached to it. (Only the girls were singing.)

Finally, after painfully enduring the seventh round of “Jingle Bells Batman Smells,” our class was dismissed.

It was Christmas break!

 

Jennifer WaddleJennifer Waddle considers herself a Kansas girl, married to a Colorado hunk, with a heart to encourage women everywhere. She is the author of several books, including Prayer WORRIER: Turning Every Worry into Powerful Prayer, and is a regular contributor for LifeWay, Crosswalk, and Abide.

Jennifer’s online ministry is EncouragementMama.com, where you can find her books and sign up for her Encourage Letter, “Discouragement Doesn’t Win.” She resides with her family near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains—her favorite place on earth.

To find out more about Worst Christmas Break Ever please click here. 

Disclaimer:

I have not read this book. But I think one of my grandkids might enjoy it.

I am joining in the Twelve Days of Christmas Author Blog Hop run by Ruth Snyder. Disclaimer: I have not read this book.