Friday, July 3, 2015

Surely Goodness and Mercy Gail Kittleson




A WRITER'S JOURNEY


Back in 1968—FOREVER ago—I graduated from high school knowing I wanted to be a writer. But fear had a huge hold on me. I’d heard about the University of Iowa’s Writers’ Workshop, but could no more attend than I could’ve climbed Mount Everest twice in a week.
That summer, I read Beyond Ourselves by Catherine Marshall, and a puzzle piece slipped into place. Catherine’s reader-friendly style wooed me, and Chapter Six: How To Enter In, made sense ... I needed help in a BIG way.
Sensing a closer connection with God eased my fears somewhat, but a lot more help would come through my college years and after. Bible studies challenged me to believe I was worthy of good things, that “The Plan” for me included joy and fulfillment.
During my first teaching job, one day, I meditated on “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me . . .” That became my goal—to rely on that goodness, for ME—a lifetime challenge.
I wrote sparingly, mostly in secret. After all, who would want to read what I wrote? I earned my M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language, and meeting and marrying my husband solidified the concept that goodness truly did wait out there for me.
But my husband’s first call to Senegal, West Africa, with our two small children, brought old fears to the fore again. 

A care package book urged,  “If you don’t use your gift, you stand to lose it.” That tweaked my writing desire and I submitted a couple of poems.

To my wonderment, both were published, and when we returned to the Midwest, reverse culture shock motivated me to write short social issues texts. Both were accepted, and years later, I co-wrote an English Language Learners manual.
Sporadic at best, my writing history often dismays me. But when I taught Writing 101 and 102 at Eastern Oregon University, a wonderful mentor nominated me to attend the Oregon Summer Writing Workshop, and that led to memoir writing.
You could say I came to fiction writing through the back door. But one theme accompanies my up and down story—I love writing. It may drive me a little crazy at times, but the process sharpens my brain, and is the best “holder-upper” for the worst of times. The whole thing is drenched in grace. What’s not to love? 
I’m still on this journey, and so are my books. My debut novel waits in the wings, just past the second edit—hopefully releasing in 2015. My World War II series gets stronger by the writing minute. The memoir isn’t breaking any sales records, but readers tell me it encourages them and strengthens their own voices.
So there you have it, a love story, when what I write is women’s fiction, not romance. Lol. I'd love to hear how my story resonates with yours. 


                                                                                                                   
Gail has always loved to read, but had no burning desire to write fiction. She was happy instructing 

college expository writing and English as a Second Language, but after she penned a memoir, the 

fiction bug bit her. She's been addicted ever since, with special interest in the World War II era.

She and her husband enjoy life in small-town northern Iowa, their grandchildren, and in winter, the 

Ponderosa forest of Central Arizona. 

Facilitating writing workshops and meeting new friends is the frosting on my cake--please feel free

to contact me however it works for you.

Writing is thinking. It is more than living, for it is being conscious of living. Anne Morrow Lindberg




Tuesday, June 30, 2015

OF THEE I SING





And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God (1 Cor. 2:4-5).





“In the beginning of the contest with Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for the Divine protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered….And have we now forgotten this powerful friend? Or do we imagine that we no longer need his assistance? …. ” I firmly believe this, and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall proceed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel.” 

Benjamin Franklin’s 1787 “Speech to the Convention for Forming a Constitution for the United States”


As our choir rehearses  a cantata for our church’s God and Country Day, July 5, my heart aches. As do many others, I wonder, what has happened to our country. Where are the values we once held with pride? 

Over my lifetime I have seen revolutions, war, protests, and social upheaval. No one in my generation will argue that the America we knew as young people is the America we know today.  Nor was the America I knew in 1965 the America of George Washington. Social change is part of our heritage. Our Constitution bears witness. 



For the better? Some things…yes, while I find it difficult to embrace other reforms. Only God knows our future as a nation, and only He can decipher the true heart of any individual.   

Perhaps we become saddened for our country because we mourn the loss of the standards by which we defined America:  God, Country, Family, Morality, and Justice for all, a work ethic, and a love thy neighbor attitude. 

Perhaps those ideals still exist but are expressed differently than in years past.

 

Perhaps we cannot see them because we are too angry and desperately trying to reverse the tide of change to our comfortable way of life rather than bearing witness of our more natural citizenship, that of the church of Jesus Christ, an ideal beyond a flag or human constitution. 

Perhaps the reason we, as American Christians find current cultural change hard to accept is that we long for a past that will never be again. Fighting hard to turn back the clock drains us of energy to live the life Christ intended us to live, that of salt and light.
 
What we perceive as moral decay is nothing new. Christians in the ancient world struggled with many of the same issues that confront American Christians today. How to be salt and light in a tasteless and dark society? Pointing fingers, ridicule, mentally flogging those with differing views will never change a life or convince a soul of their need for Christ. It didn’t work when the Pilgrims put sinners in stockades. It fails to ostracize today. 

 

However, this is the Truth that marches on and cannot be squelched, Glory Hallelujah:



God has not changed. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. 

The message of the cross still shouts to a hurting world, “Whosoever will, may come.” Redemption’s plan is freely offered to the murderer as well as the glutton, to the sexually impure as well as the liar, to the thief as well as those who covet. God does not grade our sin, for next to His holiness, we all are desperately in need of His Grace.



**The author’s book, The Fifteenth Article, is a futuristic political thriller, a work that addresses a logical evolution of the current societal ideas. It is available for free download from her website: http://www.lindarondeau.com

Friday, June 26, 2015

A HUNGER FOR GOD



MEET LORI HATCHER
here is her story




SPIRITUAL JOURNEY

Lori Hatcher’s hunger for God began when she became a Christian the summer before her freshman year in college. She was eager to learn about God, but didn’t know how to go about it. 

She remembers buying an old Billy Graham discipleship book at a thrift store. Every morning during breakfast she'd read a short section, look up a few Bible verses, and write her answers in the blanks. She's sure she got many answers wrong, but her fledgling attempt helped her learn about God. Thirty-three years later, she still reads her Bible every morning.

THIS BOOK'S JOURNEY

The five-minute devotions in her latest book, Hungry for God ... Starving for Time, Five-Minute Devotions for Busy Women are the results of asking God questions and searching for answers as she reads his Word.

What was the hardest thing about writing Hungry for God? 

“Being transparent,” Lori says. “I was tempted to write as though I had all the answers. Instead, I chose to tell on myself and share my struggles, doubts, and fears.” She also shares the truths from Scripture God revealed to her. 
By connecting with women through the 5-minute devotions she shares in her book and on her blog, Lori’s discovered her passion.
“I led a woman’s Bible study years ago,” Lori says. “One of the questions we answered was, ‘What’s the hardest thing about being a woman?’ We laughed about husbands, and hot flashes, and hormones, but all we agreed that the hardest part of being a woman was trying to be all things to all people.”

“Today’s women are running too fast, trying too hard, and stretched too thin


Often, our time with God gets squeezed out. That’s why I wrote Hungry for God . . . Starving for Time, to give women a resource to help them connect with God in the craziness of life. I want to help them realize that spending even five minutes a day with the Lord can change your life.”
Lori Hatcher is an author, blogger, and women’s ministry speaker. She’s the editor of South Carolina’s Reach Out, Columbia magazine, and has authored two devotional books, Hungry for God … Starving for Time, Five-Minute Devotions for Busy Women and  Joy in the Journey – Encouragement for Homeschooling Moms. A Toastmasters International Competent Communicator and Christian Communicators graduate, she uses her speaking and writing ministry to encourage and equip women live in the fullness of Jesus Christ. You’ll find her pondering the marvelous and the mundane on her blog, Hungry for God. . . Starving for Time . When she’s not writing, she’s taking long walks with her rescue dog, Winston, eating Trader Joe’s chocolate covered almonds, or hanging out with her pastor husband. She’d love to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter (@LoriHatcher2), or Pinterest (Hungry for God).



Link to purchase: http://amzn.to/1x39tq8