BEING A GIVER
“And Peter said, ‘Silver and gold have I none, but such that I have give I thee.” Acts 3:6a
Good day, dear readers! This Texan has survived a beautiful white adventure—more snow at my home than I’ve ever seen in my life with its power outages–and now the spring is here! My favorite time of the year as all that is gray and barren comes to life, covered by my favorite color green!
I’ve written before about being blessed and highly favored, and I am, but that doesn’t mean that I’m a millionaire. Ron and I have been on the edge financially most of our lives, but we’ve known the love of our Father in Heaven, family, and friends. Holy Spirit has revealed to us how to walk free from fear and worry in God’s sweet peace that passes all understanding!
Side note: Trust is the key to His peace, knowing He is on the throne and in control and simply trusting Him.
But what I want to talk about today is giving. God has given us all something—like the widow with her two mites. Mark 12:42 When there’s barely enough in your bank account to pay the utility bills or the mortgage, you still have something to give. Peter said flat out he didn’t have money to give, but he gave of what he had—the power of Jesus’ name to heal that lame man!
Side note: I have visions of one day laying hands on a service man whose leg(s) were blown off and seeing them grow out whole and new. Jesus said the things He did and greater!
In the past, and still today, I have prayed for Abba to give me the opportunity to BE a blessing. I haven’t always had money to give, but God’s given me so much knowledge in these past few years and let my brain retain it, so I’ve been able to “give” by helping new authors, teaching them what I’ve learned, warning them of pitfalls I’ve had along the way, and encouraging them.
Sometimes I give by sharing information of editors, formatters, proofreaders, and book cover designers I know to be reputable and reasonable. We all have our time we can give. One time about six years ago, I saw a new company I hadn’t seen before, its creator posted on its arrival in our Christian community to help authors promote their books. To be a blessing that day, I shared the post on my wall.
Facebook notified the lady—who I didn’t know—and she contacted me to thank me for sharing. She seemed very grateful that a stranger had shared her post, helped her. Of course, I didn’t share it to “get something back,” but from that little act of kindness I was rewarded with such a great blessing as she wanted to make my new title at the time JUST KIN (book six in the Texas Romance Family Saga) her first ‘blog tour!’ Still so new to the publishing game, I didn’t even know what a blog tour was then! 😊
Since that first blog tour, I’ve promoted every one of my titles with Celebrate Lit and participated in almost all of the promotional events owner/operator Sandy Barela, now a dear friend and sweet sister in the Lord I love, has dreamed up! She’d be the first to give God the glory; she hears Him so well! I promote Celebrate Lit now in the back of all my books in my “Favorite Places” and pray I can repay the great blessings God’s given me through this lovely lady!
Just a minute of my time to share Sandy’s first post, God used to bless me beyond measure. It’s a Biblical principle, you know, reaping what is sown. (Galatians 6:7 “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”) And it’s been my experience that our Father always does exceedingly above and beyond anything I could have imagined.
“Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” Luke 6:38
This is just one example of giving what I had and helping and being rewarded as He promises again and again. He saw me loving my neighbor as myself. I would love for strangers to share my promotional posts, too! I know God used that, as He’s used the work of Sandy’s hands to bless me. I had no idea when I clicked that post and later shared my knowledge of the publishing industry with her that “I” would be blessed. I was only trying to BE a blessing!
Our tithes belong to the Lord, but that is a whole ‘nother post testifying to what God will do in your life when you give Him what is due off the top. .
What do you have to give?
In my March 6th release TEXAS TRAILS (book six in the Cross Timbers Romance Family Saga series), my hero Enoch Lowell has a gift that he’s very generous with; it’s the ability to see opportunities to make a profit buying and selling. He’s always bringing others in . . . his best friend Gus, friends at school, even his girlfriend and brother!
TEXAS TRAILS is a cattle drive story of cutting apron strings and keeping promises. I’m certain you’ll enjoy it—even if you haven’t read the first five! It’s written as a standalone as all my novels are! And they almost all in Kindle Unlimited as well, so if you’re a member, you can read them all free!
I’ve arranged for TEXAS TEARS to be free for all the #BecauseFiction readers this month. It’s book three in the Cross Timbers Romance Family Saga series!
Here’s the back cover copy: Behold how good and pleasant it is to dwell together in unity.
As Mexico and the United States both wanted the Republic of Texas, best friends Charity and Arlene want the same man! Which will the Texicans choose? Who will the man? Will Eberhart de Vechhi, the object of the young ladies’ desires, follow his heart or his mother’s advice? And what of the interloper from New Orleans who knows exactly whom he loves? Only the Lord knows the future, but He does give the desires of the heart to those who delight in Him.
Linda Brooks Davis
Humility: Scarce as Hen’s Teeth
Ever spent time considering chickens? Neither have I. Until now.
Not long ago, I participated in a Bible study seeking a deeper understanding of the Holy Spirit. One lesson was subtitled “God wants to dwell among humble people.” Our discussions stimulated, challenged, and sometimes surprised me. It made me sit up and consider the Holy Spirit in a new way, particularly in the light of humility.
Which brings me back to chickens.
I fed a slew of the fowls as a girl. My farmer father would wring their necks. Mother would cut them up in a specific way so we could have a pulley-bone pullin’. And then she’d fry them—hearts, gizzards, necks, and livers too—crisp on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside.
Chickens bring to mind not only Sunday dinner but something else too. Sometimes referred to as personality, this characteristic of chickens suggests a definite lack of humility.
Hens can be downright unneighborly, squawking and flapping and pecking at a girl just trying to gather eggs. And those roosters … Mercy, roosters are a force to be reckoned with. Tread softly, very softly, in the chicken yard, ya’ll. Those claws can do some real damage.
I’ve noticed hens’ and roosters’ body parts from heads to feet and tail feathers. But I have yet to find a single tooth. Teeth are scarce in a chicken yard, and so is humility. But if you can ever find such a creature, she won’t peck a hole in a girl’s hand just for reaching for an egg. A contrite rooster won’t flog a boy who’s come to the chicken yard to scatter feed. Nor will a meek Main Mama strut her tail feathers before the other girls just because she out-lays every other hen in the yard.
Women are sometimes referred to as a bunch of hens. Or their laughter as cackling. I’d like to think some dour old rooster first came up with such unflattering comparisons, but if the metaphor fits, girls, we’ll wear it. You too, boys.
Speaking of wearing unflattering comparisons, the foul-dispositioned chicken/rooster/bad pun metaphor sometimes fits us humans. (Settle down now. No ruffled feathers allowed.) In the publishing business, for example, a well-intentioned question or improperly submitted query can spark a fluttering of wings at best and a flogging of the tongue at the worst. The same can be said of other fields, of course. Name it, and you’ll likely find the humility-lacking school administrator, business manager, politician, salesperson, service worker, teen, sibling, or parent.
Why? Often, it’s due to pressures, which abound in every sort of chicken yard—office buildings, markets, schools, churches, and homes. While the lowly pullets are struggling to learn and grow and peck and squawk like the big folks, the new mothers are hesitant, guarded, even irritable. And the old folks can be just plain grumpy.
But let a newcomer strut into the yard wearing a “Grade A” badge (or looking plain measly, for that matter), and the others stop and stare. If the badge-less one dares to ask where she’s to “set” or he, where to strut, Mr. Ruling Rooster and Mrs. Main Mama sharpen their claws. After all, those two have been around awhile and enjoy a following, so they figure they can let fly some barbs. Even in their blogs.
Perhaps prideful Mr. Rooster and busier-than-anyone-else Main Mama should take a step back and consider the setting hen over in the corner, the one who’s trying her best to lay that first egg. Or the young mama who laid an egg, but it rolled and splatted on the ground. And don’t overlook the hen house veteran who produces nests full of eggs but never a chick, but she keeps trying.
If Mr. and Mrs. Exalted Success Story take a look in the mirror, they won’t find they’ve grown teeth, but maybe—just maybe—they’ll find egg on their faces and uncover some humility.
Could be we all need a strong dose of humility, chicken yard or nay. Excuse me while I dab at a spot of egg on my face.
Linda Shenton Matchett
Inventions that Turn the Tide
Accuracy is crucial for any author, but particularly so for writers of historical fiction to ensure that an anachronism-a thing belonging or appropriate to a period other than that in which it exists-doesn’t occur and draw the reader out of the story.
Wartime is a difficult period, but because “necessity is the mother of invention,” can also be a season of great technological advancements. As I research the 1930s and 1940s for my World War II books, I’m often surprised to discover an invention that occurred during this pivotal era of history. Here are just a few of them:
Radar: Rumors in the British government indicated the Nazis were on their way to completing a “death ray,” a weapon that could obliterate towns, cities, and people. Desperate to know whether the Germans were capable of building such a weapon, Britain’s Committee for the Scientific Survey of Air Defence also wondered whether they might be able to construct one themselves. CSSAD pulled together the country’s academic minds who worked for months to no avail. One of the lead scientists, Robert Watson-Watt who determined that electromagnetic radiation could detect clouds was asked if the research could be used to kill enemy pilots. The emphatic answer was no, but the magnetrons could be used to detect planes, just like clouds, as many as one hundred miles away, thus allowing the Royal Air Force to be in the sky and waiting for the Luftwaffe.
Pressurized aircraft cabin: The quintessential photo of a WWII pilot shows a good-looking man in a leather helmet, goggles, fur-lined boots, leather gloves, and wool coveralls with a silk scarf at the neck to prevent chafing as the pilot constantly swiveled his neck during flight. The reason for the heavy outerwear was the sub-zero temperatures experienced in the air. It was not until 1944, the B29 bomber was introduced with an experimental system that provided a pressurized cockpit, nose, and shaft leading along the aircraft to the unpressurized launch bays.
Aerosol can: The first metal aerosol spray cans were being tested as early as 1862, but apparently were too bulky to be commercially successful. Sixty five years would pass before a Norwegian engineer devised a can that could hold and dispense products. In 1943, Department of Agriculture researchers developed a small aerosol can that could be pressurized with liquefied gas (a fluorocarbon) as a portable system to spray pesticide on malaria-carrying insects. This design made products like hair spray possible.
Synthetic rubber and oil: Rubber was a vital material in war materiel. However, by 1942 the Japanese had seized the Dutch East Indies and the Malay Peninsula, cutting off the U.S. supply of natural rubber. In an unprecedented spirit of cooperation, businesses such as Firestone, Goodyear, Goodrich, and US Rubber company, which had all been working on different formulas for synthetic rubber, agreed to share patents and scientific information to solve the nation’s rubber crisis. As a result, by 1944 facilities were producing around 800,000 tons of synthetic rubber annually.
Super Glue: Dr. Harry Coover worked for Eastman-Kodak, and in 1942 was tasked with finding a clear plastic that could be used to create precision gunsights. He and his team researched numerous chemicals known as cyanoacrylates. One chemical mixture bonded so strongly it was difficult to separate. Considered a failure the team moved on to other chemicals, but years later Dr. Coover would resurrect the project as an adhesive.
Duct Tape: An Illinois mom named Vesta Stoudt, who had two sons serving in the U.S. Navy, worked at the Green River Ordnance Plant. She noticed that the boxes of ammunition she packed and inspected had a flaw. They were sealed with paper tape, with a tab to open them. The box was dipped in wax to make it waterproof, but the paper tape was very thin, and the tabs often tore off, leaving soldiers frantically trying to open the box while under fire. Mrs. Stoudt had the idea to create waterproof cloth tape, but her supervisors weren’t interested in her suggestion, so she sent a letter to President Roosevelt outlining the problem and her solution, complete with diagrams! Impressed, he passed her letter to the War Production Board who contacted Mrs. Stoudt to let her know her idea had been approved. Johnson & Johnson was selected to make the product.
Which of these items surprised you as having been developed during WWII?
The year 2020, among other things, marked the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in the United States. But when the 19th amendment was passed, it wasn’t the first time women were allowed to vote.
Colorado was more than twenty years ahead of its time. There, women had been allowed to vote for 27 years already. In November 1893, by a vote of 35,698 to 29,462, the people of Colorado approved a woman’s right to vote, making it the first state in the Union to do so. This unprecedented move was made possible in large part by three influential female newspaper writers – Caroline Nichols Churchill, Elizabeth Ensley, and Ellis Meredith. Because these women were such good writers, they were able to change men’s minds and influence the vote.
Of course, in addition to the 35,000 that voted in favor of the measure, almost 30,000 voted against it, leaving some ill will and animosity toward women. And though some newspaperwomen wielded a great deal of influence, many others continued to fight for their rights.
And that’s what colored my writing of my soon-to-be-released romantic suspense, The Silver Shadow. The heroine, Polly Blythe, is an intrepid young newspaper reporter in Denver in 1900, determined to prove to her abusive father and her condescending boss that women are as valuable as men. The Shadow, the story’s villain, is a man who has been hurt by his wife and wants to teach all women a lesson about their place in society.
The story explores where we, both men and women, truly find our worth and how both sexes are precious in God’s sight. Based on true events, it’s a story infused with hope, love, and triumph over evil. The Silver Shadow is now available for preorder.
Marguerite Martin Gray
The Surprises on Bookshelves
What books are on your bookshelves? How do you organize your books? If I close my eyes, I imagine my ideal personal library: ceiling to floor bookshelves on all walls in a library with a rolling ladder like in Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.” A true fairytale dream! What surprises I would find there! But even with my shelves I’m surrounded by special, sweet, surprises every day.
My reality consists of a small office with one wall of ten-foot shelves packed with some of my most cherished books written by dear author friends, past and present. In other parts of the house, I have an antique bookcase with glass, rollback panes where I house my old books or collections such as Jane Austen or Shakespeare. But back in my comfy office with my writing desk and research materials, I’m surrounded by my beloved books connecting all my senses.
Even though, right now, I write historical fiction, I have all genres on my shelves. Have you ever wondered where your favorite authors nestle on the shelves? Where would your name be? All authors are in great company. Look at my pictures and see if you find familiar authors. I’ll share a few:
Gs: Gentry, Gohlke, Graham, Gray, Gregory, Greene, Griep, Grisham, Grunst, Gunn. Wow I’m in great company!!!
Ss: Schamel, Shakespeare, Shiloh, Shriver, Sienes, Skatvold
Hs: Hannah, Hauck, Havig, Hedlund, Helm, Hemingway, Higgs, Hile, Holmes, Hunt, Hunter
Ws: Weir, Wangard, Wardwell, K. White, R. White, Willig, Whitson, Wilson, Witemeyer, Woodhouse
If you want to add a good historical series to your shelves, try Revolutionary Faith. Book Five Wait for Me was released February 9 and is my giveaway for this month.
Happy book shelf browsing!
Misty M. Beller
For the Love of Series (or Revisiting Old Friends)
Occasionally I hear readers debate about whether they prefer to read a series of books from an author, or only standalone novels. Personally, I love series—both reading and writing them. There’s something about seeing characters I know and love from past books that makes me warm and happy inside. Can you relate?
One of the first series I wrote, The Mountain Series, included five books that told the stories of several families intertwined through marriage and God’s connections. Those characters are still so dear to my heart! When book 5 ended, I had so many readers ask for more in the series, I began dreaming of another book with a very special connection to the hero in book 5. I ended up writing 12 books in this series!
I’ve LOVED every story in this series, taking each journey with the characters as I laughed and cried and uncovered their secrets. For the final book, I thoroughly enjoyed reuniting many of the characters from some of the earlier books series! Simeon Grant (from This Treacherous Journey) goes on a journey to find the son he gave up for adoption as an infant (the hero in The Lady and the Mountain Call).
This Healing Journey has its own leading lady, Hannah Grant (the baby born at the end of This Treacherous Journey, all grown up and as tough as any lady raised in the Canadian mountain wilderness). And a new character, Nathaniel Peak, who stars as the hero (and who I fell in love with IMMEDIATELY!).
I’m excited to share this book was a USA Today bestseller during its first week after release. Even if you’ve never read any of my stories, I think you’ll enjoy this one. Especially if you love adventurous mountain stories as much as I do!
Wild Heart Books
The Story Behind A Heart’s Gift
I’ve been a lover of history for decades. In college and graduate school, all my elective courses were history. Of course, I chose the countries and eras I wanted to learn about. When I began writing novels, my first one was a contemporary story. After that at least 75% or more of my novels have been historical, from 1805 through the early 20th century.
I’ve always been fascinated by the relationship between Joseph and Mary the mother of Jesus. The Bible doesn’t give us a lot of information about their relationship. But by his actions, we can assume that Joseph believed the angel and Mary about her baby. He didn’t do the usual thing and put her away quietly. Instead, he protected her, and from the day He was born, he became the earthly father of Jesus. I’ve often thought about what that meant for Joseph and for Mary. When I wrote a story of a marriage between a man and a single mother, I used the emotions that I feel God has revealed to me about their relationship.
The first time I read a marriage of convenience novel, I loved it. And I’ve read quite a few. I’ve also written a few. A Heart’s Gift is one of them. This book was an easy and interesting book to write.
I’m what’s called in the industry a seat-of-the-pants author, more or less. I do have the complete outline of the story in my head. When I sit down to write, I know where I’m going, but I don’t have every single scene plotted out as some authors do. And I pray a lot. During the time I’m writing a book, God drops ideas into my mind. Not just while I’m writing, but other times, too. That’s the exciting thing about writing. This keeps it fresh for me.
During the writing of A Heart’s Gift, there’s a place where I just stopped and said, “God, what am I going to do now?” When you get there, you’ll know what scene I mean, but I don’t want to give a spoiler.
I never dreamed that the book would turn into a suspense novel in the last quarter of the book, but God knew. And it made it a better book.