Just a quick note today, but I didn't want you to miss this.
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I've been writing a while now, it seems. (See all my various weights and hair-styling attempts in the pics, LOL). We have a lot of new friends here, so I wanted to share again about why I started writing over the next few posts. If you've heard it before, or you're only interested in the fun book deals, you can always skip to the bottom of this page. I won't care one bit!
Twenty-seven years ago, a car ran a red light and crashed into the vehicle I was a passenger in.
I was pregnant with my daughter. Time seemed to move in slow motion as I watched the car careening toward us. I kept looking at the light, thinking: It’s green, it’s green, they’re going to stop. My head was turned to watch as the other car came closer to impact. I saw the other driver’s head turned. He was talking to his passenger. I felt our car speed up as thankfully my elderly father somehow noticed the car and pressed the gas. (I believe that was a miracle.) If not, the accident would’ve have been much worse.
The other car never pressed the brakes and crashed into the back door and trunk of our car. I was in front passenger seat, my mother was on the passenger side back seat. Thank the Lord.
We landed an inch away from a telephone pole in the yard of a fire station.
I left in an ambulance, due to neck pain, but my fear was for my unborn child.
She’s twenty seven now and fine, but what I didn’t know would stay with me beside some aggravating neck problems after that wreck …. was anxiety.
I began feeling tremendous anxiety in vehicles. And eventually began having panic attacks on the interstate while driving, which was odd because my wreck wasn’t on an interstate. But somehow the wreck triggered something in my brain that had to do with the fight or flight mode.
This was an acute stress response.
I’d heard of panic attacks on a news show and thought, that’s silly. Just do whatever it is, and go on with life. But that judgement (like so many I’ve made) came back to bite me.
This issue that I thought was silly became a problem I would deal with for the rest of my life. So far.
I’m a person who tends to be open. I am what I am. This is it. I’m open about the problem. I joke with my friends about the fact that if we’re going somewhere requiring us to drive on the interstate, we can take my car, but I’m not going to be the one to drive.
Because I’ve shared about my anxiety issue, over the years I’ve met a lot of people who confided that they too had panic attacks, or suffered from depression, bipolar, or some other disorder.
What I found that hurt my heart almost worse was that, not only did these people suffer from some disorder that in and of itself was miserable, they also suffered from shame because of it. Embarrassment. The feeling that no one would understand. That people would think, like I used to, they should just get over it. People like me before I had suffered my own first panic attack.
So I had a crazy idea. (Probably crazy idea number eight-million-five-hundred-two.)
I wanted to write a story that showed no matter what our weakness or problem or disorder, we are all still useful in God’s kingdom, in our families, and in our community. We can be a part of doing good things even while we are still suffering.
Sometimes we just have to accept ourselves and look outside of our issue that’s plaguing us. Look outside and see how we can be a good friend, a good family member, a listening ear, a volunteer— do a job that we can do. And know that God loves us.
I'll let that be part one of how I started to write.
As always, if you have a prayer request, you can simply reply to this email.
And for the book fun!
I joined this Christian Book Giveaway with other Christian authors. (Note: I haven't read all of these books.)
Christian eBook & Paperback Giveaway!(2) Winners of eBook "Gift Baskets of ALL ebooks pictured!
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One short chapter tells Tamar’s bizarre story.
Tamar’s husband, Er, was the son of Judah. He was a man so awful that God did away with him. Likewise, his brother Onan who was supposed to give Tamar a child in his brother’s place. He did not want to give her a child for selfish reasons. I read that the firstborn’s heir would receive a double portion. Having a child—a son—provided for the widow, as women didn’t have many rights or avenues to care for their own financial needs at this time, so Onan was sleeping with her but refusing to provide for her. God got rid of him too.
Judah had one son left, and he didn’t want to take any chances on letting Tamar around this one, lest he lose him too. So he’s blaming Tamar instead of his wicked sons? What had happened to turn these early descendants of Abraham so evil already? Likely, the pagan culture nearby. God had warned them about hanging out with the Canaanites who practiced idolatry and the abhorrent practices that went along with their worship.
Judah sends Tamar home to her father’s house to wait until his son is old enough to provide a child. So for years, she’s dressed as a widow, unable to remarry—a childless woman with nothing.
Tamar takes matters into her own hands when she realizes that Judah is going to ignore his duty. Here we go again. We women do tend to go this way, don’t we? She might have asked God to intervene somehow, but instead, she dressed as a prostitute, face covered, and waited for Judah to pass. Her father-in-law was widowed, so he took the bait, leaving his calling cards—his seal, cord and staff—as a promise to send her back a kid (a goat). I had to laugh at the wording in English of the bargain, since he’s offering a kid goat, rather an actual kid son.
Ironically, when he hears Tamar is pregnant, having prostituted herself, he thinks she should be killed. Burned even. Double standard, for sure. Then she nails him with the truth. He was the man she’d been with. The child inside her was his. He finally admits he was the one in the wrong.
Wow, this is a gross story to me. How about you?
Yet, God doesn’t shy away from the nitty gritty of real life in his Word, making it much more believable. The Bible is not a fairytale. This is a story of a woman being done wrong and an early quest for social justice. Tamar ends up having twins, and this woman is also in the lineage of Jesus.
France Rivers has a wonderful historical fiction series about the women in Christ’s ancestry if you’re interested in reading more and putting yourselves in their place. Of course, I love reading biblical fiction and that may not be your thing.
What are your thoughts on this weird story?
I love hearing your take!
What would it be like to be the other sister? Not the pretty one with the lovely figure like Rachel. But Leah, the one with weak eyes. The one no one wants to marry. The one who was sent, veiled, into a dark tent to a man who did not desire her.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve felt unattractive and unwanted at different spaces in my life. I’ve felt awkward and out of the loop. Un-chosen. Not because of my sisters, but maybe there was that other girl or woman who seemed to have it all together. She didn’t have to watch everything she ate to have a flat stomach. She didn’t fight hair that frizzed in the Mississippi humidity. She seemed to sail through life with a perfect smile and with a perfect family and that gaggle of friends always there to support her.
Don’t we all know someone who appears that way? Especially now with social media!
Genesis 29:31 said that God saw Leah was not loved and enabled her to conceive. God saw her. He sees us too. Then Leah went and named her son Reuben and said “It is because the Lord has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now.”
Good grief, Leah!
Is it just me, or were Leah and Rachel totally trying to depend on their husband to find their worth?? My husband is a good man, but friends, I have to find my worth in the Lord or I’d drive myself nuts! Truth. And another thing I’ve found is that men and women communicate differently. When I want to spill my worries and guts for a good long talk, I call one of my women friends who will just listen. It’s so sad that Leah and Rachel weren’t there for each other.
Though never feeling loved, Leah ended up being the mother of Judah who was in the lineage of Christ. We don’t know who we could be influencing with our lives, despite believing we are unwanted or un-chosen. So, friends, let’s not dwell on what we don’t have. Instead, let’s praise God for what we do have and encourage each other along our journey.
What are your thoughts on Leah? Any guesses what is meant by weak or tender eyes?
I'm still slowly doing my study of Women in the Bible. If you want to receive all the posts I make about them, just leave a comment, and I'll add you to a special email group. This week, I'm taking a fresh look at Rachel.
Thoughts on Rachel
What would it be like to be forced to share a husband with your sister? I mean siblings can have enough squabbles over borrowed earrings and clothes, right? And to make matters worse, it had not been the sisters’ choice to share Jacob, but a trick perpetrated by their own father. Not a good start for a marriage.
Jacob and Rachel met at a well, much like Rebecca had been found at a well by Abraham’s servant. Only this time was different in that the bride groom, Jacob, saw her for himself. Genesis 29 says he kissed Rachel and wept aloud. That is not how most men display their emotions these days. Jacob quickly fell in love with the shapely and beautiful Rachel and was willing to work seven years to gain her hand. A long time to be engaged. A long time to wait.
Then the deception came, when Laban sent a different veiled daughter into the dark wedding tent.
And the morning after, the bitterness began. A father had broken the hearts of both his daughters.
Rachel’s sister bore children quickly, and even better during those days, Leah bore sons. Barren, Rachel was so jealous of her sister, she demands to Jacob, “Give me children, or I’ll die!” As if he could! There may be a bit of a drama queen coming out of the pretty girl, but again, infertility is a tough emotional journey for a woman.
Like Sarah, Rachel took matters into her own hand, rather than trusting God, and she forced her servant to become a surrogate. (Surely, she’d heard the sad story about Hagar and Ishmael?) Yet, more sibling competition ensued. Leah followed that lead, giving a servant too.
Finally, Rachel had a child, through God’s doing and not her own. Then Jacob began planning to take his family back home. Through fierce bargaining and God’s help, he finally gathers the large crew and his belonging and slips out of town. Only, Rachel decides to steal some of her father’s idols, bringing her father Laban hot on their trail. Then she lied and hid the things in a rather unsavory fashion. Of course, she’d learned trickery from from the best.
Rachel’s last act in life was delivering another son, and the birth process literally killed her. I feel sorry for Rachel. She never seemed to be truly happy, despite her husband’s great love for her.
One of the phrases I’ve tried to teach my kids and myself is: Joy should not be dependent on our circumstance. It’s not always so simple as it sounds, but life is much more tolerable when we allow God to be our source of Joy.
What are your thoughts on Rachel?
This week I'm highlighting my fellow Mississippi author and friend Stephenia H. McGee's free book! Check it out! Amazon
Here's Stephenia and I at one of our brainstorming sessions. Always plotting, ha!
I hope the month of August is a good one for you! Don't plant any strange seeds from the mail, LOL!
As always, if you have a prayer request, send me a message on my contact form.
Virtual hugs and blessings,
Hello Dear Friends!
I was thrilled last night to hear that my novel The Art of Rivers won The Faith, Hope, Love Reader's Choice Award for Long Contemporary!! This novel was a true journey of the heart, with God teaching me so much along the way!! To Him be all glory!
I want to thank you all for your support too!! Authors often struggle with wondering if we're just wasting a whole lot of time.
Congrats to all the winners and finalists!
My novel Tackling the Fields is free on Amazon until Sunday if you've never read it or would like to tell a friend! Word of mouth is one of the best ways to share about a book you like!
Speaking of sharing about books, you can get my friend's novel free with her newsletter https://www.subscribepage.com/heidimccahan-newoptin
Have you read a great book lately?
2020 has still been crazy, we all know. Just remember that God was not caught off guard. I finished working at the Mississippi Legislature for a while. They actually had to take a break again due to over 40 members testing positive, so keep them in your prayers.
The good news is I traveled (was super careful) and spent a bit of time with my family. Here are a few pics of me and my sisters, my daughter and my grand-dog, and the beach with full moon.
It was so nice to see them again!
I always finished proofing The Art of Rivers Audio edition, and I have a few free codes. Reply to this post, and I will send you one, until I run out.
More book news! I'm almost finished with the first draft of my new novel!! Until then, my sweet author friends have some great books!
Misty Beller's novel Freedom in the Mountain Wind is on sale for only 99 cents for the next few days!
Jennifer Rodewald has a new book In Spite of Ourselves on preorder for 99 cents. It releases on the 28th!
Check them out!! And let me know if you have a prayer request.
Blessings in Him,
Hi friends! Sorry I've been out of touch. I finished work at the Mississippi Capitol for a while, then I went to visit family. I'm back on track with my little Bible study.
Thoughts on Rebekah
Their love story starts in Genesis 24
Willing to dip water for a stranger and his camels, Rebekah’s journey started out so well. She wouldn’t even allow her tricky brother Laban keep her from leaving the next day with Abraham’s servant to marry a man she’d never met. (She accepted a nose ring too. Apparently, those things have been around a long time.) The Bible says Rebekah comforted Isaac over the death of his mother Sarah. Such a beautiful story of love.
But then life’s problems set in. Famine again. Isaac asked Rebekah to pretend to be his sister, just as his father had, when they traveled. Infertility struggle came for this couple also--for twenty years. At least Rebekah didn’t make Sarah’s mistake of using a surrogate. Isaac prayed for Rebekah, and she finally conceived. But the children were warring twins even in her womb. They would continue to battle for most of their lives.
Okay, my kids have had their share of sibling rivalry, but it’s nothing compared to these two. Part of the problem seems to be that Isaac and Rebekah played favorites, each preferring one twin over the other.
Rebekah didn’t trust God or Isaac to put Jacob in the place of leadership, so she planned a huge deception on her dying husband. Sadly, because of her deception, she had to send Jacob off, and she likely never got to see him again before her death.
Rebekah's story is another reminder for me to trust God, be honest with my husband, and be fair with my family.
What are your thoughts?
A few years ago, I tried writing a couple of short stories. Here is one of them. Let me know what you think!
Lilly Andrews rolled her luggage onto the train platform in Meridian, Mississippi. At thirty-years-old, you’d think she’d have enough sense to buy a decent vehicle. Smoke spewing from the hood of her SUV on the side of the road said otherwise. Artists weren’t always known for their business skills. Good thing her canvases had shipped to the gallery in Atlanta already. After the car fiasco, taking the train the rest of the way to the Georgia metropolis sounded like fun.
Except now muggy air swarmed her as she waited her turn to board. Long and silver, the Crescent rolled into the depot majestically and seemed to whisper stories of a bygone era. Lilly’s imagination buzzed with ideas as she took in the backdrop. What great scenery they might pass along the ride. She had her sketch pad, and her fingers already itched to get to work.
But like a bulldozer set on destruction, one thought collapsed her budding enthusiasm. It’d happened not too many miles from here… Had it been ten years? The only man she’d ever loved had said goodbye and walked away.
Her heart had never recovered.
Warren Matthews grabbed the ticket at the reservation window, his hand still shaking from the near miss. He’d had a lot of close calls when he was in the Marines, but the small plane’s crash landing he’d just escaped had his life flashing before his eyes. As the plane plummeted toward the ground and he relived moments from the past, one face stood out. Lilly Andrews. But he’d burned that bridge ten years ago. When his father had skipped town leaving his mother owing multiple creditors on a failed business, joining the military had been his only option to help. He’d left college hoping to serve his time and come back to get a degree with government dollars. But he couldn’t ask Lilly to wait for him. She’d come from money, and she deserved to move on with her life.
The sun blinded him as he stepped out of the station onto the sidewalk, and he slipped on his aviator sunglasses. Steamy heat billowed up from the ground. Talk about hot. He’d been all over the world between the military and his consulting business, but Mississippi still claimed top spot for highest humidity on the planet.
Let’s go, already.
Taking the train seemed like the perfect way to relax on his way back to the office in Atlanta. He wasn’t in the mood to rent a car and drive. He crossed under an awning and out onto the wide concrete platform. The train waited, but they still hadn’t loaded. What could they be waiting on? Didn’t they see people were melting? He scanned the crowd, but his eyes stopped when they reached striking red hair. It couldn’t be. But so few people had hair that color. He could only see her back, but the height, the frame, they all looked right.
Without permission, his feet started a path toward the one woman he’d never been able to forget.
Lost in thought, the tap on her shoulder made Lilly’s heart skip. When she turned, her pulse stopped altogether. Along with her breathing and ability to reason. Warren? Was she dreaming?
“I saw your hair.” His voice still held the same light Southern drawl. He blinked hard and shook his head. “I mean, I thought it was you from behind. No. Wait. I mean it looked like…” One side of his mouth lifted into a smirk. “It’s good to see you again.” His brown eyes held hers.
Lilly couldn’t stop a chuckle despite the ache in her chest. “Good to see you, too.”
Now they’d have to catch up, and she’d no doubt have to hear about his wife and kids. Then tell him she was still single, leaving him to figure out she’d never found someone else to love.
“So, how are you? What are you doing now? Got family?” His gaze searched her face. “Answer any of the above.” He grinned. “I seem to be having trouble communicating.”
Oh goodness, he was still adorable. Lilly returned a smile. “I’m an artist, on my way to a showing. No family. Except my parents.”
His eyes widened. “Me, too.”
“You’re an artist?”
“No.” He laughed. “I’m still single. You see, there was this girl I never got over. Her name was Lilly. You might know her?” His voice held a question.
Her heart sped up. Could this be real? “I do know her. She’s still here, pining over the one guy she ever loved.”
The whistle blew. Warren’s fingers brushed hers. This time they’d board the train together and maybe...just maybe…come out safe at the end of the line.
I hope you enjoyed :) Let me know how you're doing and if you have a prayer request. I'm working hard on my next book, meanwhile, all my titles are still discounted for the time being.
Here's the Amazon link: Amazon
Lot’s wife (Genesis 19)
Her husband had chosen to live in a wealthy fertile land, but a land filled with evil, so wicked that the Lord couldn’t find any righteous men other than Lot. What a place to raise their two daughters. Especially in that city. Had Lot and his family grown accustomed to the sin around them? I think about what’s streamed into our homes on our screens. Day after day we are bombarded by some pretty sinful messages through the media. Have I also become jaded over sin that should turn my stomach?
Lot invited strangers into his home without consulting Mrs. Lot (since we don’t have her name), so she must have been accustomed to being a hostess on the spot—something I’m terrible at! I wonder what horror Mrs. Lot felt as raucous men surrounded her house demanding to have their way with their guests who were actually angels sent from God. The crowd became such a riot that Lot offered their daughters to pacify them, although the men did not accept the offer. Can’t say I would have gone along with the husband on that one either.
The night must have been terrifying. Imagine the raucous noise as the angels dragged them from the city after blinding the men who were beating down the door.
“Flee for your lives. Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain.” These were the angels’ instructions before God rained burning sulfur down on Lot's former home.
If I imagine a volcano spewing down on the city where I live and running for my life, my heart thumps a little harder. What would I feel in Mrs. Lot’s place? Did she remember something she really wanted to bring along? Some treasured possession? Was she just wanting to see what was happening? Would I have looked back? Oh how curious I can be, like a rubbernecker at an accident. I’m afraid I might have been like Lot’s wife, but I’m praying now that I follow His instructions instead!
Whether from curiosity or sadness for losing everything in her home, Lot’s wife chose to look back, and in the end, lost her life because of it.
Jesus mentioned Lot in the New Testament book of Luke, Chapter 17. He’s talking about the coming kingdom.
Verse 30-32 “It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. On that day no one who is on the housetop, with possessions inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything. Remember Lot’s wife!
Maybe she did want to go back for some possession after all? I don’t know, but I ask God now, please don’t let me be like Lot’s wife! Let me keep my focus ahead, not behind, and keep my mind on what’s truly important.
What are your thoughts?
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Under the Southern Sun
Janet W. Ferguson