Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thankful Thursday: Simple blessings

It’s Thursday and I am thankful for simple blessings. 

Simple blessings are the things you take for granted in life such as the ability to: move without an aide, walk without stumbling, breathe without needing an oxygen tank, see with both eyes (with or without glasses, contacts or perfect 20/20 vision), hear with both ears without an hearing aide or cochlear implant…and the list goes on! There are so many simple things in life that we all can take for granted because we use them freely each day and it is for these simple blessings today that I am most thankful. 

Earlier this morning, I covered an event called the "Special Olympics" for a newspaper. It took place inside an expansive school building equipped with classrooms, a gym, cafeteria and something that you won’t find in most public elementary schools—an indoor pool. 

But it wasn’t the grand title of today’s event that made the day special, it was the children. All the beautiful, sweet children who were dealing with so much more than anyone would ever want to face. These kids had all sorts of disabilities—from autism to Down’s Syndrome—and I could see them struggling in their illness yet trying to simply be a kid and enjoy the day’s activities…and my heart broke. My spirit was humbled as I observed the multitude of children gathering in the gym with their adult aides, some in wheel chairs, some barely able to walk, some with helmets on their heads and other special aides…it was heartbreaking in the truest sense and at the same time, humbling because all of my “challenges” and “issues” started to fade in comparison to the plight of these sweet kids, a plight that would last a lifetime.

One of the teachers who works at the school told me that these are kids who people in society often write off saying they can’t do anything but the opposite is true, these kids he told me, can do so much more than you’d think. His words warmed my heart for all teachers who are dedicated to helping special needs children make their way through this world in a dignified and holistic way because that’s exactly what they and any child really needs, someone who believes in them, someone who will be their personal cheerleader encouraging them not to sit on the sidelines of life but to get in the game and enjoy it to the best of their ability. 

And here I am, I thought, thinking that I have issues and I have challenges. But here are these kids who deal with more than I could ever imagine or handle and yet they’re not letting it bench them, they’re participating in the Special Olympics games with bright smiles and a winner spirit of perseverance.

If anything, the kids taught me something today and that is to be thankful for my life through and through—from the simple blessings today, to the greatest opportunities I may have tomorrow—I became thankful for it all, ten times over.

A popular pastor/motivational speaker named Nick Vujicic is an example of perseverance and keeping the faith in God. He was born without arms and legs yet he travels around the world speaking to people of all ages/backgrounds/social status and giving hope, inspiring everyone he encounters with his story of overcoming his challenges through his faith that all things work together for the good of those who love God and you will see in this video (shared in my blog post today) that Nick really loves God!

Be inspired.



Thursday, March 14, 2013

Take it from Britt Nicole: YOU are Worth MORE than GOLD

Thankful Thursday: The Value of You

It’s Thursday and I’m thankful for you, yes, YOU! 

Why? Because YOU matter to GOD! And that means you matter to me too because I love God.

How do I know that you matter? Simply because the Bible tells me so in John 3:16 which says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” 

GOD loves YOU so much that He sent His ONE and ONLY Son Jesus Christ to live here on Earth and experience every trial ever known to mankind, die as a ransom for our lives (Satan wanted us all to be condemned but God loved us too much to let that happen without us having a choice) and be resurrected to live again (only this time forever) as our Savior, Redeemer and Friend and even more importantly, our MEDIATOR between God and mankind. Since Jesus Christ lived, walked and ministered on this Earth for the 33 years he journeyed here, He knows what you're going through and because He's been where you are, He's experienced your joys and sorrows so He knows exactly how to meet your needs which I believe, makes Him the perfect mediator. 

Jesus Christ is our Mediator because He, on a daily basis, stands in the gap that sin created between us and our Creator God and when we mess up Jesus pleads before His Father for us asking God to give us another chance. The point of Christ’s sacrifice was so when we sin and ask for forgiveness, God will not see our “sin”. Instead, God will see His Son and remember the whole point of His Son’s sacrifice—to give us a second chance at eternal life. And being the great and merciful God He is He will forgive us of our sins. But please note: this will not happen forever (Revelation 22:11). So seek God while He may be found (Isaiah 55:6).

Now while salvation is a FREE gift from God to you, it only works if you decide to accept it and then obey God’s commandments (which you can find in The Holy Bible). When you accept Jesus Christ into your life and start to grow in your relationship with Him, you will see that following God’s commandments is easier than you may think because when you love someone, you want to please them, right? Well when you love God, you can please Him by following His commandments and having faith in His Word (Hebrews 11:6).

But let’s go back to my original point: I am thankful for you because YOU matter to God which means YOU matter to me because I love God. And because I love God, I want what’s best for you. I want for you, if you have not already, to get to know the Creator of the Universe who is the same One who created you in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13). I want you to fall in love with a Faithful Friend (Jesus Christ) who will NEVER let you go or let you down (Matthew 28:20). Essentially, I want you to discover and then embrace your TRUE VALUE which in the eyes of God is priceless.

You are a rare treasure. You are a precious soul. You, dear reader of my “God is Love” blog, are one of God’s own.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Introducing guest blogger and published author Betsy St. Amant

“I write for the same reason I breathe—because if I didn’t, I would die.” 
–Isaac Asimov. 

The quote on writing originated by American author Isaac Asimov is one with which I as a writer at heart ultimately identify because I often say and believe that “I write like I breathe”. So when I found out that it was a featured quote on published author and journalist Betsy St. Amant’s official website to describe her passion to write books, I knew that I had to ask her to write a guest post for my blog “God is Love” and to my pure delight, she agreed! 

As a writer who loves the art of words through and through, I feel blessed by God whenever I meet another writer who shares the same passion for the pen. So clearly I am happy to have connected with another writer who shares my passion for books! I highly recommend that you visit Betsy’s official website and blog, read and buy some (if not all) of her books because it will be worth your while. I know reading about how God made Betsy's writing dreams come true beyond her wildest imagination inspired me and I hope it will inspire you too!

So without further ado, here's a message from Betsy to you!


"Behind the Dream"
Written by Betsy St. Amant

Dreams are funny things sometimes. The way they sneak up on us, the way they linger. The way they pop up and plant root and burrow deep. The way they seemingly come out of nowhere yet refuse to leave. 

My dream of one day being a published author was like that. I vividly remember a young girl in elementary school, with hair to her waist, furiously pecking away at her family’s first home computer keyboard, writing short stories about a fictional girl and her dog and her swing set and her friends. 

It came, and it stayed. 

The dream turned more specific when I was about 12 years old, when one day, after cleaning my sister’s room (she paid me) I found a Christian fiction novel buried under a pile of her dirty laundry. At the time, I was devouring Babysitter’s Club, Sweet Valley Twins, and Saddle Club books—and was desperate for something more. New. Different. I flipped it open, and didn’t move from the floor for an hour. It was from Robin Jones Gunn’s “Glenbrooke” titles, the second in the series named Whispers. 

And nothing has ever been the same since. 

I knew in those preteen moments, surrounded by laundry, that I wanted to write a book one day that made my readers feel everything Robin (essentially, God through Robin) made me feel. Hope. Joy. Desire, for God, for good. For something more and better in all the miraculous ways that pointed the way to Jesus. 

So I did. 

Now, it didn’t happen overnight. It took a many more hours pecking away on that ancient keyboard, many more months of fighting back doubts, and many more years of work, embarrassment, risk, time, energy, tears, conferences, courses, craft classes, submissions, rejections, second chances, hopes raised, hopes dashed, and prayer before I received my first traditional fiction contract in 2008. 

My tenth novel releases October of this year (2013), and I just got a contract for a two-book deal! Dream come true? Yes. Yes. 

God worked a lot through literal dreams in the Bible. He used interpreters, used dreams as warnings and signs. He still does that today, but I believe He also speaks to us not in just literal dreams of sleep, but in dreams of the heart. You know those deep longings you feel that you can’t quite grasp, that seem just out of reach? He gave you those dreams. Those dreams that make something in your heart stir and awaken and feel. 

Make you come alive. 

Submit that dream to God, dedicate it to His plan, timing and purpose, and then watch what He does. 

Dare to dream—and then dare to give it up. What He’ll hand you back will be priceless. 


Author bio: 

Betsy St. Amant is one Good Girl who enjoys writing about redeemed Bad Boys in fiction novels. She lives in Louisiana with her fireman hubby and adorable preschooler, is often found consuming massive amounts of chocolate, and is an avid reader who is constantly wondering where Mr. Darcy went. A freelance journalist and fiction author, Betsy is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and is multi-published in Contemporary Romance. Her eighth Love Inspired novel will release this Fall, while her first YA novel, ADDISON BLAKELY, CONFESSIONS OF A PK, released 2012 through Barbour Books. When she’s not reading, writing, or singing along to the Tangled soundtrack with her young daughter, Betsy enjoys inspirational speaking and teaching on the craft of writing.

For more information about Betsy, visit her official website and read her blog (double-click the highlighted/underlined text to go directly to the site).

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Thankful Thursday: Acts of Kindness

It’s Thursday and I’m thankful for acts of kindness.

One act in particular stands out in my mind for two reasons: One, it’s fairly recent and two, it’s never happened to me before…Allow me to explain.

In October 2012, I relocated from the East Coast to the Midwest in order to take my first big break in Journalism. Well, things didn’t go as planned and long story short, by mid-December 2012 I was packing up my apartment in order to move back home.

During this time, I experienced a wide range of emotions with everything from being upset at the unfair situations beyond my control that caused me to need to leave to actually being happy because the state I moved to had freezing cold weather like I’d never before experienced.

Somewhere in the midst of my packing up my belongings and getting my apartment ready for the next tenant, I heard a knock at my door. After looking through the peephole, I recognized my neighbor from across the hall, Lindsey who worked as a school teacher and has two adorable kids who baked me cookies for Christmas (but that’s another story). I opened the door with a smile, always happy to see such a positive person. Lindsey returned the smile with a greeting and handed me a card inside of an envelope.

“Thanks,” I said as I took the card and entered into a brief conversation. 

After we spoke, I shut my apartment door and locked it. As I walked toward my kitchen counter, I opened the envelope fully intending to hang the card on my refrigerator door where I had posted all of my other Christmas cards from family and friends. But as I retrieved the card from the envelope and opened it, my eyes grew wide at the contents: Money! There was cash inside, plenty of it. I rushed back to my apartment door and into the hallway. In a matter of seconds, I was knocking on Lindsey’s door which she opened and greeted me with a knowing smile.

“Thank you so much!” I told her from the depths of my heart.

“You’re welcome,” Lindsey replied before giving an explanation. “I’d been thinking about your moving and praying about it and that is what God told me you needed.”

“Well I’m glad you listened to God!” I replied. “It is what I need, Lord knows!”


My neighbor’s act of kindness touched my heart and renewed my faith in God as Jehovah Jireh which means My Provider because He used Lindsey to help me meet a financial need.

Now that I’ve fully settled back into my home on the East Coast and am continuing my search for a better paying job, I know that God is with me because He spoke through events, people and acts of kindness when I was residing in the Midwest and He continues to work in my life today.

Are you facing a tough turn of events in your life? Are you unsure about the future? Take heart in my sharing one of the lessons I learned when I was away from home and that is simply, even when God is silent, He is still right there with me. Honestly, I’m facing the great unknown when it comes to my career and search for work but when fear tries to overtake me, I remember all the ways God provided for me through people’s acts of kindness. Therefore, I choose to keep trusting Him and move forward in faith because sometimes that’s all you can do.

It’s Thursday. What are you thankful for?

Monday, March 4, 2013

Book Review: Wishing on Willows

Wishing on Willows, written by author/blogger Katie Ganshert, is a delightful read that tells the story of Robin Price, a widow who owns a cafe close to her heart and Ian McKay, a man who is still reeling from his divorce and is living under the shadow of his business maverick of a dad.

Ian is a developer with a secret passion for cooking, who comes into town with a primary purpose-- to turn Willow Tree Cafe and the adjacent businesses in the small town of Peaks into modern condos with all the fixings. At first, Robin (who owns the cafe) is not too keen about this idea and is fixing to give Ian a piece of her mind but Ian is up to the challenge with a will as equally as strong as Robin's.

As the story progresses, both main characters learn life lessons, only to discover a deeper faith in God, joy in the journey and  hope for their broken hearts. 

A beautiful story, Wishing on Willows shows the reader that sometimes, God uses people to mend broken hearts and in this case, it can be imagined that He's placed Robin and Ian in each other's lives to, despite their conflicting views, heal each other from the hurt and pain of the past and perhaps make a positive impact on the entire town of Peaks. 

Ganshert is a skilled storyteller who knows how to weave faith into fiction flawlessly.

Wishing on Willows is a recommended read for every woman who's ever had a broken heart.

YOU matter!

Dearest of hearts,

I hope that this video by The Hip Hop Preacher Eric Thomas reminds you of your TRUE value and worth in God's eyes which simply is YOU MATTER! God loves you no matter what! He's there for you wherever you go (Psalm 139:8) and He's not giving up on you, EVER!

So when life gets tough, don't GIVE up, LOOK up! :) Because God is there and He cares!