Category Archives: For Inspiration

Let No Man Take Your Joy

You have possession of your heart’s state of mind just like you have free will when it comes to making choices. The Bible instructs you to not let anyone take your joy. Sometimes it’s easy to miss the attempt to steal your happiness because it is subtle. Sometimes, the attack comes head on with guns blazing.

But you decide which answer you give: Is the glass 1/2 full or 1/2 empty?  Most people choose one or the other. But have you ever considered that if you say the glass is 1/2 empty, it isn’t that you don’t have 1/2 of what you did, but that you still have 1/2. It’s yours to savor and enjoy at your leisure.

The devil likes you to be unhappy, downtrodden and outright hopeless. All those adjectives describe joylessness. As a child I learned a song in church, The Joy of the Lord is My StrengthIf you want joy you must sing for it. It’s true and I still love that song. I put it into action every chance I get by singing along with one of my favorite CDs. But most of all, I learned the truth from that song that if I have a song in my heart, I have joy. No one sings a happy tune if they aren’t happy. I don’t believe you can frown and sign an upbeat song about happy, hopeful things.  You can sing about tragedy, but you can’t while you’re smiling. Your face will be angled downward into a frown.

When I guest blog on sites, as I type my responses, I smile. I am a firm believer that your attitude is conveyed through your actions and even your words. It is easier to respond and to be sincere when I smile during those replies. It is freeing. It is empowering. God gives each of us that power–to travel this world with a song in our hearts.

I know you see references to Casting Crowns and their songs in a lot of my posts. Well, their music and the message behind their lyrics give me joy. They have a new album out called, Thrive. It is very upbeat and you can’t help but tap your steering wheel while you’re waiting at the red light to change when listening to most of the songs on the album, the 1st, 3rd, 6th, 7th, and 8th (the 3rd & 8th especially for me). There are a few songs that are a bit dark, dealing with struggling relationships and disconnected families and one about the thief that comes in the night to steal—your joy and anything else he can. Don’t let him take your joy. Guard it well. Revel in it. Rejoice in it. and Witness through it.

The title song, Thrive, makes me happy when I sing along with it.

So, what song brings you joy?

God Won’t Let Go–Just Be Held.

This year is going to be better than the last for me and my family. That doesn’t mean there won’t be problems, sickness, even death because there already has been even though we aren’t halfway through February.

But I have faith. And I’m surrendering my year to God and going to just be held. Watch this video from Casting Crowns and let God’s everlasting comfort be yours no matter what you face.

The joys we’ve had are renewed health, comfort, and a closeness of family that only comes from facing struggles together. And the countdown to the release of my first book, Campaigning for Love, grows closer each day.  Yay!!!!

Let no man steal your joy. It is yours. A gift from God, placed in your heart along with the song of salvation. Rejoice and sing from your heart.

Peace on Earth, Good Will to Men

Angels Nativity

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N756Tli-x4k&list=PL05E6E47D9CC4B590       This is my favorite Christmas song. It is by Casting Crowns. Enjoy and I pray God’s peace and love to you during this Christmas season.

 

 

Tis The Season of Love and Blessings And Mine Came Early

Christmas Tree

I was blessed with an amazing early Christmas present. It came the night before Thanksgiving–so Thanksgiving Eve. Heartsong Presents of Love Inspired is going to publish my Golden Heart winning inspirational romance, Love’s Advocate, in September of 2014 as book 1 in a 3 book series.

I am beyond thrilled. Happier than a child receiving their first bicycle. Still Snoopy dancing.

And grateful beyond measure to my amazing agent, Nalini Akolekar of Spencerhill Associates, Ltd, and Heartsong Presents, the talented and encouraging Heather Burch, Carol Post, Dixie Taylor, Sabrina Jarema, and Anne-Marie Carroll and Joni Fisher. No one could ask for a better group of ladies to have as their friends, critique partners, and encouragers. You are all the awesome present I was gifted with long before this one.

To Casting Crowns for some of the most inspiring and revealing lyrics to God‘s truth.

And I’m thankful to God, always. He has sustained me, guided me, loved me, and strengthened me when the days were too dark for me to see where I was going. He truly is a light unto my path, shining bright forever.

And my Firebird sisters. All of you ladies rock. Each one of you has inspired me and helped me realize this world is unkind to all of us, not just me. You keep me from being selfish and you help me know that if I keep reaching higher, I will catch that shooting star–one day. And that day was November 27, 2013.

Last but by no means least, I am thankful to and for my hubby, the amazing Typo-detector. We are starting a new journey, leaving sorrows behind and making new traditions with fewer people gathered around our holiday table, but they will always be in our hearts. I love you most.

And all of my family. Never has someone been more blessed than I am with all of you. I hope I can live up to your expectations.

Merry Christmas to all.

The Month of Thanks

bermuda2197

I’m reading so many posts about all the things different people are giving thanks for. So, I’m going to jump in and give my thanks–to God and what He allows me to learn from His people each day.

I try to keep my personal and writing lives separate to some extent, but the last two years have posed the biggest challenge for me and I’ve wondered if I would survive in one piece. We lost my mother-in-law unexpectedly in May. I moved into my in-law’s house that day and became the main caregiver for my father-in-law who had been home under hospice care for a year already. Then he passed away in July.

Needless to say, there wasn’t much writing going on during the first eight months of this year. There are MANY other people that I’ve spoken to in random conversations that made me feel ashamed that I considered my problems and struggles too hard to handle. For those people, thank you for showing me your strength when you probably felt your weakest. You renewed my hope and helped grow my faith. I’ve said prayers for you and you have been a burden on my heart that I bring to God in prayer often.

God has taught me patience (this is not a lesson I ever wanted to learn from practice) when I didn’t even know I was in the classroom of life taking the course. I think I may have earned a “C” and that’s if there was a curve. So I will probably have to repeat that class several times.

But God has used music, specifically my love and appreciation for all things Casting Crowns, and the lyrics and scriptures of their songs to open my heart and my eyes to new truths that apply to whatever I’m dealing with at the time and then something new the next time I listen to the words or read the scriptures.

Thank you God for Your amazing love and the grace You grant me to try again when I don’t get it right the first time.

And thank you for the most wonderful friends in the writing world and my church who are like family to me and my family by birth. And my husband, there aren’t enough words to thank you for him. I want to be a source of encouragement and hope to each person when they face their darkest time as You allowed them to be for me.

Be Brave Enough to…

The Maker of Heaven and Earth

 

Maker of Heaven and Earth

Have faith. Trust. Try again. Write with Intent.

All of the actions listed above have 1 thing in common. Reliance on something outside ourselves. And that reliance on “something” can be scary. But you wouldn’t be considered brave or faithful if it was easy, now would you?

That’s why it’s called a “leap of faith”. You are venturing forth into realms unknown to you. But my theme or life lesson that I instill in each story that I write is that with faith comes hope. And where there is hope, there is triumph, because you are believing in something–SOMEONE–much bigger and stronger than yourself.

God.  He made the sun come up this morning and he’ll raise the moon tonight. All you can do for light is flip a switch and if you didn’t pay the electric bill, you’re still in the dark.

So have faith. Trust in God. And when you veer off-course, asking Him to guide you back. And when you write, share His love. It’s the happiest happily ever after you’ll find.

I want to be brave. And I will ask God to help me do just that every day. Will you?

Fall is in the air–even in Florida

Fall is in the air--even in Florida

This photo was taken during a trip to New England about this same time of year.

Keep Your Eye on the Prize

Paul reminded us to do just that. Writing is hard. It isn’t sitting around daydreaming about what to write, as I’ve been accused of doing by people who don’t have a clue what goes into creating a story.

 It isn’t like a recipe where all the ingredients have been listed, usually in order of necessity, with the exact amount of this or that, and even a time limit. Although deadlines probably resemble cook time, or more aptly, pressure cooker time. You have to create characters (people)–even though you won’t see them walking down the street, they must be real and three-dimensional, so your readers can see them walking through the pages of your story and think of them as real people. Then there is the setting, or where your story takes place. Next comes the meat of the story. What is the conflict? Why can’t these two people be together? What will happen to them that will change them so that they could be together if they work really hard and get through the conflict they are facing on those pages. And lastly, my favorite, love conquers all.

I wrote the above paragraph to give you a glimpse into the semantics of what goes into creating a story. You still have to mind your “p’s and q’s”, i.e. grammar and formatting and stylistic requirements. That list of “should or should not happen” situations in your story are what lure your reader in, teasing them that you have found a fresh and creative way to tell them a story that involves a situation they’ve already heard. But your story is so compelling and so unique, we must read it to see what the author did to make their rendition so appealing.

And after the writer has done those things, either via a detailed outline, a synopsis (summary) of the main points in the story, come up with a blurb that’s catchy and compelling for the back cover of the book, they still have to sit in a chair or in bed with a mound of pillows propped up behind them (guilty) and weave all those craft lessons and workshop applications they’ve studied into a viable and evocative story that draws you in with the opening sentence and keeps you turning the page until you whimper because you’ve reached the end and there are no more pages to turn.

But while the author has sweated blood and tears in the process of doing this, no one gets that they aren’t being paid for all that time and thought. They are writing this story in the hope that they can sell it to a publisher who will, in turn, market it to you, the reader and you will love it and buy a ton of copies.

Along the way, the writer enters contests to garner feedback from fellow writers on the outside chance they final and are blessed with the opportunity to have an agent or editor read their contest entry and hear their “voice” or appreciate their humor, or connect with the theme of the story. Or not, and go back and cut and rewrite and polish in time to submit to an agent/editor/ or another contest.

At each segment of this long endeavor, they have to put aside the comments that don’t address specific issues within the story as they make revisions. They even have to put away the fan-mail equivalent feedback that says this story is perfect and nothing needs to be changed. These judges are anonymous and wonderfully gracious to offer their time to read your submission. But each author is the master of their own story, so the comments/suggestions require consideration before jumping in and making changes.

But you can do everything “right” as per a gazillion How To books, and still be left with a manuscript that you’ve done all you can do to give it life and a chance to spread its wings and fly out of your writing nest instead of offering up the pages on the wind.

After all that, you usually ask yourself, “Why?”

The answer, “Your eye is on the prize.” The prize is having that exactly-right-for-you editor read your submission whether it be due to a contest entry that finaled or that your agent has queried them and they find your theme unique. And when someone within the industry asks to read your entire manuscript, you have come close enough to the ultimate prize of publication that you can taste it. And it tastes like creamy vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup and caramel sauce drizzled over it. 

But, you won’t get to that table to feast if you take your eye off what’s important–the prize. When life hands you a bag of lemons, make sure you have enough sugar to sweeten your pitcher of lemonade.

And no, I didn’t write this because any specific thing has happened. It’s that I’ve starting creating a new town and a new set of players within that town and I’m spending time imagining (daydreaming) and reflecting on who they are and what will make them unique and interesting for you, the reader.

So chin up and fingers crossed. I have work to do.

Wishing everyone all the best and apologies for my ramblings.

Karen

Romance Fiction’s Light Grew a Little Dimmer Today, But the Stars Gained an Extra Sparkle

Gwyn Ramsey was a great lady. She battled cancer several times and overcame the challenge. Sadly, this time it was stronger than she was, and it won the battle. But whether Gwyn was winning or fighting as the underdog, she still fought. She has a friend who has been with her in this traveling journey of promoting their books and having a great time on those road trips.

Her love and her light shined on every one. I never saw her frown or admit defeat. She will be the only lady in heaven  with an 0versized purse big enough to hold her laptop. She’ll have to go electronic because I don’t know how scarce paper is up there.

So, if there is a star twinkling with a touch more sparkly that the others, it is probably one of her road trip hats glinting off the sun as it sets on a life lived well.

Gwen, you were wonderful and exciting and you knew how to have fun. All of TARA has faded to a little gray without you.

You are missed and we love you. You, Fine Lady, made a difference  in all of us.

Tribute to Fathers

I am the fourth of five children. My father passed away over fifteen years ago. I miss him. He taught me something when I was little that shaped my life forever. (And despite the first three siblings’ beliefs, I am not spoiled.)

He taught me that I have to do what I believe in my heart is right and fair. And that sometimes standing up for what I believe is fair can put me in a spot where I might suffer repercussions. But the thing I admire most about learning that lesson from him, is that as my father, he could have easily said “because I said so” and that would have been the end of it. Instead, if I questioned something he told me to do, or questioned him about the fairness of a decision he made, he never got angry. In fact, sometimes he sort of got a sardonic look on his face that said, “I created this monster.”

And he did. So thank you Daddy for teaching me to stand by my convictions and for not making me dig worms so you could go fishing if I didn’t get to go too. I still love you.

To all the dads out there, thank you for the lessons you take the time to teach your children. You really have no idea how deeply those lessons shape their lives going forward whether you remain with them in body or spirit.

And to all of you children out there, regardless your age, if you are blessed to still have your dad with you, let him know how much he means to you this week.

Happy Father’s Day.

 

Kay Hudson

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