Search

When the Write Door Opens -Matthew 7:7

God's lessons to a writer, teacher, wife, and mom

Amazon Reviews Needed!!

 

I have sold almost 200 books (which is exciting), but I have only received 16 reviews on Amazon. I’m asking anyone who has read my novel, A Light in Bailey’s Harbor, to please take just about 2 minutes to click the Amazon Review button below, scroll down to “Write a Customer Review” and review it. This greatly helps my book get noticed on Amazon and noticed by bigger publishers.

imagesI also have a special deal coming up over Mother’s Day weekend! The Kindle version of my book will be on sale for $.99!  This will only be a 3 day event, May 6th-9th. You can actually gift a Kindle version of my novel, A Light in Bailey’s Harbor, to someone you love.

Just click the picture below and then click “Give as Gift” button on the right side of the screen.

Screenshot 2016-04-30 11.11.33

Thank you so much for the support you have given me! I do appreciate it. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

 

Advertisements

Our Starry Night

Do you ever have a tiny, flash-of-a-moment where you realize this is why you are a mom? I know, I know. If you are like me, these moments may come very few and far between. Lately, most of my “mom moments” are not ones that should ever be typed out for the world to see. They are more like the hidden camera moments they show on Dateline, where you see them and say, “I would never do that or say that to my children.” Yeah, right you wouldn’t. You already have. I know you. You’re a mom.

Anyway, let me get back to my good mom moment. I’m sharing this, because I’m determined to dwell on the positive. I could fill a zillion blogs with the negative, but I thought you’d rather be lifted up on this beautiful Saturday. And who knows, you may want to go out and have a Starry Night of your own.

So, I have to first go back a few months. I believe it was late summer, when the meteor shower was in full swing. My son and I were planning to start Apologia Science Exploring Creation With Astronomy for his Science “class” for second grade. We were excited about beginning it, and I had been researching different ideas to get a jump start with the Space ideas. I heard about the meteor shower. It wasn’t going to start until late in the evening.

At first, like a reasonable mom would think, I decided that it would just be too late and he needed to get in bed. I reasoned that Cole (his little brother) would be in bed and may wake up and need me, or even that we shouldn’t be outside after dark. It was dangerous, right? I mean my husband was out of town and with the cows mooing, the horses neighing, the wind whispering through the pines and a zillion stars shining in the country darkness overhead…

Ok, ok, of course we had to do it.

I sprung the idea on Carson, as I began gathering blankets and couch cushions. I remember his eyes growing as round as the planets we’d soon be studying. Stay up late? Lay outside on the couch cushions? Under the stars? He was definitely seeing the vision.

I’ll never forget that night. It’s one of those nights where you just think, yep, all is perfectly right with the world tonight.

I still get teary-eyed as I think about laying out there on our deck on those cushions, listening to my 7 year old ooh and ahh over the falling stars. We counted 20 that night. That was our goal, we told ourselves, before we would go in. The most memorable one that night went from the western sky completely across to the east, burning the entire way. It even made the night a little brighter.

I think about that night when I’m struggling with home schooling, because my almost 2 year old is painting himself with baked beans from lunch. I try to remember that time is flying by so fast, and I that I must slow down and enjoy those little flashes of light before they just pass me by.

That starry night was almost a year ago. Amazing that it could be a year.

Almost a year later, and last night we had another starry night. It was only a few minutes, a few billion stars, my son and me, and an iPad (I know. The iPad doesn’t sound very poetic, but we have to go with the times, right?). I had downloaded the app- SkyView Free for my iPad, and my son and I were excited to try it out. (Yes, I am behind. This app has been around for a few years, but we had never thought much about it, until we began our astronomy study.)

So, we went outside together and began to hold it up to the sky. Let me tell you, the background music it plays is enough to bring you to tears. You feel like you’re in a heart wrenching moment in one of the Star Wars movies. It’s just very inspiring, so make sure you have your sound turned up. Carson and I were so amazed! It showed exactly where the planets were and the constellations, and even connected the dots of the constellations, giving the actual illustrations of Orion, Ursa Major, and The Crab. We had been studying these and how to identify them. Carson was even able to find the Little Dipper and the North Star.

But the moment that stood out, was when we saw Jupiter. Yes, it was just a bright speck of light, but Carson turned to me with eyes wide and said, “Mom, I can’t believe it. We just stood here in Pawpaw’s yard and saw the real Jupiter, that God made.” He’d never admit it now, but his eyes were glossed over. He had gotten teary-eyed, coming face to face with God’s amazing creation.

And of course, now I’m teary-eyed, because it hit me. This is why we, as moms, dads, and grandparents, do what we do and teach what we teach. We pour the Bible stories, the scriptures, the Golden Rule, the life-lessons into our children and hope and pray that it all sinks it. We pray that they “get it.” We pray that when they come face to face with the Creator of the universe and all his awesome power and might, they will stand in awe, realizing He is also a God who is personal enough to give them a glimpse of Jupiter and pictures he designed for them in the starry sky.

Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night: that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is his name:  (Amos 5:8)

Is Your Full Armor On?

It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged, and it’s nice to be back! We’ve had quite an interesting couple of months. After almost 10 years in the same place, we now have new jobs, new dwellings, a new church hunt, are in new states…and my “new” list could keep going on and on. Thankfully, there is one part of our lives that has stayed the same–home schooling.

We are getting to that point, though, of having “spring fever.” The point where the weather is was just starting to get warm, the days are getting longer, and the days of school are easier to count down, then count up. Yipee!!  Summer is coming, but it’s not here yet. I think I’m having to tell myself this even more than my son. I felt like we needed something to break our routine. We needed something interesting, but also something to refocus our hearts and minds so that we could keep ourselves from growing frustrated with each other, and complacent with our spiritual walk.

My son is memorizing Ephesians 6 for school. In this chapter, Paul speaks of putting on the whole armor of God. Since my son is very interested in the military, I thought it would be fun to study the armor of God from a soldier’s perspective.

I searched the Internet and found a curriculum a church used for VBS, but it wasn’t exactly what we needed, so I altered the idea and made our own “Soldier in the Army of God” field guide and study.

image

Click here to download the guide book: Armor of God

This is a short two week study. I’m going to touch on some of the highlights for each day, but you can click on the link below and have all of the instructions and information to help with the daily lessons.

Click here to download the lesson guide: Guide for Armor of God lessons

Although this video is based on ancient warriors and battle armor, it is so inspiring that I had to include it. Please watch and be inspired to put your armor on!

 

Here is just an overview of what we did in our 2 week lessons:

Belt of Truth

image

Background: In ancient times, the belt was the most important part of the armor, because all of the other pieces of the armor were attached or fitted to the belt. If the soldier didn’t have his belt, he wasn’t going to make it in the battle. Soldiers today also have a belt. They have their guns attached to their belts, as well as some forms of protective vests.

Application: We know the Bible is true. The belt of truth is the Word of God, and it is the only true foundation we have. If we don’t have it, then we will never win the battle. Without it, none of the other parts of the armor even matter.

Breastplate/Chestplate of Righteousness

image

We chose to do “Chestplate,” because of my “manly” son

Background on Kevlar vests (bullet proof vests):

It was accidently invented by Stephanie Kwolek, a chemist who was trying to invent a light-weight fiber to use in tires, to help a car have better gas mileage. What she invented was a fiber that is 5 times stronger than steel. It is used in many things, but for what we’re studying, it’s interesting to note that Kevlar is used in bullet-proof vests, army helmets, and even gloves, boots, and other body “armor.”

Interesting facts about a bullet proof vest:

-If a soldier is shot wearing a vest, it still hurts. Some explain it as getting hit by a hammer (In our Christian lives, the Devil’s darts can hurt our feelings and “wound” our spirits, but if we are God’s child, the Devil can’t get the ultimate victory.)

-Soldiers have to inspect their vests daily (just as we have to maintain our righteousness each and every day)

-Vests can wear out and need to be replaced. Sometimes we get tired and weary of the Devil’s tactics. We can’t give up though. We may only need to refresh our vests and start clean again.

Boots of Preparation and the Gospel of Peace

image

We, as Christians, are to be prepared to always give an answer of “the Hope that is within us.” Christians have the opportunity to go and spread peace in this “war zone” that we call the world.

Shield of Faith

image
We cut the edges and taped them, so they wouldn’t be sharp. Remember, Carson “designed” this, so it’s very unique😉
image
We used Velcro and stuck the sticky side to the shield. He wanted to use a glove, because he said the Velcro poked him.
image
He loved the hammering part, of course.

Soldiers/ police officers, etc. use shields even today. They are sometimes nearly as tall as the person holding them. In ancient times, they were made out of many different types of metal, depending upon what they had available in that time period. Some were even made like tightly woven baskets. The soldiers would put the shields all together to create a type of wall to hopefully keep the “fiery darts of the wicked” from piercing through the shields. The shield was vital to the soldier. Without it, they had no hope of survival.

Application: This is true for our Christian life today. We must have faith that Jesus has risen from the dead and that he is victorious over death and hell. To keep us from being discouraged by the Devil, we need to take on the shield of faith each day.

Helmet of Salvation

Helmet Info: In ancient days, the helmet was personally created for each soldier. The soldier couldn’t just pick a helmet off a shelf and use it for battle. Every detail had to be tailored to the unique person, or the soldier would be unfit to fight in the battle.

The blacksmith would take many different measurements to ensure that the helmet would be comfortable and functional for each soldier, allowing the soldier to see through the eye slits, to have his cheekbones, nose and neck protected by the intricately molded metal.

This can be compared to our salvation. We have to make the personal decision for ourselves. We can’t rely on the “helmets of salvation” of our friends or family and just slip those one, expecting to be protected. Like a soldier, we are only protected by our own helmets of salvation. We have to make a personal decision to accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, in order to survive the spiritual warfare of our land.

Sword of the Lord

Note: This, of course, was my son’s favorite day. He loved using the dagger. I felt alright with it, as long as we stressed that we were “cutting” out evil and not just stabbing everything we saw!

image

We used our “swords” to destroy the lies of the enemy.

imageimageimage

Praying Always

We can pray sincerely anywhere and everywhere. We need to pray in the Spirit of the Lord and not just have a memorized prayer that is meaningless.

ID Tags (IDentify with Christ) – See the attached page of the Field Guide for the information about the ID tags.

image

The Bible says that when we are saved we become a new creature. We “die” to ourselves and we start living for Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

image
If you write your info backwards, when you turn it over, it’s raised up. It was easier for me to write what Carson wanted on a piece of paper, and then he copied it on the foil.

image

imageimage

You can use the pictures of ID tags in the Filed Guide instead and have your child write on them, if you don’t want to fool with actually making them, but my son LOVED making them with the aluminum foil. When you write on them, they look raised up like it’s actually stamped on the metal. Pretty cool.

I hope this is as meaningful to you and your child as it ended up being to us. I learned a lot in the research, and Carson loved relating it all to a soldier. We have referred back to these truths many times, in dealing with his attitude and Christian walk and how he should be “suiting up” in the armor each day.

So, get your armor on and enlist in the army of the Lord!

 

 

 

My Life-Friend

Day #5 and Day #8 – Author Life Month –

Inspiration for my novel’s cover and an Awesome Moment

IMG_0023
I took this picture on my first trip to see Cana Island Lighthouse.

I decided to combine a couple of days, since they are very much related.

The inspiration for the lighthouse picture on the front of my book came from visiting Cana Island itself. I actually took the picture the first time I visited the lighthouse. The cover designer from my publishing company had contacted me about the lighthouse pictures she had found on the Internet, saying that she would be seeking the permission needed to use the pictures. I mentioned to her that I had taken some when we were in Bailey’s Harbor. After showing her the pictures I took, we decided on the current one below.

IMG_0019
Cana Island Lighthouse, Bailey’s Harbor, WI

These pictures were taken the very first time I stepped onto Cana Island. It was just the most beautiful day.

The next few pictures are what I’m attributing to my Day #8 – Awesome Moments. After my husband, Chad, and I were first married, we went on a vacation back to Bailey’s Harbor with our best friends, Alicia and Ryan Estes, and Alicia’s parents and mine. This was just a dream to me–visiting this place with my husband and my loved ones.

image.jpeg
My husband will kill me for including this, but I couldn’t resist!

I must share just a little background with you.

From the time they were little, my parents and Alicia’s parents grew up together in a little town village (my grandmother always reminded me that it was a village, not a town) in Ohio. They became life-friends. When they married and had us, of course we also became life-friends (or as Anne of Green Gables put it) bosom friends. We did everything together–camping, went to church and school together, had sock fights together (don’t underestimate the sock fights–they were brutal). We were more together then we were apart.

camping
Alicia is on the left, and I’m on the right.

But one day the Lord decided we’d had enough sock fights, and Alicia’s dad was transferred to Wisconsin for his job.

My little 9 year old world suddenly came to a screeching halt. And even though it was 26 years ago, I still remember my first day back to third grade, after Alicia left. It was recess time and the other kids had just left the room. I was supposed to join them, but I remember just laying my head down on my desk and crying. I missed my bosom friend.

You would think that would have been the end of our friendship. What would keep two little girls’ friendship so strong, especially when they’re 400 miles apart?

It could have only been the Lord.

Well, he also used our parents to help out with the foot work. They encouraged us to write to each other, and they also took their vacations to take us to visit each other, helping us continue to create lasting memories. And it was on one of these vacations that I was introduced, for the very first time, to the lighthouse on Cana Island.

image
This was in one of my scrapbooks. It’s one of my favorite pictures with my friend, Alicia.

Truly, the Lord was in control all along. I know he created us with the intelligence to make wise choices, but I also believe He orchestrates our paths, leading us to the ones that will spread His message the farthest. The message I hope to convey to all who read A Light in Bailey’s Harbor is that no matter where God takes you, whether it’s a physical distance or whether it’s spiritual, He can always give enough grace to get you through it and enough peace to keep you moving on.

And we did move on.

At each move, God kept our friendship strong. He knew I would need a life-friend, and He sure did choose her well. Here’s one example of our special friendship. I had just finished my senior year of high school, and we were getting ready for my graduation. My Mom had me go up to my room to get something, and when I flipped on my light, there was Alicia!  She had just had her wisdom teeth out a couple of days before, but she’d still come all the way from Wisconsin to be at my graduation.

Over the years, we were always able to find a way to be together and share the moments that bind friends together, despite the distances. And boy did we test out this distance thing.

I lived in Ohio. Alicia lived in Wisconsin. She went to college in South Carolina, and then got married and moved to Indiana. It was then that we thought we could kind of pick up where we had left off those 15 years earlier, since she was now only a couple hours away.

This lasted for about 3 years, and then my husband and I moved to Tennessee for his job.

image.jpeg
The cheese head who separated us again (just kidding, darling😏)

 

But even then, we remained best friends–taking trips to the beach, celebrating the births of our children, and hosting each other in our homes.

111_1125.jpg
Going golfing

And now, to watch our children play as friends, it’s almost too much for my sentimental heart to take.

DSCN0353.jpg

In all honesty, what choice do they have? Life-friends only produce more of their own kind, at least that’s what we’ve decided. God definitely had, and still has, a plan to foster this friendship that he began in our families nearly 60 years ago.

I think of the friendship of David and Jonathan and the moment that they had to part ways for David’s safety, running from Jonathan’s father, King Saul. Secretly warning David, Jonathan called out to his runner the heart breaking phrase, “Is not the arrow beyond thee? Make speed, haste, stay not…” (I Sam. 20: 37-38)

Even though it broke their hearts to leave each other, God had a plan. Because of their friendship, David befriended the family of Jonathan, despite all his father did to utterly destroy David. Because of this, others saw David’s forgiveness and loyalty and followed him. Because others followed him, he was able to accomplish God’s will in battle, conquering many nations for Israel. With these men who respected and followed him, he also paved the way for his son, Solomon, to one day build the most holy dwelling place of the Lord–the temple.

How exciting to think what he’ll do in our futures, in our children’s and what he can do in yours. I realize now how wise it is to choose good friends. They don’t just affect a moment in your past or your present, life-friends affect your life forever.

As Jonathan said, “Go in peace, for…we have sworn both of us in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord be between me and thee, and between my seed and thy seed for ever.'”

Cherish your life-friends. They will change your life.

 

Author Life Month

I thought this was an interesting and fun idea. I was made aware of it by some other authors and thought I’d jump on the band wagon.

Of course, I can’t honestly say I will be able to post every day. I’m finding out that potty training my two year old and homeschooling my seven year old are two things that just don’t work well together.

“Yes, Carson, Homer wrote about the Trojan War…Cole, do you have to peepee in the potty?…No, Carson I know you just went to the restroom. I was talking to Cole….Yes, the Trojan War was about all the guys hiding in the horse…No, Cole! Don’t empty the potty chair!…” Multiply these interruptions by maybe, hundreds?

Let’s just say today was a very long school day.

So, when I respond to the ‘Author Life Month’ questions, I’ll be grouping the days together. This will also save your Inbox from filling up, not that you mind, of course.

Without further adieu, Days #1-3:

Day #1 – My novel

onsale2.jpgIf you are interested in purchasing or reviewing a copy of my novel, please click the picture above.

Day #2 – First Person Who Inspired Me to be an Author

This was supposed to be my author photo, but I liked the idea another author had. I wanted to share a photo of the person who first inspired me to be an author. My mother, Vicki Lawson.

DSCN1788.jpg

Though I often had ‘too many words’ (as I put it, when I was 4), my mom never swept them aside. Instead, she brushed each word into her hand, like a tiny grain of sand, and bottled them for another day. And when Mom knew I was ready, she uncorked the bottle and slowly poured it out in front of me, spilling the grains of sand–the countless words. “Now,” she encouraged. “Use these to build something amazing. Write, Bethany.”

And I did.

Thanks, Mom.

Day #3 – My Last 5-Star Read

Does Mickey’s Tractor or Farmer Boy qualify as a 5-star read? It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to read for just pure pleasure, but I do have two ‘big people’ books that I would recommend.

Dawn Crandall’s The Everstone Chronicles

12552675_944525858917012_4887792642758857805_n.jpg

I’ve only read The Hesitant Heiress, so far. It was very compelling, and I loved her style of writing. Click on the picture above and check out Dawn Crandall.

Here’s the other book. Although it’s more of a Bible study, it’s such a wonderfully written study. I’ve been through it once and am going through it again. All but one of the women in this study are in the line of Christ. It’s such a wonderful reminder that God can use anyone to accomplish his will.

29023._UY400_SS400_.jpg

Stay tuned for more fun facts as the month goes on.

 

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

The INSPY Awards

The Bloggers' Award for Excellence in Faith-Driven Literature

When the Write Door Opens -Matthew 7:7

God's lessons to a writer, teacher, wife, and mom

Less Than Perfect Life of Bliss

God's lessons to a writer, teacher, wife, and mom