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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Phenomenal Woman by Susan Elliott

Maya Angelou once stated
where her secret lies,
wasn’t in her fashion,
stature or her size,

she believed she knew the secret
so with a siren cry
she elevated woman
rebuked the world’s disguise.

Though her thoughts are poignant,
truthful in many ways,
the real phenomenal woman
is hard to find today.

She’s not found in her beauty,
movement or her grace,
not recognized by her stunning smile
though brilliantly displayed.

She is known in her gentle kindness
temperate in her ways.
She teaches of her Savior,
lives within His grace.

(C) Susan Elliott

A Pearl Seeker by Becky Blackmon

Click: Here for more Info
Becky Blackmon's newest book is now out! It can only be purchased from the Publishing Designs website.

About A Pearl Seeker:

"Becky Blackmon introduces a new series for women, Lord Help Me. As the foundation book, she chose A Pearl Seeker, a fresh, candid look at how today’s woman relates to the Scriptures. In the same intimate style of her bestseller The Begging Place, Becky lays out eleven vital goals for a woman of God to seek, such as: ''Seek a Spiritual Mindset'', ''Seek Second Chances'', and ''Seek the Good Part''. This motivational book will gently admonish the lukewarm Christian, and fortify the staunchest follower of Christ. The Bible truly is the Pearl of great price. Learn to value this Pearl as your greatest treasure." (Publishing Designs)

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Carpe Diem by Katy Huth Jones

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I was putting together my COCWA bookstore so you would have easy access to the books written by our great writers (link is on the right sidebar), when I stumbled upon Katy's newest book! I can't tell you how excited I was to see that she had published a book of poetry. I hope you're as happy to see it as I am. It's hot off the press. Check it out!

About Carpe Diem:

"All yesterdays are writ in stone;
The future's in God's hand.
We have this moment only
To see and understand.

Carpe Diem is a collection of poems inspired by the author's recognition of the brevity of life and her desire to savor each day as a gift and a blessing. As a professional musician who also composes songs, Katy Huth Jones tends to write poetry with rhythm and rhyme and likes traditional forms, such as sonnets and blank verse. But she doesn't mind writing free form if the poem demands it.

Katy has published poems in magazines and anthologies. This is her first published collection." (Amazon)

Monday, December 28, 2015

Red Zone by Kelli Hughett

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All I can say is wow! It's so exciting to have a murder mystery suspense novel on here. If you've been looking for something to read in this genre, now's your chance. Take a peek at Kelli Hughett's Red Zone.

About Red Zone:

"There's nothing random about this murder.

When Marcy Farris comes face to face with a murder victim at a high school football game, she's plunged into a game no one wants to play. Despite police conclusions, she knows it wasn't a random murder. Could she be the next victim? To defeat her opponent, she'll have to tackle painful memories of her husband's suicide. He may have made one too many enemies before he died.

Struck down by an injury in his prime, former NFL linebacker, Jack Briggs, wonders if there's life after football. The game changes when he meets Marcy. She's his heart's number-one draft pick. Now, Jack's got to prove to Marcy they're on the same team.

There is no overtime in the game of murder. Marcy and Jack must discover the madman behind the murder before the killer has a chance to score the game-winning drive, and exact his revenge on Marcy." (Amazon)

Accepting Submissions for 2016 Anthology

Public Domain Photo
Due to my hubby's stroke the deadline has been extended to July 4, 2016. Also, you may submit previously published material as long as you have the rights to your work.

I am excited to announce that the Church of Christ Women Authors Blog is now taking submissions for its inaugural anthology titled, The Church of Christ Women Authors Blog 2016 Anthology of Literary Potpourri.

To my knowledge this will be the first book of its kind, and I am so glad that it's actually happening. Because we are still small, the only payment contributors will receive for inclusion in this years anthology is two print copies of the published anthology.

Submission is open to all members of the church of Christ. I am looking for submissions in several categories and all genres of fiction are welcome. Please include a short bio of no more than 300 words with your submission to be included in the anthology.

The anthology will be available to purchase in print and in Ebook form.

Submission Details:

Submission is open January 1, 2016 through May 4, 2016. Those with works included will be notified by email.

Please send your submissions to the Church of Christ Women Authors at churchofchristwomenauthors@gmail.com, and write Anthology Submission in the subject line of the email.

Submissions may be sent in the body of the email, or as a .doc attachment. Please include the genre and category of your piece. Please only submit one time per category.

All authors who are included in the anthology grant first publication rights to Susan Elliott, of the Church of Christ Women Authors Blog for publication in the anthology The Church of Christ Women Authors Blog 2016 Anthology of Literary Potpourri. Rights return to the author after publication.

No simultaneous submissions accepted.

All those included in the anthology will receive two print copies of the anthology as payment. There are no royalty payments given to those included in the anthology.

Submission Categories:

  • Poetry: Submit no more than 5 poems on any topic
  • Non-fiction: Submit 1-2 pieces no more than 2,000 words
  • Short Story: Submit 1-2 pieces no more than 3,000 words
  • Essay: 1-2 pieces no more than 1,000 words
  • Novel Preview: 1-4 chapters of an unpublished novel

Submission of work constitutes agreement to the terms mentioned as well as acknowledgement that you are a member of the church of Christ. 

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas and Thank You from the Church of Christ Women Authors Blog

I hope you are having the best day ever. I know that I have enjoyed the week we've had in South Texas more than I can express, and I am looking forward to another full week! While we currently reside more than 20 hours away from our home, coming back home to South Texas for the holidays is a refreshing and wonderful opportunity to recharge. It is my hope that you are also experiencing this today.

Today marks six months and 10 days since the Church of Christ Women Authors Blog started. Since then, there have been more than 100,000 visits to the page, and the monthly page views have grown exponentially. I cannot express my thanks enough to you wonderful readers, and all of the authors that have so graciously contacted me to list their books.

I also want to thank those of you who have traveled over to visit the YouTube page and are now following the devotionals and the author interviews. If you haven't checked out the YouTube channel, there are a growing number of devotionals every week, and it is my goal to update them daily -- although, I haven't quite gotten there yet.

Also, if you want to stay up-to-date with what's happening on the blog, make sure you join the The Study Write Weekly Newsletter mailing list . You can sign up in the right sidebar. I will resume the once a week recap after the new year. Thanks again!

Merry Christmas!



Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Forever and Always Journal By Arianna Elliott


For More Info Click: Here
The Forever and Always Journal by Arianna Elliott

This is an adorable journal featuring the original artwork of Arianna Elliott. The inside of the journal has lined pages and an adorable black and white watermark of the cover image.

This journal is perfect for teens and anyone who loves adorable artwork!




Heart Song: Poetry by Susan Elliott

I woke up this morning
with a tear in my eye
a heart sore and wounded,
yet unable to cry.
But as I lifted my head,
from its place of rest
I turned to the Lord
finding bittersweet solace.
In the breath of the moment
I reached out to God
thanking Him for loved ones,
the paths that I’ve trod,
for the life that I have,
and the world around me.
But, pausing in thought,
and still locked in my grief.
It took only an instant
to ask for reprieve.
While burdened in heart,
I thanked most of all
that I can turn to Him.

He picks me up when I fall.

© Susan Elliott

Evolution Is Impossible Cartoon Short


Since this is the week of Christmas and we are all really busy, I thought I'd share a fun video. I hope you're having a great time with your family!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Copy by Susan Elliott Featured Poem From Every Flaw Every Perfection December BOM

Every Flaw Every Perfection is my fourth collection of poetry and the December book of the month club book. Below is a featured selection from the book.

The following poem is written from a writer's perspective and is one of my favorites. In fact, it was written based on my character Karn who is the hero of the novel I'm currently writing.


The Copy

He whispers my name
though a world away
just as alive as
the man sleeping beside me.
In truth,
the one I hold; the archetype
is so much more than his phantom.
I lean upon him, my muse.
I draw from his eyes
his hands,
his smile,
and create the copy.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Will You Be My Friend? Growing Friends in the Church by Susan Elliott

Will You Be My Friend? Growing Friends in the Church is my newest book! I can't tell you what an experience writing it has been. There were times I cried, and times I laughed as I thought about my own life and the friendships I've had.

About: Will You Be My Friend?: Growing Friends Within the Church

"Will You Be My Friend: Growing Friends in the Church is a sixteen week study of the importance of friendship, and a practical guide for growing relationships and acquiring new friends. This book includes a practicum chapter following each lesson to teach you how to put these valuable lessons into practice. If you’re ready for a hands-on study, this book is for you!" (Amazon) ]

One exercise this book recommends is journaling, and there is a companion journal that you can buy in conjunction with the class book. It's the Will You Be My Friend? Growing Friends Within the Church Companion Journal. The pages feature full-page watermark images of water lilies and is 200 pages long.

I would like to mention that the book can be consolidated for those who only have a 13 week course study time allotment.

One of the best things that has come from this book has been the SAM program (Sisterhood Area Meet-up). A friend took what she learned from this book and ran with it. With her help we began an area SAM program in the Roanoke Valley and it is constantly growing.

The reason we started the SAM program is because we realized there are a lot of lonely women in the church, and we wanted to do something about it. So, every month we invite women from area congregations to meet us for dinner and to play get-to-know-you games. So far it has been wildly successful.

I recommend this book for women of all ages. It's about time we learned to be family and friends. I hope you enjoy it.

--Susan

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Doubt: Poetry by Susan Elliott

I love being a Christian. I love knowing that I can cast my cares and burdens on God (I Peter 5:7), and I know that even in the darkest day he will be there for me (Psalm 23). I am loved. I am cared for. God has a plan for me -- even when I can't see it (Jeremiah 29:11). I know assuredly the God sent his son and his son, the Christ, bore my sins on the cross (I Peter 2:4), and in his blood I am forgiven.

There are some who don't know this peace; this joy (Philippians 4:7). They live their lives balancing on the raggedy edge, on the precipice of death and destruction.  Today, I am writing to you. You who are struggling with addiction. You who knows the pain of poverty. You who believe all hope is lost. Hang on!  I want you to know that all hope is in God, and that you can reach out to him and he will answer. Cast your burdens on God. If you're not a New Testament Christian check out the article, What Must I Do to Be Saved?

I wrote the following poem about a person who had lost hope because of secularism. So much of the world is lost in secularism and humanism, but can't even see it. Don't ever lose hope!

-Susan

Doubt

Humanity reasons
no one wants to
hear your complaints.
Console yourself, look to potential;
the elevation of the human spirit.

Everyone
feels weighted down
by the unjust world. You’re
not alone in grief
just alone in the cosmos.

You, sitting there,
nursing your pain
allowing it to grow,
consuming your all
whitewashing your highly evolved state.

You never turn to God,
for you know; reason,
that He is not there.
However, a growing emptiness
cannot be filled
by your work, art,
education. You’ve tried.

Suicide calls softly,
desiring to hold your hand.
Hastily you reach out.
Why not end it?
It’s a matter of choice, and decided.

He watches you,
knowing before the knife crosses
your precious wrist, that you’ve
made your decision,
knowing before even you.

Miss Grace comes to mind,
as the cold steel blade touches your
hot skin, stalling your determination.

How much did he love you?

She is wearing a blue suit,
hair drawn into a pony tail.

He loved you this much.

Her eyes smile warmly into yours.
She opens her arms,
and hangs herself on an imaginary cross.

(c)Susan Elliott


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Every Flaw Every Perfection BOM Featured Poem by Susan Elliott

For more info click on the image.
This week's featured poem is also the name of this book. I wrote it after thinking about my husband. I don't know about you, but I just love holding my hubby's hand. I hope you enjoy this featured poem!
--Susan

Every Flaw Every Perfection 

I closed my hand around yours today
I felt its heat -- every flaw and perfection.
I learned the curve of your fingers
-- the width of your palm.
I discovered the length of our fingers
are almost mirrored in each other's grip.
I felt the sweat rising to your skin
as my body burned beneath your touch
-- igniting your flesh.
I closed my hand around yours today.
(c) Susan Elliott

Friday, December 11, 2015

Do Our Christian Characters Show or Tell Their Faith: Guest Post by Monica Mynk



Monica recently shared this article with me, and I think it makes some great points for those who are writing Christian fiction. While I haven't written Christian fiction, I too have wondered do Christian characters show or tell about their beliefs. I hope Monica is able to answer a few of your questions with this post.
-- Susan

By: Monica Mynk

Granted, it’s a criticism of Christian fiction that we can sometimes be too “preachy.” Someone will publish a fantastic novel, and a reviewer will give it three stars, claiming that it would be great if not for all that religious stuff.

But amidst the chaos that we stir up in our character’s world, we need to show a picture of true Christianity in there somewhere. SHOW. So again, a classic case of show, don’t tell. How much of the character’s faith is given by dialogue or an info dump, when it could be given by action? Could that perhaps be what turns reviewers off?

In fact, isn’t Christianity itself something of a show, don’t tell concept? Doesn’t James 2:18 tell us this?

But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

Be it the main character or a side character, someone in the story needs to be visibly living by faith, being a peculiar person, and entering His courts with praise. They should have quiet time for reflection and prayer, express thankfulness, and offer praise whether by word or song.

I recently read about Leona von Brethorst, who penned the words to “He Has Made Me Glad,” which features Psalm 100:4 and Psalm 118:24.

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.

This is the day the Lord has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it.

I could have posted several links that described her poverty and how she turned to Psalm 100 in a time of desperation, which inspired her to the words. Instead, I chose the link to her obituary, which speaks to her character:

"Leona was a longtime member of Bethany Chapel writing poems and songs, and always active in her church, ultimately organizing and running an outreach that fed the homeless. She loved to sew and made a multitude of quilts for anyone in need. She also enjoyed fishing at every opportunity."

Does your Christian fiction novel have a Leona? It wouldn’t be hard to add one in–that little old lady next door who’s always baking bread, the boss who refuses to let anyone work on Sunday, the single mother who whistles songs of praise while she hangs the laundry on the line. Maybe it’s the cafe owner who has painted Bible verses on the walls.

I think if we truly look, we’ll find many Leonas in our life to inspire us. I’d love to hear about yours!

Exclusive YouTube Content

Wow! I had no idea how fun doing YouTube devotionals and author interviews was going to be! I freely admit I'm having a blast. Eventually, I plan to actually use video and not just still images, but that will be sometime after Christmas. Until then I will be posting away with "podcasts."

There are several new devotionals on YouTube right now, and I want to let you know that they're there. If you miss a devotional, or would like easy access to them, check out the tab on the top of the page that says YouTube Content.

If you haven't listened to these messages or the author interviews, I'd like to encourage you to check them out. I try to add several new devos weekly -- I am hoping to get to the point that I can post them daily. I hope you find the messages worthy, and I want to encourage you to share them with your friends.

Here is the latest YouTube content:
 
Feeding the Wolf: Which Will You Choose?

Lessons From Acts 3: Arise and Walk

Four Tips of Being a Friend

The First Six Promises of God

Making Choices: Thou Art the Man

The Bible: A Weary Soul's Refuge

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Perfected: God's Best Reserved For You: A Study in Hebrews by Erynn Sprouse

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I love the book of Hebrews. It is full of so many wonderful things. I love chapter 11, the great Hall of Faith, it just sends chills down my back every time I read it. While Hebrews 11 is a great read, there are even more amazing passages found within this book. Hebrews teaches us about the new covenant, and Christ as our high priest -- the ultimate sacrifice that took away our sins. If you have never done an in depth study of the book of Hebrews, here's your chance!

--Susan

About: Perfected: God's Best Reserved For You: A Study of Hebrews.

"From before the foundation of the world, God was planning for today, for this day of salvation, for this final age, and He saved the best for last. What He planned for the Israelites was amazing... but ultimately only a stepping stone to what He dreamt for us. In Hebrews, God’s best, reserved for you, is revealed. What should our response be since we live in this privileged time? Join us as we journey through Hebrews and discover what the culmination of God’s plans looks like and learn what it all means for us." (Amazon)



Meet the Author Erynn Sprouse


I must admit it excites me every time I get a new meet the author interview in my email inbox. I love getting to know all these wonderful writers, and I hope that you enjoy getting to know them, too. Erynn Sprouse is an author who should be no stranger to you if you follow Come Fill Your Cup and their Finer Grounds Series. If you would, help me welcome her to Church of Christ Women Authors!

--Susan

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I have always wanted to be a writer, but growing up I never would have dreamed I'd be writing about the Bible. Hebrews is such an amazing book, though, and I wanted to share its insights and empowerment, so when Kristy Huntsman asked if I'd like to do one of the Finer Grounds studies for Come Fill Your Cup, I was glad for the opportunity.

How long does it take you to write a book?
Perfected took about eight months to write.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
With homeschooling and little kiddos, it's nearly impossible for me to get any writing done at home. I'm sure there are a bunch of mommies who can relate; if I actually manage to get focused, it only lasts a moment before something needs my attention. So whenever I'm working on a study (like Perfected or for a ladies retreat, etc.), my sweet husband takes care of the kiddos for a several hours while I go off to a coffee shop and work there, headphones in, caffeine fuel at the ready. He does that for me sometimes multiple times in a week as my deadline nears.

Do you have an interesting writing quirk?
I've noticed that I tend to group descriptors in threes. A sentence seems incomplete, unbalanced, and even cold with only one or two adjectives. ;o)

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
One of the things I love best about the Bible is its self-sufficiency. With work, you can understand it better than most commentators by using the Bible to interpret the Bible. That said, study tools and sound commentaries can be useful. I use a Bible study tools program called Logos and find it invaluable. I also appreciate the Truth for Today commentary series and the notes made available by Workshop in the Word.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
With six kiddos, there is never a dull moment. We love to be out in nature together camping, hiking, picnicking, just enjoying each other. I like to knit and crochet, though I tend to leave the yarn for the colder months.

What would you tell other Christian women who want to write?
Try it! Write an article and send it to Come Fill Your Cup (submissions@comefillyourcup.com). It's worth a shot. The more you try, the better you'll get.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I've only written the one book so far, so it's my favorite! I'm looking forward to writing a book on the Psalms, though. Studying for that book will be great!

Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
They say good writers are readers, and I think it's true. For Bible studies, the more you're in the word, the better your work will become.

What do you like to read? 
I love to learn about history, so my favorite books are biographies and historic fictions. I also enjoy utopia/dystopia stories; no one can really invent a utopia, so it makes Heaven that much more exciting to look forward to.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I wanted to be a writer, but more than that I wanted to be an astronaut... until I learned how much math was involved! I never did like math much.

Fun fact.
The year I turned 18 was a big year for me. I became a Christian in February, got engaged in April, turned 18 in May and got married in August!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Return to Finian Jahndra by Katy Huth Jones


I have gotten to know Katy a little bit this year, and I think I've been blessed for it. She is a wonderful writer and has many books available on Amazon.  Return to Finian Jahndra is one of her earlier works and is the sequal to Leandra's Enchanted Flute. I hope you take the time to check out all of her wonderful books. They are available on Amazon in print and ebook. Many of them are also free if you are a Kindle Unlimited customer.
--Susan

About Return to Finian Jahndra:

"Four years after saving the magical land of Finian Jahndra, Leandra's cancer has returned and the prognosis is grim. At Songcatcher's request, Leandra returns to help her bird friends and Prince Aspen repel an invading army. But something is terribly wrong--her flute has no magic and her health is not restored. Despite heartbreaking losses, a series of perplexing mysteries, and the exhaustion of her advancing illness, Leandra must find a way to rally the birds and humans of Finian Jahndra to meet a much greater and deadly force before the magic dies forever."





Easy Nightshade Free Fancy Oatmeal & Muesli Breakfast Recipe for Writers

So, I was busy writing when my husband said, he was "starving." So, I realized we hadn't eaten all day. I don't know if you have that problem, but when I get busy I forget to do a lot of things. It was only after he mentioned his hunger that I noticed mine. He suggested oatmeal, but I decided nothing as simple as plain old oatmeal would do, so I decided to make fancy oatmeal.

One thing I love about oatmeal is that it is so easily dressed up. I use rolled oats, and then imagine flavor combinations. Today's featured muesli, canned peaches and walnuts. I am sure you could make this with Splenda, and light peaches to make it lower calorie -- but since I've been diagnosed with my food allergies I don't do fake foods anymore.

I hope this recipe helps you when you need to fix something quick and get back to your work. I promise if your family likes oatmeal, this will make you a real hero, and if you can't get your kids to eat oatmeal, you might give this a try. I've never had a kid turn it down!

Easy Nightshade Free Fancy Oatmeal & Muesli Recipe

Ingredients
8 cups of water
Dash of salt
1 TBS vanilla
2 cans sliced peaches
3 cups rolled oatmeal
2 cups muesli
1 cup walnuts
1/2 stick of butter
1/2 cup of brown sugar

Place 8-cups of water in a medium stock pot over high heat. Add a dash of salt, 1 TBS vanilla, and 2 cans of sliced peaches. (Drain the cans first.) Cook until bowling. Turn down the heat to medium-high.

Add 3-cups rolled oatmeal, and 2 cups muesli. Cook over a medium-high heat until thickened and remove from heat source.

Add 1-cup of walnuts, 1/2 stick of butter and 1/2-cup of brown sugar and stir.

Makes 8 servings.

Easy Oven Fried Bacon and Eggs Recipe for Busy Writers

I was staying at a friends house over the Thanksgiving holiday and I learned the coolest trick for making great fried bacon and eggs with a minimum of labor. My family is medium-sized with five members, and it is always hard to make everyone fried eggs and get them done at the same time. It is also time consuming to cook this traditional dish, and for a writer and blogger it usually takes much more time than I have, so I was uber-excited to learn my friend Sheena's trick.

Believe it or not, she made it all in the oven!

Oven Baked Fried Bacon and Eggs

Place several pieces of bacon onto a jelly roll pan. Bake for 10-20 minutes on 350 degrees until it reaches your preferred doneness. I have a small oven so it doesn't take long for my bacon to get done. Make sure to watch the bacon closely until you get used to how long it takes to cook in your oven.

While the bacon grease is still hot, crack your eggs into the bacon grease. They will actually start cooking before your eyes. Place the eggs back into the oven. Cook your eggs until they are just like you like them! About 10-20 minutes.

No joke, she made about 20 fried eggs, and they were all done at the same time!!! And, they tasted great. I think even I can add this easy breakfast into my daily routine.


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Thoughts on Purer in Heart by Heather Pryor November BOM: Week One

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If you've been following the blog, you already know I was sick for the month of November and much of the month of October, because of this I am working the November BOM posts into December. The BOM book for November was Purer in Heart by Heather Pryor. If you haven't had the chance to pick up your copy there's still time.

Thoughts on Week One: 

Lesson One: The Purpose of Purity
Lesson Two: A Special Treasure
Lesson Three: Purity in  Our Speech
Lesson Four: Purity in Our Thoughts

Can I just say WOW! Heather holds back no punches with the first four chapters of her book. I suspect the rest of it is just as honest and straightforward as what I've already read.  Heather hits to the heart-of- the-matter as to why we must be pure. As I was reading through the chapters I kept thinking of the song lyrics, "purer in heart, O God, help me to be." I couldn't help but ask myself, do I truly mean those words when I sing them? Do you?

Heather uses the purification process of fine metals as an analogy for purifying our lives. Even one speck of something that doesn't belong creates something unpure. So, decidding to live a pure life is something we must take seriously and work at.

I really appreciate this book. Heather doesn't leave you without hope. She has several suggestions for making our lives purer. Here are just a few:
  • Pray the words of the Psalms. She suggests taking a lesson from the great Psalms recorded in the Bible and say our prayers using the vocabulary the Psalmists used to address God. I think this is a great idea. What a wonderful way to connect to the Bible and reach out to God.
  • Ask yourself if your behavior is royal. This is a meaningful and fun way to think about living a pure life. If a royal wouldn't say something that comes out of your mouth during a state dinner, maybe it shouldn't be said. I have often used the royal example with my daughter when she gets too loud. The evil step-mother in Ever After tells her daughter, she doesn't "think her kind of resonance would be accepted at the royal court." When I say this, my daughter always gets the point. So, next time you are about to say something ask yourself, would a royal do it?
  • Taste your talk. In other words, before you speak consider if your words are necessary. Are they sweet, bitter, or sour. Always use the best purest speech possible!
  • Monitor your thoughts. Heather recommends using Philippians 4:8 as a test for what we should be thinking. She also created a great acronym to help us remember this. 
T:  Is it true?
H: Does it honor God?
O: What is its origin?
U: Is it uplifting?
G: Does it involve guilt?
H: Is it helpful?
T: Is it a temptation?
S: Does it strengthen? 

I look forward to reading more of this book, and I hope you do, too! Please leave what lessons you've learned in the comment section.

--Susan


Picking Wildflowers: Featured Poem From Every Flaw Every Perfection December BOM

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As I've previously posted I thought I'd let you read at your own pace this month and in place of a reading schedule I will be posting a weekly poem. After the last poem I posted, one of the readers stated how much she loved Picking Wildflowers, so I thought I'd share it with you.

It was written for my Papa Carl Amidon just a few weeks before he died. He had asked me if I remembered bringing him bouquets of wildflowers, and I wanted him to know not only did I remember that, but that he had made a huge impact on my life.

So, I wrote the poem Picking Wildflowers. I truly hope you enjoy it, and if you haven't gotten your copy of Every Flaw Every Perfection, look for it on Amazon. It's available in print and Kindle edition.



Picking Wildflowers 

For years I had a recurring dream.
The sun was bright and warm, and
I was free-falling, falling somewhere familiar
but forgotten; and, in that dream
you were there waiting for me
encouraging me to do it over and over again.

With each free-fall came a resounding splash,
and the reward of fresh watermelon.
When I told you, I saw the surprise in your blue eyes,
the soft smile on your lips,
and you said that was us at Third Bootie;
and I, I couldn’t have been
more than two you thought,
but I remembered.

It seems only a day has passed since
we sat together in your old blue pick-up truck,
driving off together in the cool of the early morning, and
living our next adventure.

We traveled all those back roads,
just the two of us,
sometimes hocking watermelons,
peaches, or tomatoes along the way.
What a pair we made.

I could tell countless stories;
boarding up the creek so I could swim,
setting up targets so I could shoot,
hunting for night crawlers for fishing trips, and
you encouraging me, a little tone deaf girl, to sing.

Papa, I could go on and on,
and there still wouldn’t  be enough
days or hours to tell the stories alive in my heart,
but what means the most to me
is not the stories I could tell, not my memories.

What matters most is that you are a part of me,
and I will always take that with me
no matter where I travel, or the things I do.

Because of you,
I’ll always have a field of buttercups at my feet
and an Indian paintbrush in my hand, picked just for you.

You once asked,
if I remembered bringing you bouquets of fresh wildflowers,
How could I forget, Papa?

Monday, December 7, 2015

The Ultimate Family Reunion by Cynthia Evans


By: Susan Elliott

I haven't been to a physical family reunion in a very long time, but I do look forward to getting together with the members of my family I haven't seen as often as I get the chance. There is nothing like sitting with family and listening to their stories and learning family histories.

In fact, it's almost indescribable to explain to someone who has not lost an important part of their family hierarchy as to what an impact that kind of loss makes in your life. I often sit and think about my grandparents, and long to hear their stories, or their voices drifting in to my sleeping mind from the kitchen when I would wake up in the morning.

Sadly,  most of them are gone now. But, I can rejoice knowing that at least some of my family died in the Lord, and that I have the hope of seeing them again someday. This is the family reunion Cynthia is discussing in her book The Ultimate Family Reunion.
--Susan

About The Ultimate Family Reunion:
"The Ultimate Family Reunion is a Biblical study in comparing an earthly family reunion and the heavenly one awaiting God's people."

Cynthia spoke about what this book means to her in her author interview: Meet the Author Cynthia Evans. Here's what she had to say:

This book is "very personal to me because it accounts of my earthly Powers family reunion to our spiritual reunion. It's personal because I want my earthly family members to be a part of the heavenly family reunion."

I think we can all say that we want our family members to be part of that heavenly family reunion. I hope and pray that we can reach as many souls as possible as we journey on Earth and that we can reach out to our friends and family.

If you haven't checked out Cynthia's book, it's available from Amazon. If you'd like, feel free to share some of your favorite family memories below in the comment section.

Have a great day!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Happy Holidays to You and Yours

There's just something about the holidays that makes my heart smile! Unlike most of the religious world, we don't celebrate Christmas as a memorial of Jesus' birth, or even a celebration of his birthday. That's because we remember Jesus every first day of the week during the Lord's Supper. That's when we think about his birth, his death, his burial and his resurrection. But, that doesn't mean we don't like Christmas or enjoy the holiday season. In fact, Christmas is one of my most favorite holidays of the year.

Today, we worked for several hours bringing joy to countless little ones. My husband played Jolly Old St. Nicholas at the local Wal-Mart. I'm not sure if he was as excited for the opportunity as I was when I agreed that he would do it, but I think once the kids started lining up he really enjoyed himself.

Some of the kids asked for a lot of things like unicorns, dragons, and sharks -- maybe they will grow up to be writers! Others, asked for electronics and army men, some even asked for bubble gum, an alarm clock and a trash can. All the kids were so happy because they got to spend a bit of time with Santa. Today these kids got to live a little of the holiday magic, and so did their parents. Sometimes I wondered who was more excited the kids or Mom and Dad. There were even a few adults who had to get their pictures taken with Santa.

I know there are some people who don't like Santa Claus, and that's okay. You don't have to. We've always told our kids that Santa lives in your heart and he is that feeling you get when you think of the holidays. They also learned at a young age that the man you see on the street wearing Santa's clothes represents Christmas and the man the world calls St. Nicholas that lived a long, long time ago.

My three have always understood that there was a man and a legend of Santa Claus, and we've adopted that into our Christmas celebration as a time to remember to give to others and treat people the way God would have us to treat them. Even though my kids grew up understanding that Santa lives in your heart and not the North Pole, they have always loved Christmas, and we all still believe in Santa Claus. We always will.

Today, while I was ringing a cowbell and holding an overstuffed teddy bear pointing the way to the Christmas land, I thought about all the things that make Christmas time so wonderful. The more I thought about it the more I realized that the things that mean the most are not those that glitter and sparkle, or have that new electronic smell. It is the people around me, and it is my family and friends that are the best gifts I can ever get.

It is also you, dear reader, that is a wonderful gift. You who spends your time reading the things I'm posting, and raising your hand to tell me you want to be a part of the Church of Christ Women Authors. Words cannot express what it means to me to know that you are there reading these words, supporting authors and telling your friends about this work, and listening to the YouTube channel. So, I want to say thank you for everything that you've done for me by reading this blog. I've gotten to know so many wonderful people this year that I otherwise would have never met, and that has been a true blessing.

I hope that you find yourself in a good place today, and that you can look at your own life and see the blessings that are in it. As you go about your day, remember that every good and perfect gift comes from God. Thanks again for everything. I look forward to hearing from you in the comment section below, oh and if you want something for Christmas, maybe post it down there. It seems I've got Santa's ear this year!
--Susan


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Lynn Nodima's Six Favorite Writing Things

Lynn Nodima's Favorite Writer Things


When I was asked to write a short list of my favorite things to use in my writing life, I thought it would be easy to come up with dozens of items.

Writing has been a part of my life for so long, I was sure there were dozens of things I really like to use in my work.

I didn't want to put a computer or printer, though those are probably the most used items in my office. Nor did I want to list my Microsoft Office software, my photo software, or other such obvious items.

 However, I was only able to come up with a few other items. They are listed below.

Six Favorite Writer Tools 

  • Pentel R.S.V.P. Ballpoint Pen Assorted Ink Colors, 8 Pack Both as a writer and as an editor, I use ink of different colors to make the comments on documents more easily located. Since I am a visual learner, using color ink pens makes it easier for me to remember when I am taking a class, too. 
  • Journal/Notebook with Elastic Closure I love blank books. I use them for daily to-do lists, for article ideas, for notetaking, and for doodling with different colors ink when I can't think of what to write. 
  • Romance Writer's Phrase Book I use this so much that I have nearly worn it out. I should really get a new one. It is the perfect reference when I am trying to come up with an action that shows an emotion.
  • Hamilton Beach Electric Kettle, Cordless I absolutely love my water kettle. It heats water faster than I can heat it on the stove, and has a safety feature that cuts it off so that it won't boil dry. I use this to heat water for cocoa, to help food get started, since I can add boiling water to the pan before it would boil on the stove, and most importantly, for instant cappacino and hot tea.
  • Silicon Power 1TB Rugged Armor Shockproof / Waterproof 2.5-Inch USB 3.0 Military Grade External Portable Hard Drive  This is my lifesaver. I don't have to worry that my data will be lost if I drop it in a rain puddle. I can't tell you how good that feels--not that I tend to drop things in rain puddles, but I do worry about such things. Imagination on overdrive, you know?
  • Portable Hard Drive Carrying Case This case would let me safely carry my portable harddrive with me. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Nightshade Free Chicken Tortilla Casserole Recipe for Dinner on the Ground Potluck

What does a recipe have to do with Church of Christ Women Authors? Well, there are several cookbook writers on here, and each of us at some point are going to have to cook a dish for a potluck dinner. So, I thought I'd start sharing some of my favorite recipes. (It was my mom's suggestion -- great idea Mom!) Look for the tab at the top of the page called Dinner on the Ground Recipes for a complete list of recipes. I'll be adding to them as often as I can.

So, let's turn our attention to food! I love potlucks. I enjoy spending time with my Christian family, and getting to know everyone a little bit better, but I hate trying to figure out what I'm going to fix to eat.  This is partly because I suffer from serious food allergies, and making food is always a challenge, because I want it to be appealing to those without food allergies. (My family loves potluck because they can eat all the things we don't have in the house!)

Because of the food allergies I am constantly having to rewrite my favorite recipes. Eventually, I'm going to write my own cookbook for those who suffer with nightshade allergies. A few days ago I finally remembered a casserole dish that I used to make all the time for my family and decided I would make it nightshade free. I believe it's also gluten-free, but please double check before you cook it. (Those with gluten allergies know this much better than I do!)

Nightshade Free Chicken Tortilla Casserole

Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts
1 white onion
1 stick butter
1 can sliced mushrooms, or  1 cup fresh sliced mushrooms!
1 quart whipping cream
Salt
Pepper
Garlic powder
1/4 cup Bragg's Liquid Aminos
Extra virgin olive oil
1 bag tortilla chips
1 Tbs cumin (I sometimes use more)
Cilantro, optional
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Dice the onion and place it in a sauce pan. Add butter, and cook over a medium heat until the onions are transparent. Add one drained can of sliced mushrooms, whipping cream and 1/4 cup Braggs Liquid Aminos to the saucepan. (This is basically a homemade cream of mushroom soup.) Stir often.

Add salt, pepper and 1 Tsp of garlic powder to the soup mixture and then turn the heat to warm.

Add 2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil to a large skillet. Cut the chicken breasts into chunks and place them in the skillet. Cook until golden brown. Then transfer them to a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish.

Crush the tortilla chips while they are still in the bag and then pour the crushed chips over the chicken.

Pour the cream of mushroom soup over the chips and chicken. Sprinkle 1 Tbs of cumin over the mixture, add cilantro if you'd like and stir. (I like a lot of cilantro, but I am a Texas girl.)

Sprinkle the mixture with 2-cups of cheddar cheese. (Please note that store-bought shredded cheese does contain potato starch, so you might want to grate your own.)

Bake for 30 minutes at 450 degrees.


I hope you like this recipe and the new Dinner on the Ground Segment of Church of Christ Women Authors.
--Susan

For information about nightshades click: here.