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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Accepting Submissions for The Church of Christ Women Authors Blog 2016 Anthology of Literary Potpourri

I know most of my posts have been stroke related as of late, but I haven't forgotten that the main focus of this blog is to bring you into contact with great writers and their books of all genres. This is why I was excited to announce a few weeks ago that the Church of Christ Women Authors is accepting submissions for our first ever anthology, The Church of Christ Women Authors Blog 2016 Anthology of Literary Potpourri. I have received several submissions, but space is limited. Make sure you get your submissions to me before the due date of May 4th.

The Categories and Word Counts Are:

  • 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  • Novel Preview: 1-4 chapters of an unpublished novel


You can submit in every category, but make sure you only submit one item per category. E-mail entries to churchofchristwomenauthors@gmail.com.

Click: here for full rules and guidelines, or on the link Accepting Submissions for Anthology.

I look forward to getting your entries. Have a fantastic day, and thank you for making The Church of Christ Women Authors Blog a success!

--Susan

Monday, January 18, 2016

For My Husband: Poetry by Susan Elliott

You fell in my arms
whispered,
"I'll always love you."
The lights flashed,
sirens cried
you were whisked away.

Behind the red doors
you screamed with pain,
sobs escaped my throat
I longed to save you
-- but I couldn't.

With a flat stare
that scrubbed man
told me you'd probably die,
be prepared -- nothing to be done.
He walked away.

I fell to my knees
close to your ear
scolded you, begged you,
"Don't you dare leave me.
I need you."

And you listened.

Today, your limp
is Swan Lake.
Your weakness is strength.
Your crooked smile
 -- a vision
of God's grace,
and I am at peace
because we still walk
side by side.

(c) Susan Elliott

If you're interested in helping with the Elliott Family Fund click: here

Saturday, January 16, 2016

I Know Whom I Have Believed

Larry at lunch in the cafeteria
at rehab-- making a funny face.
My husband, Larry, has always said our christian walks are kind of cyclical. Sometimes we are on spiritual highs, sometimes we are on spiritual lows. This month I've been on a spiritual high and a secular low. Those of you who have been keeping up with me on Facebook know that on New Year's Day my hubby had a stroke. This has been one of the worst times of our lives, but we are making it through. In the past two weeks I have learned somethings that I thought I already knew, and I would like to share them with you.

God Cares For Me (And YOU!)
I Peter 5:7: "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you."

This week I have experienced the love of God in so many ways that I have been left humbled and in awe. Perhaps you've seen this in your life and already completely understand that God cares for you. While I have always known God cares for me and that he is my help, I have learned it better than I have ever known since my husband had his stroke. I want to encourage you to cast your cares and burdens on him, because he truly does care for you!

I have been amazed at every turn. Nothing has presented itself that wasn't taken care of. A week ago I had not had the chance to go buy myself some food, and a preacher's wife (who I did not know from the Weber Road church of Christ) showed up asking me if I needed something to eat. That may not seem like a big thing to most people, but the last two weeks have been so full of little things that I see God's help from every corner, and like Ms. Dorothy (one of my instructors at MSOP) praying for the glasses she lost in a restaurant states away from her home, I am praying for it all. Ms. Dorothy's glasses where returned in the mail. I got Whataburger. :) God cares for me, and he cares for you, too!


God's Church is a Family
Ephesians 2:19-22

"Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit."

My family has lived in several states, and have been blessed with a large church family. The last few weeks has shown me how very real this family is and how much Christians should and do care for each other. While we've been away, the Star City congregation where my husband preaches has been helping us beyond measure, and the local congregations in South Texas have been a great comfort and source of strength.

The day my husband had his stroke several members from the Adams Street church of Christ in Beeville, Texas, came and sat with me. My hubs grew up there and this congregation will always be very special to us. The brothers and sisters took my girls out to dinner and brought me food. They were just there waiting for news about Larry and ready to help me in whatever way they could. I can't thank them enough for that. They didn't just leave me alone after that first day, they have been caring for us every since.

There are so many more congregations that have been more than helpful, and I want to thank them all for everything. Their willingness to help us has show me first-hand that the church is the best family anyone could have, and we are all so blessed!

One of the members, Justin Imel, where Larry preaches set up a GoFundMe page called the Elliott Family Fund to help with our expenses, and so many people have reached out to help us. Just knowing that so many people care and are helping up with our needs leaves me in awe, and I want to thank everyone who has helped and will help. I also want to thank everyone for the prayers on our behalf, because I know God answers prayer!

I Can Do ALL Things In Christ
Philippians 4:12-13

"I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

I guess we have really embraced the idea that I can do ALL things in Christ. Anytime we have faced depression or a curve ball over the last few weeks, we remember that God is in control, and in him is our hope. I have learned, even more than I had already known, that I can overcome anything thrown my way and thankfully my hubs knows this, too. This fact encourages him to strive hard each day. It drives him to work harder and longer even when he is at the point of exhaustion. In fact, in the last two weeks he has gone from bed bound to walking -- although wobbly and not for long periods of time; he is walking! I want to remind you that you can also do all things through Christ.

I hope you already know that God cares for you, that the church is a real family and that you can do all things through Christ. If you ever doubt, take a look at your life. I promise you will see God's love around you in all things. Thanks again for everything!



Monday, January 4, 2016

Blogging 101: The Top 15 Things You Need to Know as a Blogger

Top 15 Things You Need to Know as a Blogger, Blogging Tips, Growing Your Blog, Blogging 101
I really enjoy learning, and especially learning things that I can share with other people. My mom says that's because I am a teacher at heart, and maybe that's the case. I don't feel like you have to be in a classroom to learn. In fact, our motto for our home school has always been, "non scholae sed vitae discimus" which means, "We learn not for school, but life." The philosopher Seneca penned those words thousands of years ago and they still ring true.

All of our life is about learning, and we can learn a lot from the people around us. This is why I reach out to the experts when I have the desire to learn. While I wouldn't consider myself a blogging expert, I have had the opportunity to reach out to people who are. The following things I learned at a panel discussion a few years ago, and I thought their advice was invaluable. So, I am passing the information on to you.

The following information comes from the notes I took from the panel "Blog Much" featuring David Halperin, Steven H. Wilson, Sharon Stogner, Brandon Blackmoor, and John Hartness.

Basic Blogging Information

Get your own domain name.

Keep your blog layout simple with clean lines.

Use a light background with dark type.

Baskerville Font is a great one and has been called the most believable font, but any serif font should be good. Don't forget about Times New Roman!

Never use Comic Sans for your blog.

Websites that work best use the same styles that you would see in a book publication.

Always use Alt Text for images.  Just fill out the blanks.

Post at least 3x weekly, preferably once a day. But, don't over post.

You can register your blog as a business.

Link to other sites.

Use original and meaningful content.

Beware of people peddling SEO information, "It's like snake oil.

Important for Personal Blogs

Don't criticize your place of employment.

Don't reveal too much personal information.

Assume EVERYTHING you write will be read by someone, and probably by the person who you would least like to read it.

Don't forget there are creepy people on the Internet, and NEVER argue with people on the Internet.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

A Heartfelt Thank You After a Disastrous New Year

I want to wish you all a happy New Year! I would like to say mine has been all giggles and smiles, but New Year's Day was one of the worst days of my life. My hubby of 20 years and six months (yep, the handsome guy in the photo taken a few days before New Year's) had a stroke.

He is currently in the ICU, and I still don't know much. I've been told that's pretty normal after a stroke, but it is so FRUSTRATING! I am just thankful that God has all things in his hands.

I know that there are many people praying for him and my family. I can't thank you enough. The past two days has really shown me how many friends and family we have. I had no idea.

The support we have had here in South Texas and at home in Virginia has been unbelievable. I can't thank all the people who have stepped up to help in ways that I never even thought possible.

I am hopeful that Larry will make a speedy recovery, but I am sure the next few days, weeks or months are going to be trying and difficult as he relearns how to do normal everyday tasks. I would like to continue to ask for your prayers as we go through this together.

It is my plan to continue running the Church of Christ Women Authors Blog and YouTube Channel, and I will do my best to post as often as I can; although, the next few weeks are going to by spotty.  I look forward to hearing from you and I hope you remember the book club books for January. I know I look forward to reading them again.

Thanks!

Susan

Update:

I want to update everyone about Larry and he said it would be fine to let you know. Larry has for certain suffered a stroke (I believe in the thalamus). It has left him with the loss of mobility on his left side. The information stored in that part of his brain is gone. There is no way to tell what all that entails at this point in time. He may or may not have all of his memories; although, he has recognized and recounted stories with many people here and on the phone. Only time will tell what damage or loss there is.

He will be entering rehab in South Texas -- we hope Rockport -- when he gets out of the hospital. He will be there at least two weeks, and at sometime after that we will be able to travel the long trip home. (It will have to be an extended return, so I don't know exactly when we will get back in Virginia after we leave here.) We are playing everything by ear at this point. He is also now insulin dependent, so friends who like to bake goodies and all, no more for now until we get this under control. I want to thank everyone for the prayers and the continued prayers.