Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Free Christian Fiction - August 8, 2012

Here are some new ebooks you can get for free. You never know how long the freebies will last on Kindle... but as of right now, these are all FREE! Even if you already have the paper version, grab the e-version and give the authors a boost. We LOVE that. Oh, and here's a hint... when it's free on Kindle, it's often free on other e-reader platforms. So check them out on the one you use. You may get a nice surprise.

These books are still out there for free... YAY!

Monday, August 6, 2012

When "New & Improved" Isn't

We all have our comfort foods. For some, it's mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, bread slathered in butter... whatever your comfort food, it's probably something that you know really isn't good for you, but it takes you back to another time and place. With that first bite, the tension leaves your shoulders, you kind of sink into your chair, and a contented sigh escapes your lips.

Hamburger Helper is one of my comfort foods. Lasagna HH, to be exact. I haven't eaten it in years, but two weeks ago, I decided I wanted some. So I picked up a box and a pound of ground beef and headed home to make a comforting meal. At least, that was the idea.

My beef was browned and drained. I looked at the back of the box to double check how much water to add and to my surprise saw that milk was now listed. Milk? In my lasagna? There was never milk before. Did I get the right kind? I turned the box over, and that's when I saw it: New Improved Flavor.

My heart sunk. Because New Improved Flavor should mean that I'm going to really, really enjoy this food. But we all know it doesn't. What it really means is, We took something you already enjoyed, messed with it, and now it's completely different.

I still made it. I ate some of it. And I was extremely disappointed. Maybe it does taste more "homemade" like they claim on the box (although when I open a box and cook on top of the stove, I consider it homemade, so I don't know why that was even an issue.) But it doesn't taste like it used to. Not even close. And it doesn't look the same. I miss the almost-neon orange sauce. Sure it was artificial and a color not normally found in nature, but it was part of the experience. And now it's gone.

Sometimes, it seems like companies decide they have to constantly change things in order to keep people interested. Perhaps that's true. Personally, I cringe at the word upgrade. Because nine times out of ten, it doesn't mean better... it means now you have to relearn how to do something that was easy to you yesterday.

Sorry for venting about my disappointing HH experience. If you're waiting for it to lead into a philosophical analogy about the fluidity of life and how nothing stays the same, sorry to disappoint you. I've got nothin'. I'm just really bummed about a taste from my past that apparently is gone forever.
To leave it on a positive note, let's take a look at a dependable friend. A product that never disappoints because, despite all the different versions available, you can still get the old, dependable original... plain M&Ms. How I love you, little candy-coated chocolates!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Itty Bitty Faith

This has been a hard year. Personally, that is...

My church, Faith Community Lutheran in Las Vegas
my spiritual home... a place of peace
and hope and love. A blessing.
Things are moving forward career-wise. I had a book come out in April. Another one coming out in November. And there's a new deal I'll be announcing (I hope) by the end of this month. So from a career perspective, I have no reason to complain.

But back to that personal stuff...

It's been brutal. I'm keeping the details to myself right now. God may release me one day to share it all, but today isn't that day. What's important is that I've been letting personal crisis and struggle beat me down.

I've had itty, bitty faith.

There are times when my faith blooms a bit... I know God will get me through. But for the most part, my faith is so small... I'm convinced there's no way out. That I've passed a point of no return and all I can do is surrender to it, to get as comfortable as possible in my discomfort.

I heard a pastor once tell this story... a travelling salesman visited a farmer one day. The man was sitting on his porch in a rocking chair, comfy as can be. On the other side of the porch was a hound dog, stretched out lazy and half asleep on his side. The salesman was telling the farmer about the great deal he had when the dog moved a little and whimpered. The dog wiggled, then went back to sleep. The salesman kept talking, but a minute later, the dog did the same thing. It happened a few more times, and finally, the salesman asked, "Is your dog all right? It sounds like he's in pain."

The farmer shook his head and smiled. "Naw, he's fine. He's lying on a nail and he's too lazy to move off it."

I've been a hound dog lying on a nail. And you know... it's time to get up and move.

It's time to do something different. It's time to know that God doesn't need me to be a woman of great, mountain-moving faith in order to move in my life. God has everything I need. He just wants me to start living in it.

So I share with you today my desire to live in God's grace and mercy. If you're a praying person, I ask you to consider sending up a prayer that God will constantly remind me that HIS power and grace and love are sufficient for me, regardless how much faith I feel at any given moment.

And friends, I pray for all of you. That you will know how much God loves you, no matter what the circumstance. And He doesn't want a single one of His children taking naps on nails.