Monthly Archives: October 2013

“Follow Me”

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I have been doing the bible study by David Platt called Follow Me and the DVD series that goes along with it.  I must say it is an eye opener for anyone that calls themselves Christian.  He really unpacks the two words Jesus commanded us in scripture to do, “follow me.”  If you are not making disciples (as all Christians are called to do) are you really following Jesus?  This study is convicting on many levels but it made me ask myself the question, “Am I making disciples?”  It is clear that all Christians are called to do one of Jesus’ very clear commands; follow Him.

Matthew 4:18-22

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew.  They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”  At once they left their nets and followed him.  Going on from there he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John.  They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets.  Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

What an amazing picture.  I’m not sure but I love to imagine this scene as a bright, sunny day with the sandy shoreline bustling with people. Sons helping their fathers fish as a sense of duty and a way of life.  These brothers were probably fishing to provide for their families yet when Jesus called them they laid it all down and at once followed him.  When Jesus called Peter and Andrew they were casting fishing nets into the Sea of Galilee.  Jesus said eleven words (depending on which version you have), eleven words that would call all Christians everywhere, of every nation, and every tongue to become His disciples.  Matthew 4:19 “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

Jesus did not say Go and be fishers of men.  No, He said, “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”  He will equip us when we follow Him and prepare us  to do what he has called of us.

Did Peter and Andrew stop and ask Jesus about a salary? Health care plans? Housing allowance? No.  Scripture tells us as soon as Jesus finishes speaking those eleven words, “at once they (Peter and Andrew) left their nets and followed Him.”  Amazing.  Was there something special about Peter and Andrew?  Something that would make them better than the next guy?  The only thing special about these two men was the fact they immediately left their nets and FOLLOWED HIM.  They answered the call that Jesus has commanded all Christians to do.  He has, through His word, spoke those same eleven words to us.  He wants to make you and me fishers of men, are we truly following Him?

                 Am I making disciples?  –no excuses–  Are you making disciples?

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What are you living for?

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Isn’t this the truth! We focus on the few years we are here on earth and not what comes after…

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Great illustration by Francis Chan that makes us think: “What am I living for?”

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Sky Diving? Without a Parachute?!

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Falling, realizing the ground is fast approaching, watching the ground getting closer, silhouettes of buildings, bare ground, bodies of water, patches of flowers, green fields, and cemeteries.  Where will you land?  You fell with no plan of stopping but now you want a parachute. You wish you had one now. As you fall you see a steeple, a cross- a saving grace…  Sometimes you have to fall hard to understand the need for Christ and to have your heart pierced by grace.  You have to surrender it all to Him and ask Him for help.  He can be the only thing that stands between you and falling hard into the world.  Those of you that have messed up in your life and you feel there is never going to be a ‘normal’, I promise if you keep pushing forward day by day– There will one day be a ‘NORMAL’ again.  Find Christ, He isn’t hiding, He is waiting for you to reach for Him.  Call on His name.

Romans 8:38-39
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

It’s a hard days work!!

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                  It’s a hard days work!  Or is it talent when you enjoy what you do? When I look around at my family I become amazed at the amount of talent that I am surrounded by.  In my family it is not hard to find people that put in long hours in what they have chosen to do for a living.  This begs the question, is it hard work that turns into something great or was it raw talent developed into something great by hard work?  Confused yet?

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My sister-in-law has a talent we all wish we had.  She is a professional photographer and takes amazing photos of landscapes, families, and beautiful babies.   The two pictures above are attributed to her. The baby pictures she takes make you want to have newborns of your own just so she can take the pictures.  I love looking through them, they captivate me.  When her Facebook page Expressions by Andrea pops up in my news feed of a newborn baby session my husband can hear me Ooh and Ahhh and he will exclaim, “Remember we are done changing diapers!  Don’t get any ideas.”   Yeah, yeah…  Follow the link to her page and you will get lost in her baby pictures also!     🙂

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             My sister can turn plain old cake into beautifully sculpted wedding cakes and not just wedding cakes but anything you can imagine for a cake.  Of course she started decorating at the age of eighteen and now many years later have perfected her craft.  She has amazed all of us on special occasions where a cake is presented.  She gets accolades every time.  I’m very proud of her and I’m always recommending her to anyone that mentions a wedding or birthday party.  The picture above is an actual wedding cake my sister has made.  I have tried my hand at this and not with success.  Of course my cakes were on a much smaller scale and probably received more snickers than accolades.

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             My mother was Martha Stewart before Martha Stewart was Martha.  From yard work, garden work, canning, cooking, quilting, sewing, painting, crafts and building them from scratch with power saws she’s got that whole mother market covered.  She always had the laundry folded and put away, the fridge always cleaned out every three days and never a dish in the sink AND held down a job.  In fact she and I have had conversations on me not throwing leftovers away after her mandatory three day rule and my reply is always, “I’m just trying to build up the family’s immune system.”  I am going to have to say that these household things she kept up on so well must be a talent because she was so good at them.  They came easy to her, effortlessly.  To me these things are chores.

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              My brother is a two time Iraq vet.  His braveness amazes me also, and I am a very proud sister.  He has been blessed with a great story telling ability (that I am a little jealous of). He can captivate his audience and either make us laugh or make us think deeply.  He once wrote and read a eulogy at our grandfather’s very packed funeral and had the crowd laughing one moment and tears the next.  Our grandfather would have been very proud.  He is a talented speaker even though he may not feel he is.  I am very proud of all his accomplishments in everything he has done.  Unlike my speech in tenth grade where I was reading a paper in front of the class and read the word organic and instead the word orgasm came out of my mouth.  I have been scarred ever since (and yes everyone noticed).

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             Then there is my husband, well, seriously there isn’t much he can’t do, it is a blessing (yet, it can get annoying).  He can build wonderful structures from the ground up with pieces of lumber and concrete.  He can take an old home and make it new again. Broken dryer?  No problem, just flip that baby over and hand him a screw driver.  He can fix a car when it is broken (hence, why I never get a new one).  Not to mention he can sew, cook and help the kids with algebra.  Now he doesn’t do this stuff everyday but I know it is in his talent tool belt.  Or is it talent?  All the men in his family seem to have this ability dating back to his grandfather.  So, was this a skill that was taught from generation to generation or does it come naturally to want to build things.  I can tell you that our youngest son would rather have a football in his hand over a hammer and vice versa for our older son.  But could our youngest son develop this talent if he worked hard at it and do just as well?

I guess what I am trying to say is- yes, these are all talents, skill, hard work, born with… probably a mixture of all.   They took what God gave them and developed them into something greater over time, with practice.  I could go on about others in my family and my friends that have great talents but I would be writing all day.  I am surrounded by many people with lots of abilities.  We all need one another, society works because we are all different and have unique gifts to offer and it takes all kinds of developed talent to make the world work.  What would you say is your greatest talent, skill, ability, or a gift is?  How have you developed it?

Does your book sales on Amazon dwindle during the summer or is it just me?

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Book Sales on Amazon

My book Junior Size Faith was published in May of 2012.  When it was released I had a goal of thirty reviews on Amazon.  I am not sure why I had this goal set at thirty, it seemed like a high number for a ‘never before published author’ but that was my goal.  This goal was reached in close to a year.  A steady climb to the number thirty review and that is where it has set for at least three months.  Something I noticed last year during the summer months- I hardly sold any books at all for about two and half months.  I also noticed the same thing this summer.  As soon as school started I noticed the sales picked back up right away.

Odd or are readers just being able to hear themselves think again?

I’ve chalked it up to normal summer activities keeping the average reader busy and away from books.  I myself was busy with kid’s activities, my husband, family, vacations and just household duties.  Now that they are back in school I have spent time reading and actually adding about fifteen thousand words to my word count on writing projects.  I have lofty dreams to keep this word count high now that I have days that I can dedicate to writing without kids needing chauffeured around town (I don’t really mind this), multiplying summer laundry (this, I do mind), or just plan fed (they really can eat a horse) every ten minutes (we have teenage boys).  Hours I can dedicate to daydreaming up new plots and forming the perfect sentence.  I do cherish every minute we get to spend with our boys, I really do.  I also put all my writing on the back burner during the summer months so I can focus on them.  I love my children and I make them a great breakfast and dinner, leaving the lunch time and the other seven to eight hours spent in the school system while this momma writes.  I remember my mother saying to my sister, brother and I when we had pushed every button she had, “I can’t even hear myself think”. I  would hear her say this and think to myself, “Wow, she is sooo dramatic!”   No, no she wasn’t.

There will be some of you that say maybe the time I spend marketing suffers over the summer because I put it away for 3 months…  Maybe… But, I don’t really market anytime of the year.   I actually just started this blog (because I can hear myself think now in complete sentences).  My Facebook page that I created over a year ago advertises free books that I find on Amazon and has never really received a lot of traffic.   I advertise this page in the Kindle edition of my book.  The truth is  I just like passing on good deals for the fun of it.  Maybe I should market more during the summer months but then I would miss out on all the things I listed above with our kids.  I would rather my writing suffer than quality time with my children.  I do not have an attention span long enough to manage my marriage, children,  household, daydreaming and writing.  Kudos for you that do, I am envious!

I don’t think it is just me that this sales drop during the summer months is happening to.  Now that my sales have resumed this fall all I can assume is ‘this feeling overwhelmed’ during the summer months has to happen to others and as their (like mine) reading lists get longer they long for the end of August so they can once again, “Hear themselves think,” and get to read a book and get lost in its pages or add to their word count.

Have a great day!!!