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Sunday, July 24, 2016

Winner! And...After I Get Him to the Altar, I'll Alter Him

Thank you to everyone who participated in the CAN Scavenger Hunt. I hope you had a wonderful time. I enjoyed meeting many new friends.

And the winner of my drawing is...Drum Roll... Rhonda Gothier.

Tomorrow/Monday, July 25th, the Grand Prize Winner of the Hunt will be announced and to see the winner, check here.

Congratulations to all the winners. And thank you to everyone who participated. I really enjoyed meeting so many wonderful readers and authors. I trust you enjoyed yourselves also.


Now, I'd like to use several of my next posts about the subject: When I get him to the altar, I'll alter him. Tweet that!

That was my perspective when Larry and I married in 1970, but I didn't realize it. I just thought that was marriage. Little did I realize how much it was negatively influencing my marriage. I became manipulative and complaining because Larry wasn't cooperating with my manipulation program. 

Interestingly, we found out much later during God's healing process, that generally speaking, women try to change their husbands, but men want to keep their new brides just the same as before. It's surprising that we women and men have different expectations--and yet not so surprising because we're so different.


Here's the first myth about "altering:" 

Let's look at the relationship of Kyle and Hannah. For the most part Hannah has overcome this myth. She admits, "I was the oldest child in my family, and after my parents' divorce I was in control. I came into marriage looking for someone I could boss. I interpreted love as meaning Kyle would cooperate with my ideas. When he had different ideas about how something should be done, it seemed to spell 'rejection' to me. I felt compelled to argue and try to get my own way."

Kyle comments, "When Hannah kept trying to make me do everything her way, I finally concluded it wasn't worth the effort of going against her. I withdrew to protect myself. In many areas, I let her be boss by saying, 'Fine.'"

Hannah continues, "I knew I'd gotten my way, but deep down inside, I didn't like it. Eventually it bothered me so much I asked Kyle, 'Why did you stop talking to me?' He told me I disagreed with everything he said and it was no longer worth it. I realized he was feeling put down by my constant arguing. I'd never really seen it that way before. I called it discussions. Now I'm really trying to consider his opinion just as valid as mine. I'm also correcting my wrong idea that love means he'll do everything I say."

Ultimately, only God can meet any of our needs fully. He may choose to meet some of our needs through our mates, but in the long run, only God is a permanent source of happiness, security, significance, and contentment. God says, "And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 4:19). By the way: there's a difference between "need" and "want."

In my next blog, I'll identify another manipulative myth:
If you change, I can be assured you won't go back to your old habits.

In the meantime, pay attention to the subtle ways you're believing the lie: "If you change, I'll get my needs met."

Saturday, July 16, 2016

CAN Scavenger Hunt: Stop #7

CAN Scavenger Hunt Stop #7

Welcome to the Hunt! I'm so excited to be a part of this Scavenger Hunt. If you haven't heard about the Hunt before, you can find the beginning and the instructions at:

Start Here


But in brief, the Hunt gives you the opportunity of possibly winning 26 non-fiction and fiction/novels from 26 different authors. And my Bonus Drawing (below).

At this stop, I'm hosting Sarah Sundin, author of Anchor in the Storm, which is the book she'll be contributing for the Grand Prize.

I'm eager for you to get to know Sarah, so let's get going.

Sarah, when did you first have a desire to write and was your passion always fiction?

Although I’d always loved reading, writing, and stories, I chose a career in pharmacy. One morning in 2000, I woke up from a dream so compelling that I had to write it down. I had NO idea what I was doing and that first book will never be published—nor should it—but it got me started. Thanks to advice from one of my mother’s friends, a multi-published author named…Kathy Collard Miller (!)…I joined a writers’ group and began attending writers’ conferences. My writing passion has always been fiction. Nonfiction writing feels like a school assignment that I slog through and count words. But stories fly out of me, and I have to cut words!

Sarah, I still remember talking with your mom at bowling. She was so excited you were working on a novel. The Lord sure orchestrated those circumstances. I'm proud to say I was a part of His work. 

So here's the next question: Growing up, what kind of books did you enjoy reading the most? Did those prepare you for what you do now?
I read everything I could—contemporary and historical fiction, biographies, history, humor, cereal boxes, and shampoo bottles. I think all good reading shapes us. It affects how we see others, the world, and events. It allows you to appreciate other cultures and time periods. It forces you to think about who you are and how you would—or should—react in a similar situation. To me, it’s an honor to write historical fiction and to open eyes to how people lived during World War II.

At what point did you know your genre would be historical fiction? What drew you to the themes of war times?
My first two (never published) novels were contemporary romances. When a story kernel for a third novel came to me, I knew it had to be historical rather than contemporary. The World War II era called out to me. My grandparents served in various ways during the war, and they were storytellers. Plus, my father was always watching WWII documentaries, and many of those books I consumed as a girl were about the war. The WWII era is rich with drama, daring, and romance—perfect fodder for the novelist.

How did God lead you and how did He design it into the ministry you have now?
I adore looking back and figuring out how God led me to where I am today. Majoring in chemistry seems like a waste for an author—but it helps me decipher the gunnery and pilot’s manuals that make my military action scenes realistic. A career in pharmacy seems like a detour—but my health-care background allowed me to write stories about WWII nurses and pharmacists. Teaching Sunday school prepared me for the public speaking that can bolster a writing career—when you teach fourth-graders, you quickly learn to become animated and dynamic, or else the girls begin braiding each other’s hair and the boys have each other in headlocks. And all life’s hurt and rejection and pain and sin and loss embarrassments and mistakes—those enrich my stories, because I can feel what my characters are feeling. God wastes nothing.

For the kind of writing you do, do you have a system?
Very much. That’s the pharmacist in me. Many novelists come up with a basic story idea and start writing, with no idea how it will develop. My analytical mind is baffled and amazed by that. I have a long percolation phase for a story idea when I play with it and see if I like it and do basic research to make sure it works historically. Then I build the story slowly, from a one-page blurb to a five-page synopsis. I fill out detailed character charts getting to know these fictional people I love. Then I write a thorough outline. As I write the rough draft, I do veer from my outline due to research, getting to know my characters better, or just a great plot idea. But the basic story remains. An outline frees me to write, same as a solid itinerary allows me to enjoy a journey unfettered with worries about where we’ll spend the night.

For your books, is the plot or the characters most prominent?
My basic story idea usually comes from the plot. For Anchor in the Storm, I had the idea of a US naval officer battling German U-boats off the East Coast (based on research) and a female pharmacist investigating a drug ring on the US home front (based on some problems my pharmacist husband encountered—although no drug ring, thank goodness). After that story kernel, the characters take over. They’re the heart of the story and drive the rest of the plot.

How do you include God in your writing?
I pray regularly for my writing, that God would direct my words, that He would be honored through them, and that He would use the stories in my readers’ lives. The spiritual messages in the novels arise from the characters. Like all of us “real” human beings, my characters have issues. Sins they’re justifying. Fears that hold them back. Pride that hinders them. False ideas about God that skew their thinking. For Anchor in the Storm, both Arch and Lillian have put their security and their identity in a career. Then those careers are threatened. Who would they be without their careers? Where is their security? Both learn to hold on to the Lord as an “anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast” (Hebrews 6:19) no matter what storms life throws at them.

Readers, did you notice the two words highlighted above in yellow: "in a"? Those are this stop's clues for the Scavenger Hunt.

Here's your last question, Sarah. How can readers connect with you?


Please visit me at

Thank you, Sarah, for being a part of the Scavenger Hunt. 

Here is more about Sarah:
Sarah Sundin is the author of eight historical novels, including Anchor in the Storm. Her novel Through Waters Deep is a finalist for the 2016 Carol Award, won the INSPY Award, and was named to Booklist’s “101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years.” A mother of three, Sarah lives in California, works on-call as a hospital pharmacist, and teaches Sunday school. She also enjoys speaking for church, community, and writers’ groups. 


Here's more information about the Hunt: If you're the CAN Scavenger Hunt's Grand Prize Winner, I'll be sending you a copy of my Bible study, Choices of the Heart: Daughters of the King Bible Study SeriesAnd you'll be sent 25 books from 25 other authors.



MY BONUS:

But I'm also offering a drawing on my blog (here!) for THREE of my books: 
3. Why Do I Put So Much Pressure on Myself and Others?

Here's how to put your name into my drawing. Make a comment here on my blog and tell me how many points you've earned:

1. Get 1 point if you comment.

2. Get 1 point if you subscribe to my blog. (If you're already a subscriber, just tell me and you'll still get a point). You'll find the Subscribe Opportunity on the upper left hand corner of my blog.

3. Get 1 point for "liking" my Author Facebook page: 
www.Facebook.com/KathyCollardMillerAuthor. (If you've already "liked" me, let me know and you'll still get a point).




Now you can head to the next stop in the Scavenger Hunt: www.SarahSundin.com. She'll be hosting Dianne Barker. I love her books too!

If you're ready to enter the contest, click here to send in your entry: 
http://christianauthorsnetwork.com/newreleases/



Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Want to Be in a Scavenger Hunt? It'll be Fun!

Have you ever participated in an author scavenger hunt?
Would you like to receive 26 books from 26 authors, both fiction and non-fiction? That's the Grand Prize of the Hunt.
I'm so excited! For a second time I'm going to be participating as an author in a virtual/online scavenger hunt and I had so much fun in the first one. So I'm excited that this Sunday, July 17th, I'll be a part of another one sponsored by CAN (Christian Authors Network).
All you have to do is check back here on my blog from July 17th to the 23rd. Or start at the beginning:
Some wonderful authors are participating and each one will be sending a copy of one of their books, both novels and non-fiction. Here are some of the authors:
Pam Farrel, Sarah Sundin, Peggy Sue Wells, Janet Bly, Susan G. Mathis, Cheri Cowell, Anne Green, Dianne Barker and many more. 

Here’s how it’s going to work: 

  • Starting on July 17, twenty-six CAN members will host one another on their individual blogs. Each post will contain a short key phrase. The phrases will be clearly marked in the blogs, but you’ll need to read the posts to find the phrases.
  • You’ll start on the CAN contest page, http://christianauthorsnetwork.com/newreleases/. Beginning at 12:01 a.m. EST on July 17, you can click the link on that page for details, including the list of authors and their blog sites. (The first phrase for the scavenger hunt is on that contest page: It’s: “CAN is.”)
  • Hop from the first blog post to the next and continue through to the last one, looking for those key phrases. String the phrases together in the order in which the blogs are listed on the contest page.
  • Once you have the complete sentence, send it to Darlene Franklin, the Scavenger Hunt coordinator, using the form at http://christianauthorsnetwork.com/newreleases/. This will enter you into a contest where you could win the grand prize of 26 free books, one from each participating CAN author!
  • Some of the participating CAN authors will be featuring additional prizes or giveaways on their individual blogs. HINT: on my blog, I'll be sending out 3 of my books to the drawing winner!
Here’s what you’ll get out of this scavenger hunt:
  • You’ll meet 26 Christian Authors Network members on their personal blogs.
  • You’ll get fresh insights into all these authors and learn more about their writing.
  • You could win the grand prize of 26 free books!
  • Even if you don’t win the grand prize, you could win one of the authors’ individual giveaways.
The scavenger hunt will run from July 17–23. Entries must be received by 11:59 PST on July 23.
The grand-prize winner will be announced on July 25. (Due to international regulations and postage fees, prizes will be awarded to US residents only. Individual contests within the hunt may vary, so please read the rules presented with each giveaway.)
I hope you’ll get in on this fun, exciting scavenger hunt!
If you’ve done something like this before, please feel free to share about that experience on my blog. Or if you have any questions, let me know.
(image found at www.freedigitalphotos.net by yogiyim)

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Know What A Googolplex Is? God Is More Eternal!

Most parents dread the day their child will ask one of two questions: "How can God live forever?" or "How long is eternity?"  How can we answer such questions when our own adult mind cannot fathom such incredible concepts?


It helps little to say God was from the beginning. "When was the beginning?" they ask. "And by the way, how long is forever?"

Eternity can be defined as infinite duration. But don't tell your kids that. Their next question will be, "What does infinite mean?"

David Needham writes in his book, Close to His Majesty,


With God, there is no succession of moments. There is neither future nor past. He sees everything as one eternal now. He can see the whole play of history--all of it--in action right now. He doesn't have to look back. He doesn't need to look ahead. He just sees it, with the end as much immediate to Him as the beginning.

That's so hard to grasp! You and I aren't wired to handle a concept like this. Our mental circuit breakers trip the moment we try to wrap our minds around it. That is because were built to operate within a particular succession of moments. Anything outside of this frame of reference makes us uncomfortable.

Even though we can't comprehend it, God's eternal-ness can bring us comfort. Moses said, "There is none like the God of Jesurun, who rides the heavens to your help, and through the skies in His majesty. The eternal God is a dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms; and He drove out the enemy from before you, and said, 'Destroy!' So Israel dwells in security" (Deut. 33:26-28).

God's eternal quality transcends time but does not prevent Him from being present with us this very moment. Isaiah 57:15 tells us, "For thus says the high and exalted One who lives forever, whose name is Holy. I dwell on a high and holy place, and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit in order to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite."

The next time your child asks you about eternity, just say, "It's the same as googolplexes." Oh, you don't know about that? "Googol" is the number one, followed by 100 zeros. Pretty large, huh? But the googolplex is even larger. That's "a googol raised to the googolth power." Such a number cannot be written out, for earth cannot contain the pages required for it. (I'm not sure if a computer would self-destruct with it or not!)

And after googolplexes of years are used up--God will still be there! Tweet that!

(graphic by atibodyphoto from www.freedigitalphotos.net)

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

When I Was Addicted

I bet you didn't know I was addicted to... wait for it ... here it is .... the soap opera "All My Children." 

I watched the opening show on January 5, 1970, when I'd been married less than six months. I quickly got hooked into the program's drama. Because of working, I couldn't always watch consistently but after I quit work to become a mom, I watched fairly consistently. Of course, I felt guilty watching the program but it seemed to tempt me each day Monday through Friday.

Then when my children were preschoolers, I easily complained I was too busy to read my Bible and pray, but I made the time to watch "All My Children." One day I caught myself praying for the heroine Erica's current problem. I was shocked. Then when I dreamed about the characters one night, I woke up just as shocked. Though startled, I still felt drawn to watch the program. I prayed I could stop, but it's promise of new drama for my otherwise dull life drew me in. 

I easily complained I was too busy to read my Bible and pray, but I made the time to watch "All My Children." Tweet that!

I was dissatisfied with my marriage, my toddler daughter still disobeyed even after I played a board game with her, and my infant son demanded more attention than I could give. The hour of soap opera drama made my life seem exciting as if I were living the existence of the characters who always had their makeup fixed perfectly, had perfectly clean homes, and none of the children on air every spit up on the mother's clothes. In fact, a child was always asleep in the other room unless he was needed for the sub-plot. That was real life, I thought.

Then one day as I watched with bated breath the unfolding pathos in Erica's life, I looked over and saw two-year-old Darcy playing around the glass five gallon bottle the water delivery man had brought that morning. As I thought, "I'm sure Darcy isn't strong enough to push that over," she pushed. With a soft crunching sound, it fell over, shattered, and five gallons of water spilled into the carpet.

I felt no anger, which was unlike me, only the Lord's gentle push toward surrendering my addiction. Darcy looked over at me fearfully, and I said, "It's okay, honey. It's not your fault. I should have been taking better care of you."

Reaching over, I turned off the television and gathered towels for mopping up as much as I could. I never watched the program again, although about once a year I turned it on and discovered that the same basic problems were still facing the characters. Nothing much had changed.

I can look back now and recognize I was discontent and wanted to escape my "boring" life. But I also recognize that caring for my family was actually more important and I'm grateful that the Lord intervened and helped me to escape my addiction.

(graphic by digitalart from www.freedigitalphotos.net)


Friday, July 1, 2016

Letter From God: Resist Temptation

My Precious Princess and Daughter:


I don’t blame you for feeling tempted. Sometimes a temptation may seem overwhelming. Just think of My Son who was tempted in similar ways as you. He was able to resist because He trusted My plan, knew My words, and wanted My purposes fulfilled.

I know that’s best for you also. The tempter is My enemy, and he tries to hurt Me by hurting you and offering you ways to disobey or ignore Me. When the tempter comes along and tries to convince you he has a better plan, remember that My strength and wisdom are available to you. My manual, your Bible, lets you know My will. Study it. Trust Me that I have a better way.

Tweet this: 


Your uniquely designed path may take you through valleys and shadows, but it will lead to ultimate glory when you join Me in heaven. I’m not finished with you until then.

In the meantime, call upon My strength. You can resist through My Spirit. But the choice is yours.

Lovingly,

Your Heavenly Father, the King

(This is from Choices of the Heart: Daughters of the King Bible Study Series, Copyright 2016, a women's Bible study with 10 lessons contrasting two different women of the Bible).

Monday, June 27, 2016

Bathsheba and Hannah: Contrasting How to Handle Temptation

It’s no fun to be tempted. It’s stressful and the potential for destruction in any number of ways haunts us. Relationships can be destroyed. Businesses can be lost. Addictions can ruin families. There are innumerable ways to be tempted. Succumbing to any temptation is rooted in distrust of God.


It’s easy to wonder why life can’t be free of choices that would make us sin. And to top it all off, why do such opportunities to sin seem so attractive? It just doesn’t seem fair. 

Such temptations occur in the lives of every single person who has ever lived. But it may be that temptation burdens Christians more. It’s harder to admit we face and often give into temptation because as believers we have the power of the Holy Spirit. Yet that fact doesn’t remove the struggle. We continue to choose not to ask Him for His help. 

And that applies to every single Christian. No person is exempt, even those we see from afar and think they would never give in. Because it’s part of being human and so is the mental anguish when we fail. Yet, longingly, we hope we’ll be able to rise above temptation.



Although it is customary for women to bathe in their courtyards, they would be protected by the walled enclosure. But of course, the palace was higher and it was easy for the King to see below, which she surely would have known.

When David calls for her and she understands what he wants, it is a dangerous situation for her. To refuse a King is a possible death sentence. Yet, when we are tempted and it seems that we have no other options, God will provide them if we look to Him.

In contrast to Bathsheba, Hannah trusts God with her temptation. Here is one aspect.

Hannah felt misunderstood by her husband. We learn that ultimately, no one can provide what we need. Our husband may not know the right words because as a man he looks at things differently. His attitude most likely will be a version like Elkanah’s: “I should be enough; don’t feel like this.” Unfortunately when husbands or men try to deal with a woman’s emotions, they feel helpless and powerless. They don’t understand the “drama” and can get irritated because they feel powerless and can’t seem to make things better. The more they love that woman, the more they can feel incapable. And few men like to feel incapable and powerless because God designed them to be the warrior and protector!

Unfortunately, we might interpret their frustration as meaning we aren’t loved and cared for. A vicious cycle begins of misunderstandings and hurt feelings. Maybe Hannah is caught up in that very scenario. Satan might be accusing her of being unloveable, both by her husband and God.  Yet God wants her to believe the truth: He loves her and cares about her pain. In time, He would show her His love and favor. 

(Excerpt from Choices of the Heart: Daughters of the King Bible Study Seriescopyright 2016. Bible study with 10 lessons, each lesson contrasting two women of the Bible).