Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Looking Back - to Look Ahead

I don't have to tell you, but it's here again. Another year.

For me, before I can move ahead and look forward to the new year, I first have to look back. At the risk of sounding like one of those "old folks" who seem to constantly talk about how fast time is flying, suffice it to say that this year was the quickest yet. It was full of a lot of good stuff, and of course, some bad. God blessed us with a beautiful granddaughter, Elaina Sophia, but sadly, God chose to take my brother, Gary, home. While I fully believe it is not "sad" for my brother (I feel confident that he is in heaven and finally at peace), the circle of us five siblings has been broken. There is something about that missing link that is causing the rest of us to cherish each other more, I think. And oddly, Gary passed the day after my birthday - the day after I had been wondering which one of us would go first...

As the new year dawns upon the horizon, what new lives will enter - and what lives will pass on? Are we cherishing our loved ones like we should, realizing it could be our last day with them? More importantly, are we looking in the mirror and asking ourselves, "if I died today would I have accomplished the plan that God had for my life?" And on the heel of that question is the question to top all questions: "If I died today, where would I spend eternity?"

This year I am resolving to live my life with eternity in mind. I hope to stick to the lifelong habit of seeking God first every day, and asking Him what His agenda for me is. Then, after making a daily list, keep it before me and check it throughout the day - knowing God can, and most likely will, change it. Some of my best blessings from 2008 were a result of "spur of the moment" nudges I received from the Lord to do, to go, or to speak to someone. I want to become more in tune to the Holy Spirit and make myself constantly available to be a blessing to others, especially my loved ones.

Here's to a new year in Christ,

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Countdown is On

In my last blog I referenced the countdown to Election Day, when our country would appoint a new leader. In this blog I reference the countdown to Christmas Day, when the entire world pauses to honor Jesus Christ our redeemer, a man who is appointed by God - yet is God.
And that, dear reader, is what so many people have trouble with.

I can't explain it any better than any other human being can - it falls under the category of "God's ways are higher than our ways." How Jesus can be both man and God is something the human mind will never be able to reconcile unto itself; it makes the brain go...tilt, tilt, tilt. But God said it, so that settles it.

God also said, "By faith, childlike faith", we are to come to Him. It's something so simple, yet we make it complicated. We embark in denominational wars and we pick apart baptism, speaking in tongues, what day of the week is the true Sabbath, how we should pray, traditional music or contemporary, a parking lot out front of the church or in the back, blue carpet or red, the list goes on and on... In the midst of it all I imagine God sitting along the sidelines shaking His head and thinking, They don't get it.

So many of us Christians spend so much time fussing about the small stuff, that we completely miss the big picture. We miss 1) that the time is short and people are dying without Jesus, and 2) how unattractive Christianity can seem to lost people - especially when we pick apart the small stuff. We are called to be doers of the Word; to go about doing good. That is our mission. And by "doing" so, others will see Jesus in us and be attracted to that.

My inmate friend, Micky, does not get to see a lot of God in action in prison. Sadly, in that environment, the adversary is more well known than God is. But in her last letter to me, she shared something that still has me smiling, and yes, causing my head to go tilt, tilt, tilt. There was another female inmate who I'll call Candy, who was very mean to Micky - picking fights with her and causing her to spend several days in the hole (a very lonesome, cold place that no one wants to go to). On one of my visits to the prison, I distinctly remember praying with Micky for Candy. I also remember writing to Micky about forgiving Candy and praying for Candy's salvation. Well, just last week Candy chased Micky down while out in the Yard (which of course scared Micky - at first), so that she could give Micky... a bag of chocolate chip cookies! They were "forgiveness" cookies from a retreat Candy had recently attended through Kairos. Dear Micky got to see a rare glimpse of Christ's forgiveness and love in action. And, she also got to see the power of prayer in action, too.

May you, too, get to see (and BE) the love of Jesus this Christmas season.

In Christ,

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Politics and Prayer

Less than two weeks to go until the election and like many Christians, my heart is heavy with concern for our country. I could easily fall prey to watching CNN 24/7 and keeping myself all rattled with worry. And knowing that there are a large number of Americans who don't seem to place a priority on basic morals and values, and who are easily swayed by the eloquence of a speaker, could keep me fretting all hours.

But lest we forget, our great country was founded on Christian principles. I believe that is why God has chosen to abundantly bless our nation for the past two centuries, because we have put Him first. However, in the past few decades or so, many of us have turned our hearts away from Him, causingHis hand of protection to pull away from us, as a country...and it should. God deserves to be first in our lives, not a forgotten last.

Nevertheless, He is still on the throne. For those of us who know the Lord personally there is nothing to fear, no matter who gets elected. God is still in control and it will go the way He wants it to go, period. Our part is to pray. Pray for the elections. Pray for whomever gets elected and pray for the lost to seek Him...before it's too late.

God bless you and God bless America.

Prayerfully submitted,

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Fest Draws Near...

I have been consumed with Backwoods Fest preparations for days now: gathering decorations for our booth, making signs, price stamping hundreds of books and ordering thousands of new bookmarks. While I've held dozens of book signings in the past, this one is different - I'll be there 3 days in a row and there will be thousands of people. Thankfully, I only live 15 minutes away and can go home each evening; lots of vendors either camp there or get motel rooms. But, there is nothing quite like the atmosphere of the Backwoods Fest - very rustic and earthy with bluegrass music, kettle cooked food, and even an outdoor church service on Sunday morning for the workers/vendors. Who knows, maybe for once I'll actually get my fill of the fest - but don't count on it!
I did learn that the new Christmas book that I've contributed to (Christmas Through a Child's Eyes) will be released in time for the festival, but not the new Chicken Soup for the Soul: Empty Nester's. I will be taking (autographed) orders for the Empty Nester's book, though, and I'll pay the shipping. Also, if by some miracle I sell out of books at the fest, I will take orders for each book and pay the shipping for them, too.
In the meantime, my agent (from Hartline Literary Agency) told me that the proposal for the new boomer humor book I'm working on has been making it's rounds to various publishers. It is about one-third written, so I'll have that to finish writing after the fest.
If you're looking for books to challenge you to come up higher in your Christian walk, I can highly recommend two books by Jerry Bridges, The Practice of Godliness and The Pursuit of Holiness. I seldom re-read books, but these two I definitely will!

Enjoy these fleeting autumn days (that white stuff will be here before we know it), and...hope to see ya at the fest!

(Proverbs 3: 5-6)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

On the Cover of a Magazine...

Hey everyone,

I had a family member get after me for not announcing that I am on the cover of a magazine. So, Now Hear This: I am on the cover of the current issue (August 2008) of The Christian Communicator.

There. I announced it! :-)

Seriously, if you don't subscribe and would like to read the article, drop me an email and I'll email a word file to you of the article.

In His Service,

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Brevity of Time

The slowest two months out of the year (when you're a kid, anyway) was always November and December; you counted down the days until Christmas. But as an adult, January and February are the ones that drag on for me. And for most of us the quickest two months out of the year have to be June and July. One day school is out and parents scramble to find sitters while anticipating vacations, the next day, or so it seems, they are shopping for school supplies.

As a matter-of-fact,I always thought that the new year should begin the first of September. I mean, even as a kid the first day of school WAS a new year; new teachers, new classmates, new clothes, new school supplies, sometimes even a new school. Why not make September 1st the beginning of the new year? It makes more sense.

It's the end of July right now and there's something distinctly different in the air as fall approaches: a crisp, earthy scent. And there are different sounds in the air, too; crickets and cicadas blend their shrill chirps and screeches, announcing the lazy, hazy days of summer are coming to a close. It's time to get the books out - it's time to get back into the habit of studying again. I, too, still have a desire to "go back to school" every fall or attend a writer's conference. Hopefully that urge to learn will never disappear.

How I long to hold onto these next few weeks - if only there were a way to bottle them up for those ice-covered, frigid days of February. With each passing year, everytime I mention how fast time flies, I hear myself sounding more like one of those seniors that I used to roll my eyes up at.

Speaking of flies - there's one in my office.

I guess I did find something about summer that I won't miss...

Blessings for your summer,

Thursday, June 12, 2008

After the Writer's Conference, Now What?

The 2008 Columbus American Christian Writer's Conference has come and gone. As usual I loved the atmosphere. At Christian writer's conferences we are all on the same team, pulling for each other. Our unified goal is to build the Kingdom of God and to be the best writers we can, for God's glory.
I've been to a few secular conferences, and while I always learn how to improve my writing, I am usually disappointed in the attitudes of most of the writers. They seem almost secretive about what they know, not wanting to build their competition.

Anyway, suffice it to say, I was a fish in water this weekend.

After each conference I attend my creativity screams to be unleashed. The problem is, not only was I gone for several days at the conference, but prior to the conference I (like the rest of you) was very busy preparing for it.
Most of us have a zillion things waiting for us at home that have to be done. Our creativity has to be put on the backburner for a little while.
So, what to do?
Quickly scour your notes while the info. is still fresh, and find those gems of article/book ideas and jot them down. Organize your list by those projects that you are the most passionate about, or that have an upcoming deadline. Write as much info. about each one as time permits, then assign a date beside each one to finish them. Try to carve the time needed, a little each day, to meet those deadlines.

As we learned at the conference, as long as we pray, we are patient, and we are persistent, we will achieve our writing goals .

Writing for His glory,

Monday, May 19, 2008

Breaking the Chains that Bind

Our speeches at the prison were awesome. No, not because of the speakers, but because of Who was speaking through us. The Holy Spirit showed up in a big way and there were many lives touched, including mine.
Besides myself, my speaker friend Pat Collins spoke, and our guitarist friend, Carolyn Logsdon, led worship. None of us will ever forget that night. We set out to BE a blessing, yet WE were the ones who were blessed. The women were starved for words of hope and encouragement. I shared with them how there were 2 things that I've told the Lord for years that I did not want to do: 1) be a speaker and, 2) minister inside prisons. I warned them to be careful what you tell God you don't want to do! That is the exact thing He will ask of you, so that HE will get the glory (as it should be). I also added how incredibly blessed and enriched my life has become since (finally) obeying God in those 2 areas. If God brings us to it, He WILL see us through it, and He will not only use us to be a blessing to others, but in the process - He will bless our socks off!

It was incredibly humbling to see the changes that came over them within one hour. As they arrived we greeted them and many kept their eyes downcast. Afterwards most of them held their heads high and looked us straight in the eyes.

We received many heartfelt thank-you's, and one inmate even whispered in my ear, "Please come back soon. We need you."
We were deeply moved by the professions of faith and rededications to the Lord. We even brought home dozens of prayer requests.
It will be an honor to lift their burdens to the One who see's them and loves them...just as they are.

Thanks for your time...Connie (Matthew 25: 36.)

Friday, May 9, 2008

Finally with the 90's!

I'm new to the blogging world. As my daughter Chelsea says, "Mom, you're finally with the 90's!" Better late than never, though, as the old saying goes.

The radio interview went well. As usual, after each interview/speech I give, I scrutinize myself and wish I would've said or not said something. But I'm learning that as long as I remember to pray first, (which I do -- a lot-- before each speaking engagement or interview) then I need to leave the results in the Father's hands. I need to trust that He heard my prayer and that He led me to speak or not to speak, what HE wanted.

Speaking of speeches: My friend, Pat, and I, will be speaking to a total of 200 female inmates at the Franklin Pre-Release Center on Sat. May 17. There will be 2 sessions of 100 inmates each. While she and I are not afraid of going into prisons, we are afraid of missing what the Lord wants to say through us. We want to speak words of hope and encouragement to these ladies - as they live in a very negative atmosphere. We also want to make sure these women know they can be forgiven by God, and that He has an awesome plan for their life. Please pray for Pat and I as we prepare our messages, and for Carolyn, who will be playing the guitar for praise and worship.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Radio Interview, Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Radio Interview

AM 880

The Bob Burney Live Show

Both Faye Landrum and I will be joining Bob from 3:30 to 4:00 on Wednesday, May 7 to discuss our writing backgrounds, and to give information about the upcoming American Christian Writer's Conference in Columbus, Ohio. We will each be teaching a workshop during the 2-day conference on June 6 and 7.

If you've always wanted to write a book, but didn't know where to begin, you won't want to miss this conference!
Content Copyright Connie Cameron; All rights reserved
Site by Eagle Designs