Monday, November 3, 2014

Cheering for the Underdog

Most people have a heart for the underdog. Underdogs are the predicted loser in a contest, or the victim of an injustice. It doesn't matter if it's the runt of the litter, or a contestant on Wheel of Fortune who hasn’t won any money, we still can’t help cheering on an underdog because we feel for them.


On the morning of December 24th, 2009, the last thing I cared about was the underdog - human or animal. I awoke engulfed in a pity party stemming from loss. Between finding out our kids (including our new granddaughter) wouldn't be home for Christmas, and having to put our faithful canine companion down, I didn't care about getting out of bed, much less celebrating Christmas. But God had other plans; plans to use me to offer hope to the down and out. That Christmas was like non other, and was a powerful reminder of the true meaning of the season.

After sharing the unusual events of the day with my agent, she kept nudging me to write the manuscript. The problem was, I saw it only as a short story about a Christmas dog. I couldn't catch the vision of an entire book based on just that one day. Only after much prayer, along with reading through my many journals from that time period, did I realize the "Christmas Dog" book was actually an underdog story, about both humans and animals. And last spring, as if to confirm God wanted the book written, the contract seemed to fall from the sky. Then, all through the hot summer months of writing, the winter words flowed almost effortlessly. Yes, God wanted me to write this book. He wanted me to encourage others to step out of their comfort zones and have a heart for the underdogs He puts in their path, too.

So, I hope you enjoy, Christmas Underdogs: A True Story about Canines, Convicts and God’s Love for All. It is a testimony of the faithfulness of God and how He nudges us to get out of bed and care about others - especially the forgotten among us.

Early Christmas Blessings to You,


Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Only Hope

That ugly “C” word has hit my family again. It’s been a rough few months. The same day one family member was being operated on due to cancer; we learned my husband had cancer. We chose to stay quiet about my husband’s situation until we knew our family member would be okay. Not only that, but hubby wanted to wait until all the tests were in and we knew exactly what we were dealing with.

His first round of chemo was a few weeks ago and it did not go well—we almost lost him. Now he’s facing a second round and we’re understandably concerned. We were told up front he would not beat this type of cancer. Several doctors pronounced, “Chemo was his only hope of prolonging his life.” 

I can honestly say I’ve never endured such an intense physical and emotional struggle as I have following the first round of chemo. With each new day of complications we awoke to face a hope that he would get better, but for what; so that he could get sick again by chemo, with the chemo not doing any long-term good?

When I kept my focus on the odds, I was miserable.

But now that I’ve been away from the hospital and able to catch up on my rest, I’m also spending more time in the Word. As I sit quietly in prayer I’ve realized—I had misplaced my hope. I forgot that, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” (Luke 18:27) I forgot to hope in the Lord, not to put my hope in man or medicine.

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

Our “only hope” is never anything made by man, such as medicine, money, or materialism. Our only hope is Christ, period. We walk by faith not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).

My husband WILL be healed by God, one way or another. Either on this earth in his physical body, or in heaven in his new body, he will be healed. And that is the great hope that I, like you, must hold onto. These are trying times we live in. But there is always hope in Christ. Always.

Find rest, Oh my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken. (Psalm 62:5-6)

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Filter

We’ve all done it. We’ve blurted out what’s on our mind without “thinking” first. Once out there, it’s too late; there’s no getting the words back.

But for the believer, we have the Holy Spirit living on the inside of us, as a helper, nudging us and teaching us what to say and what not to say. Much like a filter; He sifts our mind and helps keep us in check.

But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. John 14:26

What’s the purpose of the Holy Spirit? Why does He “run interference”? He is teaching us to become more like Christ.

It can be difficult to wrap our brains around the fact that God loves us so much that He takes up residence inside our hearts. Even when we mess up, when something shoots out of our mouth that doesn’t honor Him, He will forgive us if we ask. His grace covers us and His love fills us, so that we, too, can forgive others who say things that hurt us.

It seems the least we can do for the Lord while we are here in these mortal bodies is to honor Him. We do that by spending time with Him and in His word, worshipping Him, and glorifying Him with our thoughts, words, and actions.

May your heart beat for Christ alone, for He is worthy....

In a loud voice they were saying: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” Revelation 5:12




Thursday, July 10, 2014

“Don’t Go Nutty on Us, Mom”

I’ve been locked up in my office a lot this summer. The good news, I’m under contract to write a Christmas book. The bad news, the release date is this fall, which leaves me with only a few weeks to finish writing it.’s July with high heat and humidity, too.

Last month, I enjoyed a wonderful two day break from being alone in my office and mentally absorbed with all things Christmas. My son and family came to visit for my husband’s birthday. We love being with them, especially our two grandgirls, Elaina and Leah. (If you’re a grandparent, I don’t need to elaborate on the joy grandkids bring into our lives.)

“How’s that book comin’ along, Mom?” My son asked.

“Slow…and, different.”

 He gave me a quizzical look, raising one eyebrow. “How so?” he asked.

 “Well, it’s been so hot outside, in order to get my head into Christmas I actually found an internet station that plays Christmas music 24/7. I have it playing in the background while working on different scenes. Last week I went through the Christmas stuff in the basement and brought up a few ornaments to decorate my office with. And I’ve been catching myself singing carols throughout the day, too.”

“And all that helps?”

“Yeah, it does. But, it’s been kind of strange, too. I get so involved that I forget what month it really is. I’ll hear the wind blowing and look out my office window, expecting to see snow swirling, and then be taken aback when it’s so green outside. Or, I’ll see a catalog and mentally start making out Christmas lists for everyone. By the way, what do you want for Christmas this year?”

“Uhhhh, don’t go nutty on us, mom.”

I had to smile. I am determined to enjoy this gift of writing that God has placed inside me, and the process of writing, too. I’ve actually had fun creating The Christmas Underdogs (working title), however, I have to admit, it does help to love all things Christmas, as well.

These past few weeks have been a good reminder to me that, no matter what “season” we’re in, it is God who keeps us grounded. Whatever He calls us to do, He will equip us for...including celebrating Christmas in July.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Ever Feel Taken Advantage Of?

Most of us have a big heart; we want to help others when we can. For Christians involved in outreach ministry it is simply a way of life. But whenever we’re involved in helping others, we can sometimes get taken advantage of. This is especially true in prison ministry. Desperate people, especially those who don’t know and trust in the Lord, will sometimes use others.

Jesus tells us in Luke 6:30 to, “Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.” Jesus wants us to have a giving spirit. He does not want us to hoard items for ourselves. And further down in that chapter Jesus also says, “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:35-36).

Did you catch this part, “He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked”? Is Jesus saying to keep giving to those who don’t appreciate your efforts and who go about doing evil?

Yes… and no, because, God also gave limits to our giving:  “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” (2 Thessalonians 3:10.)  Sadly, there are people who want to live with no accountability and who are irresponsible. Yet there has to be limits. It is wrong for us to be a part of enabling another to continue in a destructive or negative chronic life pattern.  

To know when to assist and when not, all hinges on knowing the Holy Spirit. Believers of Christ have the Spirit living on the inside of us, giving us discernment and wisdom. We are nudged to do things that make no sense to the unbeliever, but we trust that God will work it all out for His good. In order to be sensitive to the will of God it is imperative to stay in prayer and in the Spirit. As long as we see that someone is sincerely making an effort, we should be there to support him in whatever way God leads.
And that is the key, being alert to God’s leading. He will tell us when the door is open, when we are to go through the door, and when the door is shut. The door to understanding God’s promptings “hinges” on our closeness to Him.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Spare Moments

"In my 'spare time' I'm going to write a book."

 Ever hear someone say that? I have. Lots of times.

 At almost every speech or book signing I give, at least one person approaches me and admits they have a book inside them. They usually add something like, "And someday, when I have the spare time, I am going to write it."

 Personally, I believe we all have a unique and interesting story to tell, and we should write it down. If not for the world to read, then for our loved ones, especially family. Wouldn't you cherish a book (or even a journal of sorts) written by your great-grandmother about her life? Or love reading about how your great-great grandfather came to America from another country and forged out a good living for his family?

 We should all have a book inside us - at least one. But the notion that you'll have "spare time" is, well...not so realistic. Life happens. We have schedules and interruptions to those schedules.  And what many of us don't grasp is, writing takes more time and energy than we realize. If we truly wish to pursue it, though, we can make the time. It will have to become and remain a priority for us. Don't forget, too, that you can and should pray about it. Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. Proverbs 16:3.

I like to reflect on how Ralph Waldo Emerson worded the notion of spare moments: 

 Guard well your spare moments. They are like uncut diamonds. Discard them and their value will never be known. Improve them and they will become the brightest gems in a useful life.

 What about you? How are you using your "spare moments"? What steps are you taking toward guarding and protecting the uncut diamonds in your life, so that your legacy will be a light for generations to come?

 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,  making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.  Ephesians 5:15-16

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Approaching Dawn

As I write this, it is early morning and still dark. My world is quiet, both inside and outside my home. Immersed in the book of Matthew and reading about the forerunner of Jesus, John the Baptist, who announces to anyone who will listen their need to repent of their sins because Jesus is coming, I almost miss it. As I prepare my mind and heart for the upcoming Easter celebration and Jesus’ resurrection, I almost miss the joyous song of a lone bird announcing the dawn of a new day. A “forerunner” to the emergence of a clean, new slate, this feathered friend happily chirps, exclaiming just outside my window that the darkness will soon pass, and the light will rise.
I don’t understand the pecking order of birds. Was it the lil guy’s turn, and he was thrilled to sing his heart out while his peers had to quietly listen? Or was he the only one outside my window and by default, he alone could serenade me? (It is dark after all, I can’t tell if there’s a flock or not.)

Regardless, the first chirps of a lone bird early in the morning always lift my heart and make me smile. (And especially after the long hard winter we’ve had—what a welcome melody it is!) Morning is my favorite time of day; I love arising in the dark, while the house is quiet, and have my devotions with the Lord. Having them interrupted by sweet chirps of happiness only adds to the joy and anticipation of a new dawning. No matter what is on my schedule for the day, I am suddenly ready to face whatever the coming hours might bring.

Much like a lone bird that brings the message of the approaching light of a new day, so did John the Baptist bring the message of the coming Light for all eternity. The centuries old message is still fresh every day:  Repent of your sins, turn from darkness, embrace the Light, and you will know the love, peace, and joy of Christ in this life…and the next. 
How lovely is your dwelling place,
    Lord Almighty!
 My soul yearns, even faints,

    for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh cry out
    for the living God.
 Even the sparrow has found a home,
    and the swallow a nest for herself,
    where she may have her young—
a place near your altar,
    Lord Almighty, my King and my God.
 Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
    they are ever praising you. (Psalm 84:1-4)


Friday, February 7, 2014

 (L. to R. Connie Cameron, Nanette Friend and Connie Johnston)












 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”  2 Corinthians 5:17

Everyone struggles with being “imprisoned” in some form and at different times in their life. Incarceration in a literal prison usually results from our own bad choices, or  from the effects of irresponsible decisions made by others. Then there are mental or spiritual prisons, too, that can be the result of bondage to something or someone, serious illness, lifelong disabilities, or financial burdens.

Set Free in Him Ministries (SFIH) reveals the power of an extraordinary God who heals broken hearts, breaks chains that bind, and transforms “messes” into masterpieces,” all for His glory. The speakers of Set Free in Him Ministries (Nanette Friend, Connie Johnston, and Connie Cameron) long to share their moving testimonies of how Jesus Christ holds the key to unlock us from our prison. Joy and freedom can be obtained in Christ as we learn to keep our trust in Him.

Based in central Ohio, these women enjoy sharing their inspiring true stories, offering hope and encouragement, with a touch of humor. All three are authors and have been published in the best selling, Stories of Faith and Courage from Prison book, a 365 day devotional. They speak on a variety of topics, including helping audiences conquer fear, and nudging ladies to pursue their individual calling from God. The speakers of Set Free in Him Ministries are available individually, too, and for different gatherings, such as Mother’s Day banquets and women’s retreats.

"True testimonies of our living God working in and around each woman as she shared how God has led them in the direction of Set Free in Him Ministries.  No matter your connection to prison ministries, God will touch your heart to serve his children in some way.  An inspiration and blessing to meet each one!"
    -Tessa Blizzard, Brushy Fork United Methodist Church Ladies Group Leader

 To contact SFIH or for more info., please click on the “Contact” tab at

 “Encouraging others to become all God intends them to be, by sharing our experiences and offering hope and freedom in Christ.”
Mission Statement of Set Free In Him Ministries


Saturday, January 11, 2014

We Each Have a Ministry

Our lives are a testimony to others of Christ’s love. We are His servants to minister to one another by His power that resides in us. Each of us should have a ministry, but quite often, and especially for the new believer, we don’t know what area of service we are gifted in. Keep praying about it and then simply step out in faith and serve. You will have joy, and there will be a supernatural flow, when you serve within your gift(s).

A good place to start can be in the area of pen pal ministry. Even though we live in a day and age of social media, there is still a large segment of society that does not use electronics, including seniors and prisoners. Yet, those two groups love receiving mail.

During my compiling of Stories of Faith and Courage from Prison, I was connected with Beth Michael, a founder of Christian Pen Pals. Literally thousands of lives have been touched by this outreach to inmates. An excerpt from her January 11th story from the prisoner devotional book states: 
“God tells us we each have a ministry. ‘Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation’ (2 Cor. 5:18). With the Holy Spirit inside us to guide us, we each have the power to share Christ with others. Most prison ministries have huge needs. We need to be faithful to do our part and prayerfully consider getting involved in, and ministering to, the “least of these.”

Through Beth’s dedication to her ministry, many inmates have started ministries of their own on both sides of the razor wire. Many hurting men and women have found hope in Jesus and have dedicated their lives to serving Him.
If you’d like more information about Christian Pen Pals, please contact: CPP, PO Box 11296, Hickory, NC 28603, or

True joy comes when you are willing to step outside your comfort zone and invest your time in serving others. 

Content Copyright Connie Cameron; All rights reserved
Site by Eagle Designs