Tuesday, November 27, 2012

God & Science, BFF's

Image from: http://www.iibloom.com
During my high school years, I remember hearing rumors of picketing parents outside of schools all up in arms about the Theory of Evolution being taught in their child's Biology class. This theory, and much of what Science has to offer, seems to have many Christian's fuming hotter than their torches. I say, "Put down those torches...Science isn't an ogre!" Our faith doesn't have to be bullied by Science and its theories.

God KNOWS science and it doesn't offend Him! Science only proves the existence God. As we seek to learn more about creation, life, elements etc., it only makes us more in awe of our Creator! Everything we see, touch, smell, and hear around us screams "I have an incredible creator." His fingerprints are on all of creation! Why not study science? It's just another way of getting to know the God we were made to know.

A great friend of mine, Purdue University Professor, Erica Carlson--Condensed Matter Physicist & Part Time Apologetics Fanatic (That is my title for her, lol), explains creation and other "things" from a Biblical, Scientific point of view that will ROCK your world! Listen to Erica's podcasts by clicking here and feel free to share them with your friends and family. Even though Erica is ridiculously smart, she is able to explain all of this "sciencie stuff" in a way that is easy to grasp. After listening, I found myself even more in amazed by God...and more aware of how BIG and POWERFUL and GENIUS He is!

Wanna hear more about God and Science shaking hands? Check out apologetics.com

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

General Petraeus Sex Scandal

Scandal, scandal! Yet another Political Sex Scandal! 

Pic taken from nydailynews.com
Why does this shock me? Why does this shock us, America?  It’s no news that Washington has a history of Sex Scandals dating back to…well…since the VERY BEGINNING! Sex Scandals have written history! David and Bathsheba, anyone? Samson and Delilah, ring a bell? JFK and the voluptuous Marilyn Monroe. Even Benjamin Franklin had his share of mistresses!  I could go on and on!  I could also dive into the psychology of an affair, but I won’t…not today at least, the point is, infidelity has been rocking our world since pretty much the dawn of man.

I think our feathers are all in a ruffle over General Petraeus’ infidelity because we expect MORE from our leaders. Fair or not, our leaders—Political and Spiritual—are held to a higher standard. We TRUST them to always do the right thing! An Officer leads by example, and I am sorry to say, but his example is crippling. Our soldiers and their families have been stretched to the limit, many families have already crumbled under the weight of this war, and the last thing we need to hear about is the World’s Greatest General crumbling his own life.

As an Army wife, this whole thing makes me sick, and my heart goes out to the General’s family. Although my inner redneck woman would like to take a frying pan to the General, my heart hurts for him too. He is, after all, just a man…someone who sins like everyone else. Sin is a funny thing…it’s a very selfish thing ‘cause we never consider who all will be casualties of the crossfire.  I will be praying for Mrs. Petraeus, the General, his children, and for an uprising of moral leaders in our country on the political and spiritual spectrum.  

Click to read last week's Q and A with Author Joanne Bischof author of Be Still My Soul, which has some scandal in it as well! Blush, blush! lol :) Really, it's not that scandalous or I wouldn't have read it!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Q and A with Author Joanne Bischof

Please welcome our wonderfully fabulous guest, Author and friend, Mrs. Joanne Bischof! (The crowd goes wild! I can't hear!! The applause sounds like stampeding buffalo--as if any anyone now knows what that sounds like, lol). 

Joanne, thank you for joining me on my blog, and taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer my prying questions! I appreciate you! Joanne is debut author who just released her novel, Be Still My Soul--a fabulous study worthy must read! Click here to read the rave review!

Without further a due, welcome Mrs. Bischof!

1: When did you begin writing, and what do you love most about being an Author?
I began writing when I was little. The first story I can remember was one I wrote in third grade. I was in love with the written word. The best part about it was that my parents really encouraged me in that area. If it was my passion, they were just as excited about it. I love writing. I love creating characters and getting to know them—their passions, fears and their struggles and hopes. My favorite thing about being an author is connecting with people. I love to talk books and characters and whenever I get a note from a reader who was touched or blessed by one of my stories—it’s one of the greatest moments. And it’s never about me…I’m so glad that I write stories about God’s love. I think that is something people can get excited about.

2: Can you give a little insight on your journey to publication? How did it all start? What was the process?
 It was when I had the three books that make up the Cadence of Grace series finished that I first began querying agents. I queried over a dozen, and while many passed, a few of them hitched their door open, wanting to see more. One of those agents was Sandra Bishop with MacGregor Literary. I sent her the manuscript. I heard back that she liked what she had read and had an editor in mind. It was one of those pinch me moments. We worked on my proposal, submitted it and then waited.
As the proposal went further down the line, passing through the different levels of consideration, I got more and more nervous and more and more excited! I spent a lot of time praying and talking with God—the waiting wasn’t easy, a year to be exact, but He was with me the whole time, teaching me lessons about patience and faith that I wouldn’t have learned any other way. The manuscript headed to pub board which is where the BIG decision happens. The editorial team gets together with sales, marketing, and top decision makers and they basically negotiate over your proposal. I remember the day it went. I was SO nervous the whole day. A while later, I got the call from my agent. That year of waiting ended with a 3-book contract from WaterBrook Multnomah. It was an incredible moment.

3: How has becoming an Author changed your life? Your faith?
Probably the biggest way it’s changed my life is that it’s brought me out of my shell. I’m a super shy person and being an author has changed that. And I’m so glad! I realize now how much of life could have passed me by if I’d always been too shy to step out of my comfort zone. I love interacting with readers, chatting books and characters and just getting to know them as people. I think this has impacted my faith in the same way. It’s made me little bit braver and a little bit bolder. All for the sake of spreading the word about who God is and what He can do.

4: What inspired you to write Be Still My Soul?
As the idea for Be Still My Soul took seed, it unfolded to be a love story between two mismatched people—a marriage between a shy, innocent girl with a strong faith, and a cocky, confident bluegrass musician who hasn’t given God much thought. By throwing them together in a shotgun wedding, I wondered how their story would unfold. Could true love rise from the ashes of broken hopes? This was the question I asked myself as Lonnie and Gideon’s journey began. I love a good happy ending (and a good romance) so this couple provided a few additional challenges for me!

5: Many Authors use personal experiences in their writing. With that said, are there any instances in Be Still My Soul in which you can relate to personally?
Most definitely. Like Lonnie, the biggest one is probably being married to a man who had little regard for God. It was a difficult time in my life but God was with us each step of the way and I am so INCREDIBLY excited to say that just over a year ago, my husband accepted the Lord as his Savior and has never looked back. It’s been an amazing time of growing closer to the Lord together as a family and I know now that God uses the trials in our lives to make us stronger and draw us closer to Him.

6: Readers will LOVE Be Still My Soul—I know I can speak for them! When they read it, and love it, what message do you hope they receive from this captivating novel?
When faced with a difficult situation God is always ready and waiting to be our strength. I hope that readers will take away a peace that God works in all situations. The scripture I’ve based the series around is 1 Peter 5:10, and I chose it because it’s a great reminder that we are never alone on this journey called life. Through the ups and downs, God is there and His mighty plan is at hand.

 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. (1 Peter 5:10)

7: Tell us a little about yourself!
·         Favorite hobbies: Gardening, cooking and baking, music and singing (but the last time I sang in the car, my kids started howling. Maybe I’ll stick to my other hobbies) ;)
·         Describe your “best day ever:” Probably one of my best days was just recently. It was the day Be Still My Soul released, but it was ALSO our anniversary. My husband and I had a plan to go to the bookstores and see the book on shelves…but it wasn’t in stock yet. I was kind of sad and my hubby, being the guy that he is, decided he would spend the rest of the day making me laugh. We had so much fun!
·         Dessert you find impossible to say no to: Chocolate. Any kind of chocolate. Especially if it’s combined with cheesecake. I’m a goner.
·         Dream vacation: I would absolutely love to go to Scotland. I’ve had the joy of touring England, Ireland and Wales on a 10 day trip and absolutely love that part of the world. Scotland is on the top of my bucket list and I would love to bring my husband.
·         Three most important things in your life, in order of top priority: God, my family and afternoons spent writing while listening to good music and eating chocolate. (I just snuck in 5 didn’t I?) J

8: What advice would you give aspiring authors?
The good news is, you don’t have to have a degree in English or Literature to become a writer. As a stay at home mommy who never went to college, there are some things that have helped me on my journey: being part of a critique group, going to conferences, and reading great fiction have helped me in my writing.
Also, above all else, enjoy the journey. Often times, the path to publication is not an easy one. I’ve been on this road for years and I know many others have as well. I’ve learned more during this process than I ever expected. At times, it was easy to get discouraged and just when I felt maybe nothing was going to ever happen, God carried me through a valuable lesson because His timing is perfect.

9: Can the world of novels expect to be hearing from you again soon? Would you be so kind as give hints as to what we can expect?
There is more to come! Starting this spring with Though My Heart is Torn and then the third book in the Cadence of Grace series will arrive next fall. All three books follow Lonnie and Gideon and their love story. Let’s see….a hint ;) Here is an excerpt from the upcoming book, Though My Heart is Torn. It’s a scene between our hero and heroine:

Clearing his throat, he voiced her name. It fell from his lips like sweet honey. Would he ever have a reason to say her name again? Perhaps he would have to whisper it in the silent places of his heart to keep himself from losing his mind. They continued walking and Gideon waited until he had her attention. He longed for her forgiveness, but that seemed selfish. He focused instead on bringing her peace.

10: Any parting thoughts, comments, etc. you would like to add for your viewers?
I just want to thank your readers for being here and for the opportunity to get to meet them. Each new name and face is a blessing to me! And I really want to add what a joy it has been to get to know you, Hannah. Your fun review of Be Still My Soul stole my attention that day and it’s been so fun to get to know you ever since. Praying for your family and your precious soldier overseas!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

God at the Voting Booth

Oh MY-LANTA! Was anyone at Hilldale Baptist Church this morning to hear Bro. Larry lay the smack down on what God thinks about the Presidential election? Whew! I'm sweating right now just thinking back on it! I was all fidgety waiting for some kind of outburst, lol. Seriously, I did not hear one Amen during the sermon, lol...I think we all feared a political riot! 

 Don't get me wrong, IT WAS A GREAT SERMON, AND FULL OF TRUTH, but when you talk politics and religion at the same time...well, let's just say I'm sure some pacemakers in that sanctuary were fluttering!  Bro. Larry was on FI-YA today! Sizzzzzlllle!

Highlights from the Sermon:
*God doesn't pick political sides...He is his own side (That kinda sounds like a Chuck Norris joke)
*God cares about all things, but who is in office is not going to change the fact that He is in control and still has a plan that can't be thwarted
*The outcome of elections gives us a glimpse of what the heart of America really looks like, and it's not a pretty sight right now
*What if Christians voted for Biblical values instead of their political party.

I've tried to live my life by making decisions based on what Jesus would do...and no I never wore a WWJD bracelet, or maybe I did in middle school, but in my defense, they were cool then.  Being a follower of Jesus is more than just saying you believe in him-- it's how you live, act, and talk that shows you are believer--and this applies to me even when I am in the polling booth. When it comes to voting, believers should vote for God and the things He stands for. Don't be silly, God's name isn't on the ballot, but we can vote for the person that represents the things that God has already voted for--note that I am about to steal my notes from Bro. Larry's sermon today.

These are the things that God has already voted for--the things He represents, and so should we as followers of Christ.
1: Protecting the lives of our unborn children. Abortion is a hot button topic, but God is clear on this. All life is sacred, and the killing of innocent unborn children is unacceptable.
2: The sanctity of marriage. God is very specific on how He designed marriage to be--between one man and one woman, and for our society to try to redefine what marriage means only leads us down a path we shouldn't go.
3: Religious liberty. God gives free will...we have the God-given right to accept or reject our creator, and our religious freedom is protected under the 1st Amendment.   However our religious freedom is being threatened...not cool.
4: God has already voted on Israels sovereignty. A nation that allies with Israel is wise...they are God's chosen and He says "I will bless those that bless you and curse those that curse you." I'm not into being cursed.

When we vote on Tues, let's vote for the candidate that supports the things God has already voted for. I know the choice can be difficult, confusing and down right frustrating, but pray about it. Ask God to give you wisdom when you dive into the polling booth on Tuesday (and I'm sure that means you will vote for the same person I am voting for...lol...TOTALLY JOKING! :) )

Friday, November 2, 2012

Show Some Lunch Box Lovin'

Who doesn't enjoy receiving a sweet note from someone you love? 

I will give kudos to my hubby who is fantastic when it comes to surprising me with thoughtful written words hidden in places he knows I will see--like a secret message on the bathroom mirror that only shows up from the shower steam, or a card on the kitchen counter waiting for me when I wake up. Ugh, thinking about how wonderful he is makes me miss him even more. Boo to war and deployments! Anyway...little thinking of you/I love you/You are Great notes can definitely add a pep in your step, and when given to your child, that note can really say even more than you ever thought!

I have made it a goal to put a little note in my son's lunch box each time I pack it for him. Sometimes I draw a funny little cartoon with a message. Sometimes I write a thank you note for something he did for me or around the house that I noticed. Sometimes I make a list of all the wonderful things about him. Sometimes I make up a silly poem about how great he is. Sometimes I make up a "to be continued lunchroom saga napkin story," lol. I just want to make him smile throughout the day. I want him to know he is special and wonderful, and appreciated.

I know it's just a lunchbox note, BUT if I for some reason forget to include that handwritten sentiment in his lunch, he is quick to ask me why I forgot--which tells me that it's SO MUCH MORE than JUST a "lunchbox note."

I would love to hear all of the creative ways you say "I love you" to your kiddos. :)