Exciting News!

We had a fun weekend with my family. Our two grandchildren came over for a visit. There is nothing like Christmas through the eyes of a child.

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I felt like a kid when the UPS man showed up at our door late Sunday afternoon. The journal I’ve been creating since mid summer arrived hot off the press.

Gigi with HOPE Journal

It is beautiful! I can’t wait for you to get your hands on it.

This is not only a journal. I share a bit of my story of HOPE. You’ll learn about my mom’s journal that is now seventy-eight years old. Interspersed throughout are inspiring quotes and Scriptures to point you to hope.

There is plenty of space to write your thoughts, hopes and dreams. (And frustrations too – I journal it all!)

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A separate section to track prayer requests helps you remember the prayers of your heart. Updates help you see the hand of God at work. The gratitude section is a great place to record thanks each day.

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And, just for fun, I’ve added some coloring pages. The coloring pages are floral or abstract designs – mostly tulips. I tell you the tulips story to explain my love for the beautiful flower.

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It is available here on my website NOW. It will be up on Amazon in the next few days.

I hope you’ll consider joining me to journal the journey.

We’ve discounted the book through December 31st. The retail price is $14.95 but we are offering it here for $10.00. Click on the book section to order. Purchase Here

The proceeds from this book benefits Gabriel’s Foundation of HOPE – a 501(c)3 nonprofit established to bring encouragement and hope to those we serve.

I pray you will find HOPE in the manger this Christmas. He came to earth as a baby…just for you and for me. Bless you with encouragement today.

Gigi

Journey of HOPE – First Sunday of Advent

Monday November 30 2015 7:14 am | Comments (0) Tags: , , ,

Hello beloved one~

Light a candle and let it shine as a reminder of the HOPE available to all of us.

This week is the first week of Advent. As we count down to Christmas let us remember where our HOPE comes from.

HOPE

THE CANDLE OF HOPE

Charles Colson said it best:

 “Where is the hope? The hope that each of us have, is not in who governs us, or what laws are passed, or what great things we do as a nation. Our hope is in the power of God working through the hearts of people. And that’s where our hope is in this country. And that’s where our hope is in this life.”

I shared in a previous post that my new Journal the Journey — HOPE book is about to hit the press. I am delighted to share a few stories of how HOPE has kept me going during challenging times of life.

My prayer for you today, as we end November, is that you will know where your hope comes from.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13 (ESV)

Bless you with HOPE today,

Gigi

Journal the Journey

Hello Friend,

I’m very excited to share that the first book in my new Journal Series – Journal the Journey of HOPE is about to hit the press. I spent the summer working on this creative journal~coloring book.

I chose the theme HOPE as the first book in this series because I believe we can all use a little HOPE these days.

Throughout this 160 page journal, you’ll find a few stories about how I’ve maintained a HOPE-filled attitude. I will also share some of my journal writing techniques. Quotes and favorite Scriptures that have pointed me to HOPE are found throughout the journal pages. For relaxation and fun, I’ve added a few coloring pages too.

This journal will leave the hands of Dochas Publications and hit Amazon at the end of November.

BUT I have good news for you. If you pre-order from me, you can get the journal for $10.00 vs the $14.95 price at Amazon. (Tax and $5.00 shipping and handling will be added.)

Hopejournal Front Cover

I’m excited for this whole series of journals. In January we will release Journal the Journey of LOVE and in March Journal the Journey of FAITH.

Hopejournal Back Cover

Also, if you order from Amazon, we would appreciate it if you would use the Amazon Smile account that gives a donation to Gabriel’s Foundation of HOPE.

This journal will make a great Christmas or Birthday gift for the journaler in your life. It will also be a great tool for learning to keep a journal.

Come back to my website for more details as we get closer to the release date.

Bless you in your journey.

Gigi

What A Difference A Year Can Make

Wednesday July 22 2015 8:01 pm | Comments (6) Tags: ,

Hello my friend,

It’s been too long since I’ve written a blog post.

After working part time for fifteen years, I am now working full time.  I’m still with D+H (Formerly Harland Financial Solutions) and I enjoy the challenge.

Working full time, being a grandma to two beautiful grandchildren, and occasionally traveling with our son Gabe has limited my spare time. What little time I have has been dedicated to drafting my first novel.

I’m excited to apply the writing lessons I’ve learned in online classes, retreats and conferences as I craft this first piece of fiction.

The book is tentatively titled – Behind The Smile. 

The story is about Kit Stevenson. A supermom who has successfully managed to keep her head above the rising waters of her chaotic life. Kit, like many of us, has hidden her challenges behind her notable smile. But when she is forced to deal with her secrets and her pain, she learns the power of being vulnerable and authentic — something she wished she’d learned years earlier.

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Oh how I relate to Kit. Do you?

One year ago on April 14, 2014, I checked myself in to The Center – A Place of Hope desperate to find answers for the discouragement I couldn’t shake.

No one knew. Or so I thought.

I was sure my smile hid the pain so well. I was on top of it, wasn’t I?

You know, the typical work, family, marriage and health issues.

This was no different than anyone else, right?

I soon learned I was kidding myself when a very good friend called me out. We were talking on the phone one afternoon. She mentioned depression and prayed for me to get some help.

About a week later, I found a book in my mailbox – “Turning Your Down into Up” – by Dr. Gregory Jantz.

NOT ME! I said. I’m on top of it. I’ve got everything under control. Don’t you see my smile?

Depression is all about my grandma, and my mom and my sister. Not about me!

My friends and my counselor asked great questions that pointed me to an understanding that my busy life was a coping mechanism. Going a hundred miles an hour in every which direction kept me from dealing with the truth.

When I took an honest look at my life, I admitted I was suffering from depression and anxiety. I was too proud to admit it.

For years I hid my pain behind the smile.

I’d known it for a long time. But I was afraid to be honest with myself and my family and tell the truth.

I am thankful for honest friends and counselors  to speak the truth in love and point me to HOPE.

Six weeks of individual and group therapy dealing with the whole body approach to health uncovered a mountain of issues I finally understood. I was challenged to face a few things head on. I learned tools for daily living. I realized my life is worth taking time to heal.

As difficult as it was, I am a better person because of what I learned.

I’d like to come along your side to encourage you in your journey as I share more about mine. Would you like to take this walk with me?

Take the first step — Share in the comments about a time where you hid behind a smile.

Smiling with Truth,I'd hidden my painBehind the Smile

Gigi

 

 

Perfect Timing

Tuesday November 4 2014 9:06 pm | Comments (0) Tags: , ,

Hi Friend,

What time is it? Have you asked that question a few times this week?

Pocket watch with timing signI’m still adjusting to Daylight Savings time but I’m thankful for the extra hour of writing time. I’d love to hear what you did with your extra hour.

We had a mild weathered start to fall this year. But now, the nights are crisp and the leaves are beautiful shades of gold, crimson and burnt orange. There is no mistake, fall is here.fall-leaves

 

During this beautiful season, I often find myself wondering which leaves get chosen to fall off the tree in any given moment.

Each leaf hangs on until the perfect timing for it to fall freely to the ground.

Perfect timing.

I feel I’m in a season of watching God’s perfect timing play out.

I’d been praying about ways to make more money to help pay for the van we want to buy for our son, Gabe. It will allow him to drive and gain much more independence. We’ve been thinking about this van since Gabe as sixteen.

Toyota SiennaNow he’s twenty-four and gainfully employed as a motivational speaker.

Recently he was approved by the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation to help him with the adaptations, but he will purchase the basic van.

This all came about at the same time I was able to  increase my hours at work. This was another answer to my prayer to help Gabe.

Perfect timing.

This week I’m in Portland for training on some of my new responsibilities. Think about this, on the heals of completing a weekend class on writing a novel, I’m asked to spend a week in Portland for work. It happens that this is also the first week of NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month which occurs every November.

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My evenings are free to write the story that I’ve been thinking about for almost twenty years. But I wasn’t ready twenty years ago. I’m ready now.

Now I call that — Perfect timing!

Sometimes I can get discouraged when I don’t see a quick answer. But this month I’ve remembered to give it all to the creator of time and watch how He decides to work it out.

Philippians 4:6 “4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Are you waiting?

My prayer is that you will wait in peace.

Let me know if I can pray for you as you wait.

God bless you.

Gigi

#NaNoWrMo

#WheelsForGabe

StoryCrafters Retreat

Friday October 17 2014 4:59 am | Comments (0) Tags: , ,

Although I’ve written two nonfiction books, I’ve always wanted to write fiction.

I love reading fiction and often come up with ideas for sharing stories from my childhood and the beauty of growing up with a large family in a small town.

Last year I took a six week online class titled “Writing Fiction Like a Pro.”  I loved it! I took one of the story ideas I’ve tossed around in my head for many years. After learning some cool techniques, it flowed into a three-act play structure and then I boiled it down to a raw outline form. I was on my way!

Now I’m ready to take it to the next level.

This weekend I’ll be headed to the Inland Northwest Story Crafters Retreat in Spokane.

I am ready to ignite my career as a novelist!

Susan May Warren is teaching at the 2014 My Book Therapy Storycrafter’s Retreat.

I’m showing up with an idea – and I hope to leave with a story and everything I need to ignite my journey to publication.

This is a private, intensive retreat with only 16 participants.

It is time to invest in my writing dreams.

I am beside myself excited!

I just finished one of Susan May Warren’s 2014 Christy Award winning novels titled Take a Chance on Me. TakeAChanceOnMe_COV_FINAL-250x381

It is a story of love and forgiveness. I related to so many of the rich and raw characters.

It takes place in the small lakeside town of Deep Haven. I found myself rooting for each character in the Christiansen family as they struggled with relatable issues of grief, anger and unforgiveness.

With each chapter came a new twist in the developing romantic relationships from this beautiful little town in northern Minnesota.

I can’t wait to start another one of Susan’s many novels and learn from her talented writing style. I hope you’ll check out some of her books.

Here is a link to the bibliography of her many books. http://www.susanmaywarren.com/novels/bibliography/

I hope you’ll come back and share some ideas with me as I formulate the story lines for the series I have in mind.

Have you ever wanted to write a novel?

If so, why not now?

Tell me how I can encourage you in your writing.

Bless you with ideas that flow.

Gigi

#Storyteller

But Then…

Saturday October 4 2014 3:42 pm | Comments (2)

Hey there!

I’ve been praying with a good friend who has a full plate right now. And it isn’t filled with her favorite things. It seems her challenges just keep coming at her, trying to knock her out.

This appears to be the case for many people across the world. There is much uncertainty and fear with terrorism, political upheaval, health scares and personal dilemmas happening every day.

Sometimes it is hard to see God’s work in the middle of our struggles. If often takes a shift in our perspective.

I wanted to reassure my friend that she was not alone in her troubles, so I searched God’s Word and found an encouraging verse in Psalm 77.

Psalm 77 Comfort in Times of Trouble (NLV)

1 I cry out to God; yes, I shout. Oh, that God would listen to me! 2 When I was in deep trouble, I searched for the Lord. All night long I prayed, with hands lifted toward heaven, but my soul was not comforted. 3 I think of God, and I moan, overwhelmed with longing for his help.

4 You don’t let me sleep. I am too distressed even to pray! 5 I think of the good old days, long since ended, 6 when my nights were filled with joyful songs. I search my soul and ponder the difference now. 7 Has the Lord rejected me forever? Will he never again be kind to me? 8 Is his unfailing love gone forever? Have his promises permanently failed? 9 Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he slammed the door on his compassion?

10 And I said, “This is my fate; the Most High has turned his hand against me.”

11 But then I recall all you have done, O Lord; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago. 12 They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works. 13 O God, your ways are holy. Is there any god as mighty as you? 14 You are the God of great wonders! You demonstrate your awesome power among the nations.

I’ve had those sleepless nights where I found no comfort in my soul.

I’ve been overwhelmed as I long to see tangible evidence of God’s work.

I wonder if my sin is too great for God’s redemptive work.

But then, I take my eyes of myself and my problems and turn them toward heaven.

I begin to recall the way God has performed wonderful deeds in my life.

I keep a gratitude list in my journal where I can go to be reminded of His power. Here is a short list that is part of an ever growing inventory of evidence of God’s faithfulness in my life.

Although the Lord did not heal my dad of lung cancer, several years earlier he was cured of thyroid and kidney cancer. This extension of my dad’s life allowed my sisters Judy and Patti to join our family during that time. After Dad died, God was a father to my family. He was a comfort to my widowed mom. He also gave mercy and grace to many people who stepped forward to help my family heal.

He healed my nephew Greg from a devastating neck injury when he was in high school. Greg celebrated his forty-third birthday last week.

When I was wondering how we would successfully raise our physically challenged son, Gabe, God brought me Diane Newman who took my hand and placed it in Jesus’ hand as she reminded me that He would lead the way in everything that concerned me. He surrounded us with incredible people who showed us the way.

After I finally admitted how much I was struggling with depression, He gave me an honest friend to point the way to the help I needed. I was able to understand the root causes and gained the tools to move forward. Not only was I healed physically and emotionally, but I drew closer to God in my spiritual walk.

You are the God of great wonders!

In the midst of our trouble, it can be easy to lose our focus. That’s when it is nice to have a friend who will remind us, “Hey, it’s going to get better. Stand strong. I know it feels horrible now, but then it will get better.”

If you are struggling today, take a moment to remind yourself of the wonderful things God has done in the past. It helps you remember He is with you always.

Tell me how I can pray for you today.

Gigi

God Will Help You Stand Tall Through It All

Sunday September 14 2014 7:04 pm | Comments (0) Tags: , ,

Hey Friend,

I know you’ve had some hard days this summer. We all do.

So today I want to encourage you with a recommendation for a book that will surely help make your days brighter.

I met the author, Holley Gerth, several years ago when she represented DaySprings during a workshop at our Northwest Christian Writer’s Association Conference. I immediately connected with Holley’s grace-filled personality, her precious southern accent and her winning smile.

Over the years I’ve watched her grow into a best-selling author who writes life changing books. I love her writing style. She speaks to the deepest places of my heart.

As a life coach, Holley brings real issues into each book and presents an uplifting strategy to nourish your soul. I’ve given several of her books as gifts to friends who needed a boost.

Holley’s latest book, What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days – 52 Encouraging Truths to Hold On To, is definitely on my gift idea list for the coming Christmas season.

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I was given a copy of this book by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. I couldn’t have been happier to offer to read and review this little jewel.

God knew the exact timing of when I might need some encouragement. One devotional after another became my favorite as it spoke directly to my soul that day.

With 52 devotionals, this book can be used for a once weekly study or you can gobble it up in one quick read. I chose to take my time through each entry and study the recommended chapters in the Book of Psalms.

My word for 2014 is STAND.

So naturally one of my favorite devotions in this book is #7 – God Will Help You Stand Tall through It All. It is based on two different Psalms containing the word STAND.

Psalm 20:7-8 7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.

So many times over the last several years I focused on the difficulties before me rather than getting on my knees and asking the Lord to help me rise up and stand firm. When my perspective was off, it was easy to have false beliefs that prevented me from acting upon what God was calling me to do. Even when He was showing me to stand up for myself, I didn’t believe I could.

When I finally fell to my knees and cried out for help, He put in place the help that was there all along. There were people ready to reach out and help me stand tall again.

Psalm 40: 1-2 I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

Last April and May, I spent six weeks of intense counseling during my stay at The Center – A Place of Hope. There I found help for areas where I’d struggled for years. In dealing with my “stuff,” my new friends and counselors were able to point me to a whole body approach to healing.

I had the courage to stand and ask for help when trying to do it on my own didn’t work.

I moved from insecurity and discouragement to stand for the healthy family relationships God has called us to.

The Lord indeed heard my cry. He lifted me out of a dark place. He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

Holley’s uplifting book has been a great reminder how God has just what we need for those hard days. I hope you’ll order a copy for yourself and another for a friend.

Bless you today with what your heart needs for the hard days.

Gigi

*****

When you buy Holley’s books from Givingtons, a percentage will go to Saving Grace,  the organization God used to connect her with her 21 year-old adopted daughter.

There’s a link to Givingtons below each book on the link to Holley’s website.

It Started at a Disney Movie

Hello Friend!

I hope the summer finds you enjoying the warm weather and making family memories.

It has been beautiful here in the Seattle area and I savor each day. As a matter of fact, I write this from my back-yard deck surrounded by hundred-foot cedar trees as the sunlight dances through their branches. It’s a little slice of heaven!

I’ve been praying about how to share what’s been happening in my world.

There is so much to tell of my journey to healing. It is hard to decide where to begin.

I’ll start with a story of what happened last fall, when I saw the movie Saving Mr. Banks starring Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks.

It is a delightful story about the making of the Disney movie, Mary Poppins. Here is the movie trailer:

I enjoyed the movie. But when I couldn’t stop crying as the credits rolled, I knew I was in trouble.

I’m not talking quiet tears. I mean shoulder-shaking, heaving sobs.

The kind of crying that makes you wait until the theater clears so you can sneak into the bathroom to get your act together.

The kind of tears that made my son, Gabe, and husband, Steve, look at each other and ask “What do we do now?”

You see, Saving Mr. Banks is all about Mrs. P.L. Travers letting go of the story of her childhood.

It’s about grieving loss and wishing things were vastly different.

It is about finding someone who knows your pain and challenges you to tell the story.

I found myself right in the middle of P.L Travers’ struggle to deal with the loss of her father.

Her birth name is Helen Lyndon Goff. My birth name is also Helen. This tiny fact was eerily coincidental.

Helen Goff arrived too late to her beloved dad’s death bed. That’s when my tears began.

At that moment, I saw me as a curly-headed little girl staring at the fish tank in the lobby of the Veteran’s hospital, wondering what was taking my mom and older siblings so long. They were upstairs visiting my sick dad. I wanted to see my hero, but the hospital had a minimum age of thirteen for allowing visitors. I was only seven.

Early the next morning, the phone rang. My aunt Jo answered and told the caller, “The angels took him home.” I wondered it if was my dad she referred to, but I quickly dismissed the thought.

That afternoon, my mom sent us to the Saturday matinee. The movie showing was none other than, Mary Poppins.

Mary Poppins

I came home that afternoon and mom told me dad was dead. The angels took him home. I never got to say goodbye.

I don’t remember crying when my dad died. I learned at a young age to hold my tears. My Nana warned us not to cry so we wouldn’t upset Mom. She had enough to deal with as it is. Ten crying children would only make things worse.

So I learned to stuff my pain behind a smile. I learned to wear a mask.

Then P. L. Travers and Walt Disney taught me that hiding pain is never a good idea.

In the weeks that followed, my counselor helped me make sense of what happened to me at Saving Mr. Banks. She encouraged me to trust that God was showing me the path to healing.

It was time to get help for my pain.

Over the next several months, I came to grips with many things I had stuffed all these years.

It was then I realized I needed professional help. I just couldn’t stop the tears.

Shortly thereafter, I sought help at The Center – A Place of Hope where I worked through years of pain and loss. I cried buckets of tears.

Isn’t it strange how things become clear when we least expect it? How a scene in a movie can trigger years of stuffed emotion?

And so, my healing began at a Disney movie. And I’m so glad I got the help I needed. I feel so much better now.

How about you? Has there been a movie that led you to a healing place? Or a place of revelation about something you hadn’t thought about in years? I hope you’ll share your story.

I continue to pray for whatever is on your heart. May God guide you to a healing place for what’s going on in your world.

Blessings on your day.

Gigi

PS: If you haven’t seen the movie, I hope you take time to rent it this summer.

 

 

 

Better Not Bitter

Wednesday May 21 2014 12:23 pm | Comments (10) Tags: , , ,

Hello Friend!

I’ve been away from my blog on a spiritual retreat and getting help for the depression and anxiety I’ve felt on and off for many years.

It was time for me to face it, rather than deny it.

This is my last week at The Center – A Place of HOPE, where I have received wonderful care from my therapists, doctors, nutritionists and a host of new friends.

A Place of HOPE

The  best care has been given me by the One and Only who is acquainted with my sorrow – Jesus.

I have so much to tell you.

I hope you’ll come back to my blog in the coming days and weeks where I’ll share some of the amazing revelations I’ve had these past six weeks.

I have turned my trials to triumphs.

I have removed bitter roots and I see sprouts of new growth and a better life.

I have examined every area of my life, like peeling an onion layer by layer.

My faith has been tested and has produced the quality of endurance.

I have asked God for help and received answers to long ago prayers.

Suffering and pain got my attention. It got me to listen to God in a way nothing else could.

I have learned that adversity is the greatest teacher.

When I am weak, Christ is made strong.

My faith has been tested. It is precious to God. It is more precious than gold.

I am more dependent upon the Lord as I have learned to face and embrace adversity.

I am allowing the Holy Spirit to develop Christ’s character in me.

I have learned things by the way of suffering.

This testing of my faith has produced endurance. This endurance has produced perseverance.

I have been pruned.

I have been purified.

I have become better instead of bitter.

Better Not Bitter

God’s grace has been my Divine Anesthetic.

I see the promises and blessings He has had for me all along. But the bitterness in my heart clouded my vision.

I can see clearly now, my pride is gone.

My hope and prayer for you, my friend. Is that you will be able to endure your painful trials and process them to effect real change.

May the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.

Bless you with hope. If you don’t have any today, let me loan you some of mine. It is abundant in my heart this day.

Gigi

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