Live Free, Write Free

Hi Friend~

Bless you today with sunshine and hope as we enjoy the first few days of spring.

I’ve seen rain, snow and sleet and sun¬†as I traveled across Washington and Idaho into Montana and back again.

This weekend, I’m in Spokane Valley at the Inland Northwest Christian Writer’s Conference.

This morning, I attended¬†the¬†”Live Free, Write Free”¬†session taught by James L. Rubart.

He played a clip from the 1991 film, Defending Your Life written and directed by Albert Brooks. I loved this quote from the movie.

“Fear is like a giant fog that sits on your brain and blocks everything. Real feelings, true happiness, real joy. They can’t get through that fog. But you lift it and buddy you are in for the ride of your life.”

Fear.

The thing that stops us from living free and writing free.

With regard to my writing life, sometimes I fear:

  • I have nothing to say in my writing.
  • No¬†one will read it.
  • It is just no good.

I’ve been dealing with fear all my life.

  • Fear of man.
  • Fear of standing up for myself.
  • Fear of rejection.
  • Fear of disappointing others.
  • Fear of not being good enough.

But God is not the author of my fear. The enemy of my soul wants me to be afraid.

bible-god-quotes-395

Scripture reminds me of this:

2 Timothy 1:6-8  6 Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Through my friend James L. Rubart, God reminded me today to trust Him to help me live free of fear so I can write free and be who God has called me to be.

Let’s help each other to live free of fear so we can be used by God to bless others.

What fears keep you from living free?

Bless you with power and love and a sound mind. Let’s make this a #NoFearNewYear!

Gigi

 

As the Earth Brings Forth Sprouts

Saturday March 15 2014 11:57 am | Comments (0) Tags: , ,

Hello friend.

How are you doing today?

Praise God I am feeling better than I did on my last blog post.

God has met me in my time of need. His light shines in the dark night of my soul. Oh where would I be without my Jesus?

One of the blessings of the past week has been the sun shining after long, dark and rainy days.

Sun in the clouds

My plants are poking through the ground reminding me that spring is around the corner.

The daffodils are bloomed at the entry to our neighborhood.

Daffodils

The rhodedendrums that bloom early are full of pink flowers.

Pink Rhody

I wonder if the primroses that brighten my planters know how they brighten my spirit?

Primrose

This week I’ve been journaling through a blessing from My Father’s Business. It came to me at the perfect time. I plan to share more about that with you this week.

I have found in my experience that God is never early. He is never late. He meets me at just the right time. He did that this week.

As I write this I am preparing to travel with my son, Gabe.

Sunday morning he will be speaking at a youth group event in Ellensburg, WA.

Monday he will inspire a Christian school.

Right after his assembly, we head to Helena, MT where he will be the keynote speaker at the Montana Association of School Superintendents on Tuesday afternoon.

My heart swells with joy to watch God use Gabe to touch thousands of lives.

Thank You Jesus for lighting my world with the reminder of hope for the way you intend to use my family.

At the end of the week I’m excited to meet my writer friends at the Inland Northwest Writer’s Conference.

Here again, I am reminded of His plan. He has called me to write. Even through my troubled times.

I prayed for you today. I asked that God would shine His light on your life.

I asked Him to help us both remember that He never leaves us or forsakes us.

I praised Him for the Scriptures that remind me that He is sent to bind up my broken heart. Isaiah 61 resonates with me.

The Year of the Lord’s Favor

61¬†The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,¬†because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor;he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives,¬†and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; 2¬†to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,¬†and the day of vengeance of our God;¬†to comfort all who mourn; 3¬†to grant to those who mourn in Zion‚ÄĒ¬†to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning,¬†the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness,¬†the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.

4 They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities,  the devastations of many generations.

5 Strangers shall stand and tend your flocks; foreigners shall be your plowmen and vinedressers; 6 but you shall be called the priests of the Lord; they shall speak of you as the ministers of our God; you shall eat the wealth of the nations,  and in their glory you shall boast.

7 Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion;  instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot; therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion;  they shall have everlasting joy.

8 For I the Lord love justice;  I hate robbery and wrong;I will faithfully give them their recompense,  and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.

9 Their offspring shall be known among the nations, and their descendants in the midst of the peoples; all who see them shall acknowledge them, that they are an offspring the Lord has blessed.

10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

11 For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations.

For whatever you are going through, I pray for peace to sprout a garden of praise.

Let me know how I can pray.

God’s blessing on your life.
Gigi

Though You Slay Me

Saturday March 8 2014 11:09 pm | Comments (0) Tags: , , , ,

Hi Friend!

Although I’ve not posted a blog each week, I’ve been thinking of you.

I’ve been praying for you.

I wonder if you ever have days when you just want to give up?

Do you ever feel like you are at the end of your rope?

I’ve been there lately. I’m hanging on for dear life.

But God continues to remind me that He was sent to bind up the broken hearted and set the captive free.

I love this quote.

“When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.” – Thomas Jefferson.

It reminds me to hold on.

And I’m so glad I have friends to support me when I can’t hold on any longer.

One such friend sent me this link to a beautiful song by Shane and Shane titled “Though You Slay Me

Though He Slay Me Yet I will HOPE

I hope you’ll listen to this YouTube rendition of the song. It spoke to my troubled heart.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyUPz6_TciY

Smack dab in the middle of the song (At 3 minutes and 24 seconds) are the words I needed to hear spoken by John Piper

I heard clearly from the Lord today.

All that is going on in my life is not in vain.

My affliction is light in comparison to the Glory of God.

Every millisecond of my misery is producing a peculiar glory.

Do not lose heart, dear friend. There IS hope.

Get alone with God every morning until you preach the Word into your mind and soul.

And then you will sing with confidence as you trust Him to bring you HOPE.

He is with me….

Job 13:15 Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.
Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him.

Oh how I needed this today.

Do you?

How can I pray for you?

Tell me your story and we will hold on together.

Gigi

 

Can I Trust God with My Hurts?

Hello Friend,

Is your heart burdened by loss or disappointment? Do you wonder if you’ll ever be able to restore the joy of your faith when life is challenging? Are you feeling lonely and isolated?

I sometimes feel that way. I am thankful for the love of people who step in to authentically share their story and point me to joy when I can’t seem to find it on my own. I am encouraged when I can learn from someone else who has received spiritual healing.

52 Heart Lifters for Difficult Times is a sweet gift book written by Diana Savage. It gave me this kind of renewed hope. Diana certainly understands the need for encouragement in her own life. She experienced tragedy and disappointment. This book was written as a result of help Diana received from others in her time of need.

52 Heart Lifters for Difficult Times contains 52 promises of hope and encouragement from God. Each entry begins with a Scripture and ends with a prayer. Sandwiched between these two conversations with God, Diana shares a touching, often humorous story.

The book is broken into four sections.

  • Choosing Our Outlook. Here each story challenges the reader to choose life and to focus on the positive.
  • Living Miraculously. ¬†Diana does a fabulous job sharing beautifully crafted stories to help us trust that God will hear and answer our prayers.
  • Participating Joyfully When we realize that God always has our best interests at heart, we can live life with passion.
  • Pursuing Possibilities.¬†We can experience the abundant life God had in mind for us from the beginning by pursuing new possibilities in life.

Diana’s creative and humorous style flows through each story. I had intended to use 52 Heart Lifters for Difficult Times as a weekly devotional for the fifty-two weeks of the year, but I couldn’t help but  read through every story. This is a book I will continue to read when I truly need a heart lifter.

My Valentine package to a few of my loved ones will include this book.  There is nothing like giving hope and encouragement from God to those I love.

I hope you will visit Diana’s website at www.HeartLifters.net to learn more about her ministry. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications, two Chicken Soup for the Soul titles, and other books. She earned her BA from Northwest University and her Master of Theological Studies (MTS) degree from Bakke Graduate University.

May the God of HOPE encourage you and fill you with peace as you trust in Him.

Gigi

heart and sunset

Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Harvest House Publishers and the author, Diana Savage. However, I liked it so much I purchased several copies to give as gifts to people burdened by loss, sadness or even discouragement. I’d like to encourage you to do the same.

Keeping Thoughts Captive

Wednesday January 29 2014 6:48 am | Comments (0) Tags: , , ,

Captive thought

Hi Friend,

The theme of my week seems to be about keeping my thoughts captive to the mind of Christ.

Too often I find my mind wandering and wondering.

Does that ever happened to you?

I will admit that sometimes my thoughts aren’t very holy.

Sometimes I want to criticize.

Sometimes I want to judge.

Sometimes I want to doubt.

And sometimes I let my mind go to the “what if “scenarios as a way of escaping from my struggles.

Today’s Jesus Calling devotion¬†is right in line with what I’ve been praying about this week.

“Let the goal of this day be to bring every thought captive to Me. Whenever your mind wanders, lasso those thoughts and bring them into My Presence. In My radiant Light, anxious thoughts shrink and shrivel away. Judgmental thoughts are unmasked as you base in My unconditional love. Confused ideas are untangled while you rest in the simplicity of My Peace. I will guard you and keep you in constant Peace as you focus your mind on Me.” Excerpt January 29th Jesus Calling Devotional. Jesus Calling APP

You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3

Lord, today as I work through some things in my mind and heart, I ask that you help me take every thought captive in order for me to keep in perfect peace. I trust You. Help me fix my mind on You.

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…2 Corinthians 10:4-5

Every thought captive

How can I pray for you? Leave a comment and I will pray.

Bless your heart with good thoughts and peace,

Gigi

 

#PreachingToMyself!

 

 

More on Goal Setting

Wednesday January 15 2014 10:37 pm | Comments (0) Tags: , , , , ,

Hi Friend!

Last week I was a guest blogger on Kate Lloyd’s blog. Kate is a great fiction author and a fellow critique group member.

On her blog, I shared a few more details about my goal setting process. Check it out here.

Write Check Off

I’m happy to share that I started my¬†online writing course,¬†“Writing Fiction Like A Pro“. I am well on my way to accomplishing my writing goals for this year.

Writing On Track

Steve and I worked out everyday this week! We are a little sore but feeling great. My family started a fitness challenge page on Facebook. We are encouraging one another to get healthy in 2014. My niece Trisha is our coach and started us on the T25 workout. I hope to get back to my bar method class too. Get Fit in 2014!

T25

I’m working on some areas of personal growth. I’ve been reading books and listening to tapes that have helped me understand many of my communication patterns, or lack thereof.

When you grow up with nine siblings, effective communication isn’t always taught. I continue to learn to be a better communicator through¬†counseling, reading books, listen to tapes and doing what it takes to create a healthy atmosphere in my home. I have a good feeling about 2014 when it comes to this area of my life.

My word for 2014 is STAND. I will stand strong in the courage the Lord gives me every day by grace. This is my #NoFearNewYear

Stand Strong

How are you doing with your goals? Can I pray for you?

Be blessed.

Gigi

Ready, Set, Goal 2014

Happy New Year Balloons

Hello Friend,

Happy New Year!

I pray you are excited about 2014.

I hope you are thankful about 2013.

As I turned the calendar over to a New Year, I spent time reflecting on all that transpired in the last year.

I am most thankful for the lessons learned. And I know that God has been there all along.

In 2013, I read many helpful books that opened my eyes to healing in several areas of my life.

Come back to my blog where I will be sharing notes from those books in the coming months.

I spent the last week working through an online course titled¬†”Five Days to The Best Year Ever” created by Michael Hyatt, the former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishing.

Best Year YEt

Michael Hyatt has much wisdom in leadership and goal setting. I recommend you follow his blog.

I had an eye opening experienced as I scribbled answers to the first question he posed in the workbook provided with the course.

In what areas of your life have you settled?

Deep breath….

Pause….

Reflect….

I wrote

and wrote

I prayed and I wrote some more.

I found several areas of my life where I’ve settled.

  • Health – I stopped working out consistently and gained what I had lost.
  • Relationships – I have an ongoing struggle being authentic and vulnerable.
  • Finances – I haven’t paid as close attention as I’d like.
  • Writing – Writing has taken a back burner for the busyness of life.
  • Speaking – I didn’t speak as many times as I had hoped.
  • Faith – My deep relationship with Jesus has at times taken a backseat.

Then he asked the ever challenging question: How does settling make you feel?

I cried and I wrote

I sighed and I wrote

I prayed and I wrote some more.

After writing pages and pages of realization of the areas where I settled, I found the motivation to do something about it.

I know that when I seek FIRST the Kingdom of God, all else falls into place.

I know I must take a STAND for righteousness, peace, and joy.

So I spent time in prayer and asked God to show me baby steps for each goal.

I created SMART goals for each area with action steps designed to get me back on track.

SMART

Over the course of the next few months, I’ll be reporting my progress and hope you’ll help me stay on track.

Will you share your goals with me so we can keep each other accountable?

Can I pray with you to help you examine your purpose?

Leave a comment on my blog and I will email you a copy of the SMART goal template I recently created.

Bless you with a touch from God on your 2014.

Gigi

2 Thessalonians 2:13-17 (NKJV)

Stand Fast

13 But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, 14 to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle. 16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, 17 comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.

Marc Royce – My New Favorite Hero

Saturday November 23 2013 5:51 pm | Comments (1) Tags: , ,

Book Review: Strait of Hormuz

Get ready for an adrenaline rush because this book has it all. Money laundering, explosions, assassination attempts, fast cars, a castle, high-tech spy equipment, a multi-million dollar yacht, and international terrorism threats.

Strait of Hormuz is the first book I read by author Davis Bunn. It certainly won’t be my last. I‚Äôm hooked!

Although it is the third in the Marc Royce Adventures series, it reads well as a stand-alone title. I can’t wait to pick up the other two books in this series, Lion of Babylon and Rare Earth, published by Bethany House.

Strait of Hormuz

 

About Strait of Hormuz

ISBN (Trade Paperback): 978-0-7642-1138-6

ISBN (Hardback): 978-0-7642-1145-4

ISBN (eBook): 978-1-4412-6279-0

336 pages

November 5, 2013 from Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group

Marc Royce is a recently fired United States agent asked to participate in a secret assignment to interrupt the plans for an Iranian nuclear terrorist threat through the narrow Strait of Hormuz.

The mission takes him to Switzerland, through Europe and into the Middle East.

Mr. Royce is joined by Kitra Koban, a beautiful Israeli woman with connections that will help Marc unwrap the intelligence information and make decisions that go against the agency’s commanders. His love interest in Kitra is challenged every step of the way as the suspense builds.

With potential for global disaster, the clock is ticking as new individuals become players in the race to stop this threat before it is too late. From the first scene to the last, mystery and intrigue ran through every chapter. I found myself never quite sure which of the characters I could trust. I enjoyed how faith joined characters from enemy countries for a common goal.

I highly recommend this book by Davis Bunn and encourage you to check out his many other titles. Read Chapters 1-3 of Strait of Hormuz for free.  Click Here

Mr. Bunn is also hosting an incredible sweepstakes. But Hurry!

StraitofHormuzSweepstakesGraphicforLaunchTeam

Sweepstakes!

To celebrate the release of Strait of Hormuz, Davis Bunn is hosting a big giveaway contest on his Facebook page.

  • Grand Prize is his and hers luxury watches ¬†¬†¬†¬† ($845 MSRP)
  • First Prize is a $150 Amazon gift card (just
    in time for your holiday shopping).

Entering is easy. Either click this link http://woobox.com/ipi8wk to go directly to the app and input your name and email address. Or go to Davis Bunn’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/davisbunnauthor and you’ll see signs and arrows that point to the app.

Times is almost up for this amazing giveaway! Increase your chances of winning by entering once per e-mail address per day through November 29 at 6 p.m. Pacific Time. Get bonus entries by sharing the contest with your Facebook friends and Twitter followers (just follow the prompts on your screen after entering).

Davis_Isabella_Bunn

Pictured: Davis Bunn and his wife, Isabella Bunn.

Davis Bunn is a four-time Christy Award-winning, best-selling author now serving as writer-in-residence at Regent’s Park College, Oxford University in the United Kingdom. Defined by readers and reviewers as a “wise teacher,” “gentleman adventurer,” “consummate writer,” and “Renaissance man,” his work in business took him to over 40 countries around the world, and his books have sold more than seven million copies in sixteen languages.

Strait of Hormuz is the series finale of the popular Marc Royce Adventures. Library Journal named Lion of Babylon (Book 1) a ‚ÄúBest Book of 2011.‚Ä̬† Rare Earth (Book 2) won the 2013 Christy Award for best suspense novel and was a CBA top 20 best-seller.

If you want to learn more about Davis Bunn, here are links to his social media pages:

Website and Blog: www.davisbunn.com

What’s REALLY EXCITING about Davis Bunn, is that he has agreed to be the keynote speaker at our upcoming Northwest Christian Writers’ Renewal Conference April 11-12, 2014! We have the privilege of learning from this incredible author during his workshops and keynote presentations.

Join me at the conference. Or at least I hope you’ll pick up a copy of this book. You will be glad you did.

Happy reading!

Gigi

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

A Deeper Intimacy

Saturday November 9 2013 9:28 pm | Comments (1) Tags: , ,

I have been seeking a deeper intimacy with the Lord.

Bible study.

Prayer.

Worship with music.

Quiet time listening to the Lord.

I must confess that the last few years I’ve allowed distractions to interrupt¬†this time.

The Lord continues to remind me that He created me for an intimate relationship with Him. When I choose these distractions over my time with Him, I definitely feel it. Things just aren’t right.

image

At a recent women’s retreat, I enjoyed my time sitting at this pond with my Bible open, pen in hand and a sweet worship album playing on my phone. Oh Lord, help me to continue to find this place of intimacy with you.

Following my retreat, I received this word in my email box from Marsha Burns who shares beautiful messages on her website at http://ft111.com/smallstraws.htm

SMALL STRAWS IN A SOFT WIND by MARSHA BURNS:

Many of you, My people, are awakening to a new level of intimacy with Me, says the Lord.  But, you must be alert and aware that the enemy of your souls will release lies and a spirit of lethargy to convince you that it takes too much effort to walk in the Spirit.  Refuse to go back or give up.  The discipline that it takes is well worth the progress that you are making.  Proverbs 15:19 The way of the lazy man is like a hedge of thorns, but the way of the upright is a highway.

I love God’s timing! I am refusing to go back or give up!

Think about your time with God. Are you making time for him? I hope so.

Bless you with a deeper intimacy with The Father.

Gigi

Forget the Former Things…

Friday November 8 2013 9:46 pm | Comments (1)

Sometimes it is hard for me to forget the former things.

Because I keep a journal, I have a written record of many events of my life.

Even if my memory isn’t as good as it used to be, I have the ability to go back and remember the former things recorded by my pen.

During a recent Bible¬†study, I was reminded that God doesn’t want me to dwell on my past.

Look what I found in the Isaiah 43:18-19!

18 ‚ÄúBut forget all that‚ÄĒit is nothing compared to what I am going to do. 19 For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?

Forget the past Isaiah 43

The Book of Philippians is a compassionate letter written by the Apostle Paul to help us learn to live as Christ. In that book I found another treasure.

Pressing toward the Goal – Philippians 3:12-14

12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it,but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

I have many things in my life that I’m not proud of. It seems that the month of November brings reminders of such unfortunate events.

So I spent time this morning asking God to help me release my past to Him. But I won’t forget the lessons I’ve learned.

Forget what hurt you

It set this captive free.

No longer will I dwell on many painful choices that occurred in the fall season of my life.

I was reminded of an amazing truth found in Philippians 1:12

It happened to me for my good…Philippians 1:12

12 And I want you to know, my dear brothers and sisters,that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News.

Everything happens for a reason

As I look back on the stories in my journals, I am reminded over and again that God used those ugly things to draw me closer and to share His HOPE.

My dear friend, I pray that God has revealed His presence in your past.

May you come to know that He was there all along.

I’m asking Him to show you the HOPE that comes from turning it all to him.

Let Him help you forget the past.

He will shine a light on your future.

I pray for you daily. Asking God to reveal Himself to you in a real way.

Bless your heart with freedom from your past.

Gigi

 

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