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Thursday, January 31, 2013


Each month I post the meaning of names and prayers that we can pray over our loved ones that they would live that meaning.

These are then posted on the tab at the right titled, PRAYING NAMES.

If you don't find the name of someone you know, please leave me a comment. I will research the meaning of the name and post a prayer for that person in a future month.

I pray you will be blessed by these prayers.

Daelen: valley

Heavenly Father, I pray that Daelen will live the meaning of his name. I pray that his life will be filled with soft meadows and streams of clear water. I pray that he will be a place of rest and refuge for others and that He will find you there. Amen.

Dominic: belonging to God

Heavenly Father, I pray that Dominic will live the meaning of his name. I pray that he will know throughout his life that he belongs to you, that he is your child and that you love him more than he can understand. Let him be secure in that understanding. Amen.

Eunice: good victory

Heavenly Father, I pray that Eunice will live the meaning of her name. I pray that every trial in her life will result in victory through you and that she will understand that all things accomplished by and through your power are good. Amen.

Marianne: bitter grace

Heavenly Father, I pray that Marianne will live the meaning of her name. I pray that in all trials, crises and difficult situations in her life, that Marianne will be able to see past the bitterness and turn to you, receiving your grace and letting it pass through her to others. Amen.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


One month is nearly over. A whole, brand new, fresh year is already almost 1/12th completed. Sometimes I think I’m more overwhelmed at the speed of time in the early part of the year than at its end. Because a whole year sounds like plenty of time when it’s just beginning, doesn’t it?

This realization makes me stop and think again about what I want to accomplish this year—my goals, resolutions and focus. Am I still moving forward toward their realization?

Are you?

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for the time you have given us here on Earth. Please help us make the best use of it. Please direct our attention and focus on what you desire for our lives. Please help us keep moving forward. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Are you still moving forward on what you’d like to accomplish this year? Have those priorities changed any?

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This post is based on the theme of the Christian Writers blog chain, "forward." Please check out the links to the right and see what my friends have to say about this topic.

Monday, January 28, 2013


Hey friends!

Chris Vonada has honored me with an interview on his blog. It's up at

Go there often. He has a lot to say about loving Jesus.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Ouch! Why did you just whack me upside the head, Jesus?

Have you ever been reading your morning devotional or Bible and you felt as if Jesus was getting your attention in a forceful way?

It happened to me—again—this morning.

I haven’t read Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest daily devotional for several years, preferring instead to begin my day softly with Sarah Young’s gentle Jesus Calling.

But hubby coincidentally "found" our copies of Utmost on December 31 in a box where they had been securely packed away. Just in time to begin the book on day one, page 1 of the New Year.

Several people in our life group had been reading Utmost for more than a year and it seemed as if God might have something to tell us (again) through the words of Chambers’ devotionals.

This morning’s devotional hit me that way. The topic was "waiting on God; waiting for His clear direction; waiting instead of rushing forward with your own plans on how to do His will."

Good message.

But it was a little phrase down in the last paragraph of today’s devotional that made me ponder my own faith.

"Natural devotion may be enough to attract us to Jesus, to make us feel His irresistible charm, but it will never make us disciples." (emphasis mine)

That took me back to a sermon from 2 years ago where the pastor said that most Christians dislike reading the Book of Revelation because they only want to hear about the "happy Jesus."

Yes, Jesus is charming. Yes, Jesus is happy. But he’s definitely more.

Our Jesus is powerful enough to control the raging storm. Our Jesus exhibits righteous wrath enough to cause a riot at the Temple. Our Jesus is strong and fearless enough to face horrifying torture and death. Our Jesus is God incarnate. Let’s face it—God is not always "charming" from a human definition.

The whacking upside the head part of today’s devotional was this: If my Jesus is only charming, then how easily will I deny him when what He does, how he wants me to act, how he expects me to believe, is not "charming"?

Will I be Peter before the crucifixion, waiting for the chickens to cackle? Or will I respond to Jesus like Peter did after the resurrection when the charming has been enhanced with the power, sacrifice and true understanding of discipleship?

That’s following the true Jesus. It’s the hard part of faith. But, let’s face it, the fact that Jesus wants us to come and follow him, even when it’s hard, because he will be there holding us safe as we travel—that’s the true charm of Jesus.

NOTE: I wrote this earlier this month to post today. For anyone who is also reading My Utmost for His Highest, the devotional was for January 4. Check it out.

PRAYER: Jesus, you are charming. And we love that about you. But we know that there is so much power and strength in your character. We love that about you also and cling to your power and strength. Please help us claim it for our own. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? What character of Jesus do you love that may not be "charming" to others?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


Today's bible reading included Psalm 25:7:
Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you are good, O Lord.

That, of course, reminded me of Psalm 103:12

…as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

In fact, the Bible is filled with verses that proclaim our forgiveness from sin, when we repent and turn away from our past sins.

When we turn away and face forward, who is there before us? Jesus. Always.

Why then do we so often return to the past; relive our mistakes; hold on to our sins? They only build up our shame and guilt. They only make us feel unworthy of the grace and mercy God freely gives. They only remind us that we have not yet truly taken ownership of that forgiveness. They reinforce a sense that we are not truly worthy.

But of course we are not worthy. That’s the point of grace.

It may be our natural human nature to return to our past and nurture our regrets. But God is SUPER natural and His power includes the power to leave our past behind and move forward in His power.

We often hear that when we forgive others the pain will no longer eat at our souls. When God forgives us, He does just that. Our sins—how we have hurt Him—no longer eat at His soul.

But in our human relationships, sometimes I wonder if it’s easier to forgive others than to forgive ourselves the pain we’ve caused others and God. Why is it so easy to keep hold of the pain of understanding how we grieved others and God?

Some days I recall sins with a sense that I committed them in another life. And truly, it was in another life, having since been reborn in Christ.

The temptation is to pull those sins out from their box where Jesus buried them and give those sins new life, too. To feel the guilt; relive the moment; hold fast to the shame. That is when we must rely on the power of Jesus. He pulls US out of the grave. He gives US new life. But as for our sins—they remain buried to Him and should remain buried to us as well.

The theme of the Christian Writers this month is "forward." It has given me a new focus for today, in light of this morning’s bible reading: to turn away from my past—again—and again every day if I need to—and face forward to Jesus.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for your forgiveness and the new life you give us through Jesus. You know how we sometimes struggle with our past. Please remind us that our past is past to you because we have turned away from our sins and have turned forward to walk with you. Please always keep our focus on you, reminding us that our old life has been replaced forever with our new life in you. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU: Is there a scripture that speaks loudly to you about the power of repentance to turn away from past sin?

Thursday, January 17, 2013



I have a set of goals for 2013. Some are continued from last year; most are brand new. They’re all things I’m passionate about.

And they all require courage.

In fact, "courage" is my focus word for 2013. I tend to feel like a wimp most of the time. And when it comes to writing, I’m especially so. I’m passionate about what I write. I think I’m a good writer—sometimes even "great." I work hard to write quality stories, books and articles.

And then, like Frodo Baggins, I work hard to keep them secret; keep them (and me) safe. From publicity. From review. From criticism.

Which is a really silly thing to do. Since I write for my words and ideas to be read by others.

So for 2013, all of my goals—SMARTER GOALS—will be seen, reviewed, worked on—through the lens of courage. Because even though I’m afraid—especially because I’m afraid, I’ll do them anyway.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, you know our fears and you know our dreams. Please work in our hearts and minds to give us courage to work toward accomplishing our dreams. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? What dream will you work toward this year? Do you need courage or encouragement?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The 10 + 1 Building Blocks Of Relationships: Respect

Welcome, Chris Vonada as he continues his series on the 10 + 1 Building Blocks of Relationships. Visit him often at and find his two new books on Amazon.

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Respect is sort of one of those backwards virtues... sometimes the more we want it and try to get it the farther it wanders away. Respect, like patience, often comes at times of adversity, and through humility. (Click To Tweet)

Maybe one of the more profound verses in the Bible regarding respect in relationships is this one...

"Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
For whoever would love life
and see good days
must keep his tongue from evil
and his lips from deceitful speech.
He must turn from evil and do good;
he must seek peace and pursue it.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
and his ears are attentive to their prayer,
but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.
Who is is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened. But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. It is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. For Christ died for sons once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous to bring you to God." 1 Peter 3: 8-18

I know what you must be thinking, and you're right: That IS a lot of Bible! These verses are also chock full of good advice when it comes to relationships, and particularly in regards to respect. Thinking out loud... live in harmony, be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble, be a blessing, love life, do good, seek peace and pursue it, and do it all with gentleness and respect.

In my closest personal relationship with Julia, I learned more and I would say the level of respect and trust grew deeper in the last year during the time we were having trouble than during the good times. I believe that it is during times of adversity and stormy weather that we can see clearly what is in someone's heart, and who they really are. It often takes time to really see this clearly, and when it does, goodness appears bright as the midday sun... with the brilliance of a springtime bed of tulips, God's brilliant declaration of perennial love. Love is so often expressed from the heart through these 10 + 1 building blocks, and respect is possibly the most important expression of love.

Sometimes when we think of respect (and peace, for that matter) we may mistake it for a lack of conflict. That doesn't really reveal what's in our heart. Good, healthy hearts build relationships through long-term commitment... and these relationships grow like the tulip whenever there's mutual respect. Here's the most relevant idea of why respect is a part of 10 + 1: Respect is accomplished directly in one-on-one relationships. If one can't have a direct, personal relationship with someone, is there really any room for respect? For sure, I can respect and admire Bill Cosby for what he has accomplished in his lifetime, but I don't have (or need, for that matter) a direct relationship with him (just sayin'). Jesus is changing lives every day, one person at a time, through verses like those shared above, and through direct, personal relationships with people just like you and me. That's super exciting!

We can further expand and apply this broadly, to all of our relationships. From there, respect could extend out as a trait developed through and within a team, and within the body of Christ... but, like our relationship with Jesus, it all falls back to a one-on-one relationship... the one that is most important! Once we get that part straight, we have the opportunity to dream big, ask God boldly, and experience the synergy found through the one body of believers.

Speaking of two lips, respect really hits a home run here...

Love in truth and in action. 1 John 3:18-22

I believe it is through difficult situations and trials that we get to see what's inside a person's heart, and that we can grow closer in our love, respect and trust for each other.

Seek respect not attention it lasts longer. (Click To Tweet)

What specific actions could you take to show respect to others in your most valued relationships today?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

2013 begins a concerted effort to encourage other Christian writers. I start today with an interview of my friend, Chris Vonada. You will recognize him as a monthly guest blogger, who has been sharing the 10 + 1 Building Blocks of relationships. He currently has two books published with Amazon, Common Ground…Geology Happens! and Believe…And You Say?

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CAROL: Welcome, Chris. I’m impressed with the speed at which you’ve gotten these books 
out. Of course the process your readers don’t see has taken you a lot longer. Could you tell us what the writing and publication process was like for your books?

CHRIS: lol... yes, much longer! I was encouraged by a few friends to start writing 3 years ago. They thought it was a gift, I never even recognized it. Maybe think of this as the "initial phase" of honing the craft, trying to learn how to write well.

My first book, Common Ground...Geology Happens! was originally a series of blog posts. I started writing these about 2 years ago. Some super great friend (by the name of Carol Peterson) came up with the suggestion to self-publish these 42 posts as a compilation and book. From there, the process was pretty quick and easy, thanks to Amazon and their self-publishing arm, Createspace. I was able to pull the book together in about a week by using their tools, including an awesome support community and a solid template.

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CAROL: I love the balance in your writing between your faith and your work as a scientist. How have each of those aspects of your life been challenged through your writing? Strengthened?

CHRIS: Great question! I would say that it has been a learning experience for me. I didn't accept Jesus as my Lord and savior until later in life, and was baptized in 2000 by Pastor Tom Bary at Neptune Baptist Church in Neptune Beach, Florida. My journey to get to know Jesus really began at that point, and many of the questions that I had then are still present now. My second book, Believe...And You Say? is about how I have been able to resolve my belief in God with my education as a scientist.

Guy Kawasaki said there are four good reasons to write a book: To enrich lives, for intellectual challenge, to further a cause, and as catharsis. My writing, in general, provides an outlet for each of these reasons at some time or another. It provides me strength to soldier on.

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CAROL: Can you share a little about what you’re working on now? Any prospective date for upcoming publication?

CHRIS: Well, I've found out quickly that a good author's job is only half done when the book is published. I'm spending considerable time now marketing my work. I really enjoy this activity too!

So far as future publications, I have three that I'm actively working on right now: A book about excellent healthy relationships (I will self-publish this most likely in April 2013); The Wellspring Of Life (targeting publication date in Summer 2013); and This Is A Love Story (no date set yet for publication). I have a page on my website where folks can keep track of my books and their status.

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CAROL: What would you like our readers to know about you that I haven’t asked?

CHRIS: lol.. I guess the most striking factoid about me is that I'm quite shy.

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CAROL: Please share links to how folks can get their own copy of your books.

CHRIS: Please check out my "books" page on my blog to stay up to date. Believe...And You Say? is currently available on Amazon for FREE (through 1/13/2013). You can also find all of my books at Amazon by searching "Chris Vonada."

Thank you, Carol so very much for this interview and for all of your encouragement and inspiration!!

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You're welcome and thank you, Chris for joining us today. Congratulations on your latest book launch.

And folks, did you see that? "Believe…And You Say?" is FREE through Sunday. I already have my copy...


Tuesday, January 8, 2013



God is big and I am little. Still, God has given me this one amazing life. And He wants me to do something with it; to not live a small life.

Over the past year, people, circumstances and scripture have led me to the understanding that—presently—I do everything I can in order to assure that I’m living a small life.

In the name of "humility," I hide my light under a bushel. I write stories and books for people to read but then secret them inside my computer files where no one can find them.

This year, our Christian Writers blog group is starting 2013’s theme with "forward." The theme touched my heart as one more pointer to move boldly outward and onward—away from the safe confines of a small writing life.

This bold forward movement in 2013 will include self-publishing. My first self-published book, Wielding the Sword of God, will be an expansion of my free induction bible study booklet available on the tab above. This book will be available in electronic Kindle format at first, for free if Amazon will allow; for pennies if Amazon will not. But it will be available as a help for folks who desire a place to start their study of scripture.

Gulp. I’ve now made myself accountable to you.

Other self-published projects will include a bible study based on the Book of Esther. Call Me Esther: How God Sees His Women of Faith, will be available first in electronic format and later in paperback. I hope to have several other nearly completed faith-based books available by the end of the year in print format.

Bold? It is for me. Praise God, He’s got me moving forward…

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for our lives and for your direction in them. Please guide us and help us make the most of the precious gifts of time and talent you have given us. Please show us how to use them for your glory. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? What area of your life requires boldness? How can you move forward this year?

This post is part of the Christian Writer’s blog chain. Our theme for January is "forward." Please click on the links to the right to see what my friends have to say about this theme.

Thursday, January 3, 2013


Every month has a birthstone. The birthstone for the month of January is the garnet. And it reminds me of Jesus.

The term "garnet" refers to a family of minerals. The garnet family contains gemstones that appear in every color except blue. The difference is what they are called and what extra minerals they contain. For example, within the mineral family of "garnet" are tsavorites (green), hessonite (orange, brown and pink), and rhodolite (purplish red). When we picture a garnet, however, most of us think of the deep blood red stone.

Blood red. The color of Jesus’ blood shed for us. A forever reminder of His sacrifice for us.

In gemstone symbolism, the garnet signifies eternal friendship and trust. Such as is found in Jesus, our eternal friend in whom we can place our trust.

Just like there are star sapphires, there are also star garnets. The "stars" are produced by a sphere of tiny rods composed of titanium dioxide. These rods reflect light back out of the garnet and appear to our eye as a 4 or 6-rayed star that moves across the face of the gemstone. Star garnets are only found in India and Idaho.


Star? With our celebration of Christmas still fresh in our hearts, it would be nice to have a star garnet to always light the way to Jesus.

The garnet is known for its luminosity and high refractive quality. Because of those qualities, early travelers carried garnets, which they believed lit up the night and protected a person from evil. Many extra biblical sources suggest that Noah used a lantern made from garnet to help him see through the storms while on the ark.

Evidently, the garnet reminded Noah of Jesus, too.

Happy birthday to everyone born in January—especially my super husband Jim, whose birthday is TODAY!

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for placing reminders in this world of who you are. Please open our eyes to see you in everything today. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Do you own a garnet?

Today I'm cross posting with my friend, Chris Vonada. Please visit him often at


Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Many people make New Year’s resolutions—personal habits they want to change, adopt or abolish. Others set out goals for what they’d like to accomplish—lose weight, write a book, take a trip to Bora Bora. Others like to select a focus for the year—health, family, growth.

Whatever you want to call it, however you want to approach it, now is the time to start.

We’ll be discussing resolutions, goals and focus for 2013 later this month here on From Carol’s Quill. Why not join the fun? Start thinking or continue to think about what 2013 might look like for you. One thing you can do is reread last year’s post about setting SMARTER goals.

I’ll give you a heads’ up on one of mine. I have a resolution to focus this year on the goal of finishing up several books in process and addressing publication. To give myself more time for book writing, I’m switching to a T/TH blogging schedule.

Thanks so much for hanging out with me last year. See you every T/TH in 2013 right here.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for this brand new year. Please help us focus on you more this year and lead us in ways that will glorify you and further your plan and purpose for our lives. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Are you thinking about what you’d like to do in 2013?