Years ago, the Lord challenged me to guard my thoughts, to think on what is true, and to learn what that looks like in the lives of believers. I love that Kelly Balarie has just come out with a book, Battle Ready, that covers this in depth and with transparency. She shares practical tips on how to keep our thoughts aligned with God’s word so we are Battle Ready when life’s trials come.
Kelly is guest-posting on my site today. In the comments, I’d love to hear how you keep your mind Battle Ready!
I was in the waiting room for the MRI. All that was going through my mind was thoughts of, This is horrible. I am never going to survive. I am not going to be able to walk. There is no way out of this. I will be scared to death in that loud machine. I hate needles and they’ll put one in me.
All I could see there was me. It was me and my problems. Me and my trauma. Me and all the horrible pain that was ahead of me.
I met Michelle at my first-ever writing adventure five years ago. One of the things that first drew me to her is her encouraging spirit. As I’ve gotten to know her better, I have appreciated her sweet spirit, a great listening ear, and she’s crazy-good at brainstorming stories and all things writing!
Please help me welcome Michelle Lim!
Life is complicated. There are so many times that we make plans that never happen because of life’s unexpected struggles.
I first met Jill Kemerer over at the Books and Such blog. When I was ready to brave beginning my own blog, Jill stepped up to answer my every last question (with much patience, I might add!). We’ve since met in person, and she has become a special friend. I’m so excited to host her here today for the final installment in my series about Life Lessons. (You can read parts one, two, three, and four here). Read to the end and learn about her latest book and a giveaway.
Please welcome Jill!
What life lesson has changed you the most?
When Jeanne posed this question to me, I had no idea it would be so hard to answer. Unfortunately, I’ve learned a lot of life lessons! I am NOT perfect.
But looking back, I think the one thing I learned that changed me the most was to make an effort with strangers and acquaintances. I’ve always been introverted yet oddly social. As a kid, I loved making my friends and family laugh, but I felt awkward around people I didn’t know.
For some reason, I always had this feeling that I didn’t have anything to offer, like why would they want to talk to me? Silly, huh!
As I entered my teen years, I made friends naturally, but I heard the following a few times, “When I first met you I thought you were stuck up, but you’re not like that at all.”
My first reaction? Gee, thanks. But I took their words to heart. I realized I had a different view of myself than others did. By allowing shyness to prevent me from making an effort, I was unknowingly giving the impression I was arrogant.
I began talking to people I would have been too intimidated to speak to previously. I’m not going to lie. It felt uncomfortable. Sometimes they weren’t friendly. Other times they were wonderful. But I realized how they reacted wasn’t the point. If someone didn’t like me, no big deal. At least I tried.
I’m glad I learned that lesson early, because my entire adult life has involved relocating every few years. Starting over in a strange town would have been much more isolating and difficult if I had never learned this lesson. When my kids were young, I joined playgroups. Often there were clusters of other moms who knew each other from way back when. I forced myself to talk to them. Sometimes it took three or four different tries before they were receptive. In other towns, I was blessed to connect with a kind soul right away.
I also learned not to jump to conclusions about people. If I’m at one of my kids’ practices and a mom I don’t know is sitting off by herself, I don’t assume she’s stuck up or antisocial. It might mean she’s uncomfortable or lonely. It could mean she had a bad day or had a bad experience with some of the parents. Maybe she’s nervous about her kid’s performance. Who knows? It’s none of my business. What is my business is to introduce myself and make her feel welcome.
Now when I’m at a writer’s conference or a dinner with strangers, I do my best to be friendly and welcoming to anyone I meet. And you know what? I think this was the real me all along. It feels good to brighten someone’s day. So many people feel lonely at big events. I’m glad God is using me to encourage others.
Thank you so much, Jeanne, for hosting me today.
Have you ever felt shy and self-conscious around strangers? If so, how do you work through this?
Jill’s newest book is releasing TODAY! She’s hosting a giveaway that begins at 6:00 a.m. on August 31st and ends at 9:00 p.m. September 5th. This contest is open to US residents.Read about her book and enter by pressing on “Entry Form” below to earn entries.
His Surprise Daughter
After five years apart, Tom Sheffield is shocked to find his ex-wife, Stephanie, on his doorstep. The news that they share a child he’s never met sends him reeling. Four-year-old Macy has his eyes, his mouth and, from their first encounter, his heart. Things with her mother are much more complicated. He doesn’t understand what went wrong between them or why she kept their daughter a secret. And he’s afraid of falling in love all over again. Yet he feels a glimmer of hope that somehow he can convince Macy and Stephanie to stay in Lake Endwell—and with him—for keeps.
Jill Kemerer writes contemporary romance novels with love, humor and faith. A full time writer, she relies on coffee and chocolate to keep up with her kids’ busy schedules. Besides spoiling her mini-dachshund, Jill adores magazines, M&Ms, fluffy animals and long nature walks. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Jill loves connecting with readers, so please visit her website,jillkemerer.com.
I met Tiffany Parry on a weekly link up we both do calledFive Minute Fridays. As we’ve gotten to know each other through our blogs, my respect for this lady continues to grow. She’s a beautiful writer and a sweet lady with a vibrant relationship with God. I asked her to share part four of my series Life Lessons. (FindParts One, Two, andThreehere). I look forward to the day I get to sit and have coffee with Tiffany in person. Until then, I will continue to enjoy the words she shares on her blog.
Please help me welcome Tiffany!
My 40th birthday is a few weeks away. As I look ahead with anticipation, I also look back and assess the landscape of my life. I’m counting what I’ve accomplished, the dreams I’ve pursued, and even the longings I’ve allowed to slip through my fingers.
It’s true what they say: youth is wasted on the young.
I’m so excited to have Shelli Littleton guest posting today, as the second of a five part series on Life Lessons. I first “met” Shelli on a blog we both follow. Her thoughtful, encouraging comments—both in response to that blog, as well as to other commenters—revealed what a uplifting person she is. I’ve enjoyed getting to know her over the last couple years. Her love for Jesus and living her life for Him comes through her words.
Please welcome Shelli!
By Shelli Littleton
“Shelli, you have about a 50% chance of conception,” my doctor said, leaning over my hospital bed. I can’t begin to relay the pain I felt or the tears I cried. For you see, having a family had been my childhood dream.
Embarrassment … shame, and everything in between, covered me. All my friends were having babies … baby showers. I felt less than ….
I’ve lived a lot of life—in person and over the telephone—with my dear friend, Jennifer Kolb. She is truly a lady of wisdom. As I talked through the ideas of knowing God’s best and what is good enough with her, her thoughts challenged me to really think through what each of these look like. I asked her to share some thoughts in a guest post. Please welcome Jennifer!
I grew up watching “I Love Lucy” reruns. I watched them so often I memorized much of the dialogue. In one of my favorites, Lucy becomes the spokesperson for a miraculous tonic called Vitameatavegamin. “Are you tired, run-down, listless? Do you poop out at parties? Are you unpopular? The answer to all your problems is in this little bottle…”
Jill Kemerer is one of the first people I met online when I began writing. She is one of the people who motivated me to begin blogging, and she answered LOTS of my questions as I set my blog up just over two years ago. Meeting her in person at ACFW one year showed me she’s as lovely in person as she is online. She’s such an encourager and an inspiration to me, and to many. Her debut novel came out on March 17th, and it’s a wonderful read. Without further ado . . . .
Relationships can be the most wonderful things in the world. There’s something amazing when you meet a new friend and instantly connect. Families can be more comfortable than the comfiest couch. And falling in love—is there anything better?
But relationships can also cause so much pain. There’s a reason many people dread the holidays, and it’s not the commercialism. It’s being confronted with imperfect, stressful relationships when we’re all supposed to be happy. Christmas movies make the holidays look good, but how often do you really end up with everyone in harmony?