Thursday, January 12, 2017

How to Fight Strong!

When I was diagnosed with cancer my hashtag was #ToFightStrong.  So how do you fight strong?  Last summer I was invited to take part in the Lifeway Women’s Ministry summer bible study on their website. This study was Priscilla Shirer’s Armor of God.   It focuses on the Ephesians 6:10-20 describe the armor of God.

“10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we[d] are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.[e] 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.[f] 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.[g]

19 And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike.[h] 20 I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God’s ambassador. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should.”(, New Living Translation)

Before starting this study I also viewed the movie War Room.   There was one scene in particular stuck out to me.  Priscilla’s character in the movie has problems especially with her husband.  Ms. Clara asks her have you prayed about it?  When I was fighting cancer I learned a lot about prayer.  Had I ever viewed it as a weapon to use in spiritual war fare?  No, but I felt that God was saying this is something you need to focus on. 
Each week of the study focuses on one piece of the armor.  Priscilla through the video sessions gives the participants direction in their homework.  The focus is to teach what each piece of the Armor means and how we as Christians can use. 

My Thoughts:

I felt that this study was a perfect focus for me, and where I am currently in life.  I learned a lot but did not want it to be just another bible study either.  The focus of the study is to make the participant a stronger Christian.  

One of the actions I plan to take from this study is to do the following items.  For me I want to continue studying God’s word but also do it together in community.  I feel that we as a nation and a faith have stepped away from it, and it is important to bring people together.

This study is worth your time!  Priscilla Shirer can be reached on her Facebook page, Twitter, and Website.  You can purchase study items through Lifeway.



Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Join the Society and May Your Art Thrive!

Today we will visit The Fifth Avenue Artist Society by Joy Callaway.  It is her debut novel.  I had the honor of meeting Joy back in October.  Her novel reminded me of such novels like The Paris Wife by Paula McLain and Z by Therese Anne Fowler.  So I loved the premise for this novel. 
Virginia Loftin is anticipating a proposal from her friend Charlie.  e.  So what happens when he doesn’t propose to her?  She shuts herself in her room and starts to write.  Her family has concern for her well being. Her brother Franklin tells her to stop mopping and come to this meeting of artists at a friend’s house.  These artists also include writers, musicians, and others.  Virginia soon finds two other writers to work with.  Will her writing flourish under their tutelage?  Will this other John Hopper persue a relationship?  One night at the society a death occurs. What happens when it implicates her brother?  Will their family survive?
My Thoughts: 
I liked this debut novel.  I thought the concept was interesting and I wanted to see Virginia succeed with her writing.  Her character in this novel is unique because it does not fit the typical story arc of a main character.  I am referring to Virgina's choices and how they affect the rest of the story.  I loved that she was a strong character.  I just felt that a little of the romance was missing for me.  I had a hard time staying interested at times in the middle of the novel.  The climax helps bring readers back into the story.   The author also used a little of her background for the story. 
I feel that this debut is worth reading!  I am looking forward to what stories Joy Callaway will share next.  Purchase The Fifth Avenue Artist Society, and learn more visit her website . 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Let's Catch Up with Phoebe Fox and her Breakup Doctor series

This time of year, most of us are thinking about family—whether we’re excited to be together for the holidays, dreading it…or maybe a little of both.

I spend a lot of time thinking—and writing—about family. It’s such a rich emotional mix of the deepest, most primal kind of love and attachment and the sort of five-star frustration and nerve-plucking that only those who’ve known us all our lives can really excel at.

Despite the title of my Breakup Doctor series, the stories are, at the heart, very much about family. Breakup Doctor Brook Ogden helps her brokenhearted clients through the end of their rocky, difficult relationships—but her own are far from perfect, as she’s struggled across four books in love, with friendships, and of course, with her mom.

Brook and her mother have always had a complicated, often prickly relationship, the way we often do with those who are most like us. In Out of Practice, the fourth and final title of the series that released this fall, her control-freak mom struggles with the recent loss of her husband, serious health issues of her own, and the loss of her much-cherished autonomy.

Brook, too, feels best with the reins held firmly in her hands—yet when a former frenemy in her small Florida hometown launches a media “exposé” targeting the Breakup Doctor, the rug is pulled out from under Brook’s wildly successful practice and she starts to lose control.

What was especially fun for me about writing this series was exploring the tensions and conflicts inherent in certain family relationships—I often say family is the universe’s way of teaching us tolerance, patience, and unconditional love, since we’re stuck with people we sometimes feel we might otherwise walk away from.
Both Brook and her mom wind up handling their challenges and moving onto a different path than what they may have expected—but in both cases, it’s a positive move filled with opportunity for them to grow. Sometimes it takes that kind of friction and difficulty for us to reach our most glorious potential, like the sand in an oyster that irritates a beautiful pearl into being.

And surprisingly often, it’s the people and situations we may think are the most difficult that can get us there. As a daughter or sister or wife or mom that may be maddening—but as a writer, it’s juicy material to work with.

So this season, if you’re among those who head home for the holidays with a mixture of joy and trepidation, remember that the people who may drive you crazy are the same ones who may be pushing you to grow to be everything you are capable of being. And if that isn’t enough to soothe the discomfort of getting there, remember the wise words of Nora Ephron: Everything is copy. Think of it as research for your next bestselling book.

Phoebe Fox is the author of the Breakup Doctor series and the upcoming Merry Widows series (both from Henery Press). You can find her website . You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.