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What was the best of the best?

The Best of 2016

What a year! In 2016, I graduated a son (my toughest student), published two new books for military spouses, and one new fiction novelette. What was the best of the best? What did you, my readers, like most? It was a mesh of military tips (like surviving a military move), friendship advice (avoiding the wrong friends), and finding what the Bible says about how involved we are supposed to be in each others lives. But to read the best of the best, or remind yourself of what you read earlier this year, this is the place to start.
Your holiday isn't picture perfect? Mine either

A Picture Perfect Christmas

It's the final few days before Christmas, and everything is falling into place. Presents are neatly wrapped and beautifully decorated under the tree. The Christmas ham or goose awaits the oven, and pie baking commences in the next day or two. What? Your holiday doesn't look Currier and Ives picture perfect? Mine either. I suspect we are not alone. The first Christmas I love nativity scenes and set out several around my home during December. While each has its unique beauty, they all share the same problem.
Are you sure you know the full story?

Our Christmas Traditions

Why do you put up a Christmas tree? Why do you give presents? Why are candy canes a part of our Christmas traditions? Are you sure you know the full story? So many of the things we hang onto as truth, really aren't. Or, at least, the terms we use aren't defined well. For example, what's the highest mountain in the world? You just said Mount Everest, didn't you. Are you sure?
Where in the Christmas is Jesus?

Is it Christmas with Jesus OR Jesus with Christmas?

Today, author Sherry Gareis has stopped by to get our Christmas season started the right way. She asks some great questions we all need to consider. [And don't miss my newest giveaway!] Where in the CHRISTMAS is Jesus? Valid question, right? I mean CHRIST should be in CHRISTmas, shouldn’t He? THE NORM How do we usually show Jesus? Anyone own a ‘Jesus is the Reason for the Season’ pin? I have several and make no bones about wearing them during December. We display Jesus on our Christmas trees, right? I’ve got verses and nativity scenes on my tree. And how about on our Christmas cards? Isn’t that an easy way to share Jesus? Am I suggesting that pins, angels, and cards are bad? Of course not. Not at all! But are they enough? Could you be missing blessings?
Is it okay to walk away?

Repairing a Broken Relationship

I'd hurt her feelings, and she didn't want to talk to me. I gave her some time and space, yet a couple weeks later she still wouldn't talk to me. Our relationship felt irreparably broken. How can you heal a broken relationship? Should you always seek restoration, or does the Bible tell us that sometimes it's okay to walk away? And what if the other person refuses to talk to you about it? These are big questions, but important ones. Let's start with a more foundational one: How important are relationships?
It's okay to grieve

Struggling to Be Thankful

Thanksgiving will soon be over, and you can breathe a sigh of relief. One holiday almost done, one more to go. This season brings out the worst in you: anger, depression, loneliness, bitterness. Your mind fills with the thoughts of what could have been, what should have been. If only . . . If you are in a fresh crisis, grieve. I want to make it clear that this post is not for those who are in the midst of a crisis. If you are coming out of a fresh loss, if tragedy turned your world upside down this year — give yourself grace. You do not need to have it all together with your happy face firmly planted for all to see this December. Instead, I'm talking to the person who thinks they have nothing to be grateful for. The person who faces a rough life, feels betrayed by a loved one, or stands between a rock and a hard place. The one stuck in a world of negative emotions because life hasn't been good or fair. While I empathize with your hard places and disappointments, I want to lovingly remind you of truth.
Fire Protection? What was there to worry about?

Protecting Those You Love [Freebie: Fire Protection]

To be honest, before I started researching my fiction book Kindling Embers, I didn't give much thought to fire protection. We didn't have a lot of open flames around our house, rarely used candles or the grill, so what was there to worry about? According to the National Fire Protection Association, fire departments across the United States responded to a fire every twenty-three seconds in 2015. On average, fire departments reported one civilian injury due to fire every thirty-four minutes, and someone died due to fire every two hours and forty minutes. Maybe, we all have a lot to learn about the fire hazards in our homes.
Veterans Day

Honoring Veterans

In the United States, this Friday is the special day dedicated to honoring veterans. What comes to mind? Among other things, The Star Spangled Banner and Lee Greenwood's God Bless the U.S.A. Two very different songs, but they communicate the same things to this U.S. Air Force girl's heart. The same things I see when I look at the American flag and or any American uniform within our Department of Defense. Honor. Courage. Commitment to a cause bigger than themselves.
What if God says no?

When God Says No

What's your first thought when God says no? Sour grapes? What you were asking for probably wasn't any good anyway. Temper tantrum? God never really loved you or listened to you in the first place. Quiet acceptance? God knows what is best and wants to bless you with it, so whatever happens is okay with you. Something different? When we moved to Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana, we were given the choice of two houses ....
This is the worst political race. Or is it?

The Critics Got it Wrong

‘Tis the season of politics, where candidates spout promises they can’t keep, and critics discredit their words, thoughts, and actions. One side speaks idealistically to their followers; the other side answers with generalizations or exaggerations to demean their opponent.

Critics have been around for thousands of years.And every election year, I hear multiple people claim this is the ugliest, mud-slinging-est, nastiest political race ever.

But is it? After all, critics have been around for thousands of years.

Examples from the Old Testament

Think through the Old Testament stories you know. Do you really think no one criticized Noah as he built a giant boat in the desert? Or Abraham’s parents didn’t haven’t something unpleasant to say when he left all he knew for places unknown?

Maybe you remember the story of the prophet Elijah standing up to his detractors in a great battle involving sacrificed bulls and fire from heaven?… Want to read more?