Has the Hustle Stolen Your Joy This Christmas?

Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud

This is the notoriously most stressful, and for many, most depressing season of the year. The pressure to buy that best gift, to create that perfect evening or morning for our loved ones, the urge to spend, to do, to plan … Then there’s’ the sting of unmet expectations or painful memories. In all that mess and stress, is it possible to experience the joy of Christmas? According to my guest, Carole Brown, yes, but it might take some paring down and refocusing.

Where’s the Joy? by Carole Brown

Word image with quote

My calendar—specifically December—said it was full and groaning under the weight of too many things to do and not enough time.

Shopping, Christmas programs, dinners, and decorating. I couldn’t fit anything else in. When had Christmas become so busy?

I had always loved Christmas and all that went with it but my emotions were stretched with stress and worry. I was…

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Holly, Ivy, and Intrigue: A Christmas Novella Set

Christian Author: A.M. Heath

189Christmas Murder Mix-Up

“I have to get rid of her now.”

After four months of a blissful marriage, Paige is devastated to overhear her husband, Cooper, say those words to his best friend. Because of a suspicious Christmas gift, a gas leak, and a home invasion, Paige’s love for Cooper is tested to the limit. Will their marriage survive the Christmas Murder Mix-up?

Holiday Pursuit

When Brianna Rockwell’s brother finds himself in danger and disappears three days before Christmas, she does everything to rescue him. Brianna dodges bullets, escapes fire, and even turns to her longtime crush for help. But the closer she gets to solving the mystery and finding her only sibling, the more desperate someone gets to silence her forever…

A Holiday Intruder

Kelsey Jordan prefers upcycling junk and refinishing antiques for her store in a Georgia mountains town to being the center of attention. When a…

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Empty Handed and Expectant; Full Pockets and an Empty Heart

Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud

Two stark contrasts placed back to back. One an example of complete, unhindered trust and the other of self-reliance.

Parents, do you remember what it was like when your kids were young? When they followed you around everywhere and valued whatever you said? And when life became frightening, they ran to you for comfort and affection.

Little ones don’t worry about where they’ll go tomorrow or whether they’ll have enough to eat or drink.  They simply proceed with their day, laughing, playing, perhaps throwing a fit on occasion, but for the most part, enjoying life.

They come with empty but open hands. And 2,000+ years ago, when they were brought to Jesus, He said, in essence, “Take notice. Watch these little ones and learn. This is the kind of faith that pleases Me.”

And then “He took the children in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them” (Mark 13:15-16), and then He…

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Powerful Warriors Series – A Warrior Abides – The Word Within A Warrior Part 2

Ta`Mara Hanscom

George Williams wrote about Deborah,

“There was one heart that did not tremble before Sisera and his nine hundred chariots of iron.”

George Williams Commentary, © 1994, Kregel.

Deborah was as solid as an oak when it came to her faith in God Almighty, so much so that she went ahead and left her comfortable gig as a social magistrate in order to accompany God’s deliverer to the staging area of an impending battle.

Paul wrote to Timothy, “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.2nd Timothy 1:7 esv

Deborah is filled with the word of God. She doesn’t appear to be afraid of anything. Filled with the power of the Lord God and her love for Israel, she goes with Barak.

11 Now Heber the Kenite, of the children of Hobab the father-in-law of Moses, had separated…

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A Warrior is Kind – The Story of a Righteous Bully – Part 3

Ta`Mara Hanscom

Sometimes we can be “righteous” in everything we say and do, but the motivations of our hearts are nothing less than prideful. Moses was right to defend his Hebrew brethren, but he took it too far when he murdered the Egyptian and stuffed his body in the sand. Zipporah was right to save her husband’s life, but she took it too far when she rubbed his nose in the error of his neglect.

Does being a bully edify others when we merely ‘show off’ our God-given knowledge? I doubt it. We can spout truly righteous things, but when our delivery is cruel and pointed, it falls on deaf ears.

How do we remedy this righteous bully that dwells within us?

If we “follow the way of love,” and as prescribed by Paul, we won’t make these mistakes so often. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy…

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Love God. Embrace Truth. Enjoy Life.

Living Our Days

When Ginger Harrington and her family moved from North Carolina to California, she wasn’t worried about packing or adjusting to a new home base. Rather, she was worried about surviving! Medical testing had revealed that she had Graves’ disease, a hyperthyroid autoimmune disease and suddenly, all the roller coaster symptoms of anxiety and a body stuck in high gear began to make sense. Packing a supply of her new little pills along with her three young children and all their belongings into a moving van, she and her husband did what military families always do–except that this time, Ginger’s moving mojo was drowned in a flood of adrenaline. Sleepless by night and depleted by day, she was forced to reach deeply into the truth she knew but could not feel:

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you…

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Fill Your Easter Basket with Books

Living Our Days

Holidays and reading go hand in hand, not only because books heighten our enjoyment of the celebration, but also because, through stories, we pass along the Truth and the significance of the holiday. This Easter, I hope you’ll take some time to read the account of resurrection found in Scripture first of all. Then, if you still have minutes to invest, here are half a dozen recommendations for your own Easter basket or for someone you love:

Recommended Reads for Easter

The Women of EasterWith her carefully constructed re-telling of the final weeks of Jesus’ life,  Liz Curtis Higgs honors the women who were part of that story in The Women of Easter: Encounter the Savior with Mary of Bethany, Mary of Nazareth, and Mary Magdalene. Rather than lifting her protagonists out of the story one by one with three distinct bios, she considers them in context as they interact…

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