Seven Ways Your Life Can Be Like an Adventure Novel

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

When I was young, I loved to read anything I could get my hands on, but my favorite types of stories were adventures where an ordinary young person was thrust on a quest of epic proportions. These stories resonant with us for a reason. We all want to think our lives count for something, no matter how insignificant they may seem. We all want to live a life of purpose that is somehow bigger than anything we can see.

We may not realize it, but God has written an epic adventure for each of our lives. According to Jeremiah 29:11, He has plans and purposes for us to give us a hope and a future. If we cooperate with His plans, God will use each of us in ways we never dreamed. Here are seven ways your life is like an adventure novel.

You are not insignificant to God. No matter where you are, or how life has treated you, God knows your name, and He knows where you live. He put you there for a purpose to fulfill your destiny. The Bible, the greatest adventure story of them all, is filled with seemingly insignificant people who do great things for God. David, Gideon, and many of the disciples make that list. Hebrews 11, the heroes of the faith chapter, doesn’t even name some of the heroes it who it says the world was not worthy of.

Super Hero Boy Ready to FlyA Quest Has Obstacles. We’d all love to have more adventure in our lives provided we don’t have to go through any pain or face any obstacles, but every adventure story has insurmountable obstacles the hero must overcome. We have obstacles to face as well. Whenever we read adventure novels, we know the main characters will overcome those obstacles even though we can’t figure out how. When we face obstacles, we have a promise from God that He has overcome the world.

The hero is pure in heart. The hero in an adventure story will make mistakes, He’ll get discouraged. He’ll make wrong turns. But he won’t give up because he has a heart to do right and make a difference. To be the hero of God’s adventure, you also need a pure heart, a heart after God. God called King David a man after His own heart. David wasn’t perfect. He committed grievous sins. But he was also quick to repent because he wanted a pure heart.

A hero is loyal. Every quest has a hero who is loyal to both his friends and to the quest. He won’t give up on either. We need that kind of loyalty to God and to the quest He has sent us on if we are to fulfill what He’s called us to do. So many give up on God or on the adventure He’s called them to because things get hard.No matter how hard things get, remember that God is writing your story. Don’t give up.

A hero puts others above himself. In adventure novels, a hero is self-sacrificing. He pours out his life for others and is even willing to die for them. As Christians in God’s adventure story, we should also be willing to place others before ourselves.

Our happy ending isn’t here on Earth. Adventure novels always have happy endings. Even if the hero dies in the end, he always fulfills his quest. It doesn’t seem to work out that way in real life, but this isn’t all there is. Our quest isn’t over when we die. Our happy ending is in eternity when we will live forever in the presence of God.

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10 Reason I Don’t Feel Guilty for Being Joyful at Christmas

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

There is a trend among Christians to try to make people feel guilty for being joyful at Christmas time. Some even say that we shouldn’t celebrate Christmas, but I refuse to allow their naysaying to rob me of my joy. Here are 10 reason to feel joyful at Christmas without feeling the slightest bit of guilt for it.

10. We can be joyful even when things aren’t great. The Bible says we should count it all joy. In other words, even if we are going through a hard time because of a death in the family or because of hard times, we can still be joyful. The word count could probably be better translated command. We can command ourselves to be joyful. What if it’s is someone else who is going through a hard time? This is often an excuse for not being joyful at Christmas. After all, look at all the terrible things happening in people’s lives. I have a suggestion for you. Are you in the right frame of mind to help someone else when you are in a place of joy or a place of depression. I would suggest we are better equipped in a place of joy.

James 1:2-3 ESV “Count it all joy, my brothers,[b] when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.”

9. We owe it to those around us to be joyful. Have you ever been around somebody who suck the joy of living out of everyone around him. Joy is contagious, but so is depression. That means if you decide not to be joyful, you affect everyone around you, and if you decide you will be joyful, it will also affect your friends and family. Refuse to allow someone’s bad mood to affect you. Instead be the one who heals those who don’t have joy.

Proverbs 17:22 ESV “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

8. Joy makes us healthy. If it’s true that stress and depression cause us harm physically, it’s also true that a joyful heart with make you healthy. That is why Proverbs 17:22 calls a joyful heart good medicine. Medical professionals have proven laughter is beneficial to our overall health. You can read more about it at this link.

7. Joy will give you spiritual and emotional strength. We receive fullness of joy in the presence of God, and His joy will give us the strength we need to do all the things that stress us out during the day.

Psalm 16:11 ESV “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

6. Who Want to Be a Scrooge? I sure don’t, but some Christians act like that’s exactly what they want. They claim they can’t celebrate Christmas because it’s too commercial and most people don’t celebrate it with the right motives. Who told you you can’t be joyful because other people have the wrong motives? That’s silly. Think about some of the people in the past who wanted to kill other people’s joy at Christmas: Scrooge and the Grinch. Do you really want to be like them? You may say they are mythical characters, and that is true, but they represent those who are like them.

The first man who wanted to destroy the joy of Christmas tried to kill Christ. His name was Herod, and he was not a joyful person. Herod killed his wife, two of his sons, and his wife’s extended family because he thought they were trying to usurp his authority as king. Talk about an unhappy person. He tried to kill Christ and Christmas by ordering all the male children of Bethlehem two years and under to be slaughtered.

Matthew 2:16 ESV  “Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men.”

5. The angels were joyful at Chist’s birth. They sang and proclaimed how Christ’s birth brought great joy to the Earth. Truthfully, we don’t really know what day Christ was born, and there is controversy about how December 25th was chosen. I don’t care. I know Christ was born, and I don’t know when. So unless someone comes to me with a definitive answer about what day Christ was born, I’m going to celebrate His birth on December 25th with as much exuberance and joy as the angels did.

Luke 2:10-14 ESV And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,’Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!'”

4. The shepherds were filled with joy. Everyone was happy when Christ was born, even lowly shepherds. If they can be happy even with smelly sheep, I will be happy with the privileged awesome life God has given me.

Luke 2:20.ESV “And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.”


3. I’m happy because of presents.
They don’t have to be expensive presents. They can be homemade. The thing is I love to receive presents, and I love to give presents because it reminds me of the joy the Wise Men felt when they saw Jesus and gave Him gifts. They were so joyful they worshipped Him. Our praise and worship comes from the joy we feel about Christ who is God’s gift to us.
Matthew 2:10-11 ESV “When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.”

2. I’m filled with joy when I hear Christmas hymns. Have you ever listened to the words of those hymns. They are songs of worship, and everyone sings them at Christmas – even heathens. What a great time to worship the Lord with songs.

Isaiah 12:6 ESV Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.”

1. I am joyful because Christ is my salvation. If Christ had not been born, He would have not died for my sins, not would He have raised from the dead defeating sin and death on my behalf. I am beyond joyful because Christmas lead to Easter.
1 Peter 1:8-9 ESV Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

 

I Thought I Told you…

by Carole Browntumblr_mb6rdy6llW1rwyxwco1_5001…that I LOVE October.  So to spread a little cheer, I’ll share a few quotes and pictures that will have you smiling and thinking and maybe give you the urge to shuffle through some autumn leaves yourself. Enjoy!

October Loves:

  • Brick walkways and streets
  • Rain 
  • Lamp lights

 

 

 

 

 

 

“October is the fallen leaf, but it is also a wider horizon more clearly seen. It is the distant hills once more in sight, and the enduring constellations above them once again.” 

October Loves:

  • The clear starry nights
  • The transition between warm days and cold ones
  • The colorful trees that encourage us to look UP!

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”  Anne of Green Gables

October Loves:

  • The colors of Autumn
  • The harvest of Autumn
  • The sense of Autumn

 

“October is the month for painted leaves…. As fruits and leaves and the day itself acquire a bright tint just before they fall, so the year near its setting. October is its sunset sky; November the later twilight.” ~Henry David Thoreau, “Autumnal Tints”

October Loves:

  • Children at play
  • Snoopy loves Fall! 🙂
  • Bright cheeks

October is crisp days and cool nights, a time to curl up around the dancing flames and sink into a good book. ~John Sinor

October Loves:

  • Fresh Apple Cider
  • Pumpkins
  • Crisp Apples

Bittersweet October. The mellow, messy, leaf-kicking, perfect pause between the opposing miseries of summer and winter. ~Carol Bishop Hipps, “October,”

 

May you all have a blessed rest-of-the-October, and may your work be fruitful and abundant. 

 

You’re Saying it All Wrong!

by Carole Brownmonkey-474147__340

I ran across this list the other day and checked it out to see if I was guilty of any. What do you think? Are you guilty?

Have fun reading it!

  1. Nip it in the butt or Nip it in the bud?
  2. I could care less or I couldn’t care less?
  3. One in the same or One and the same?
  4. You’ve got another thing coming or You’ve got another think coming?
  5. Each one worse than the next or Each one worse than the last?
  6. On accident or By accident?
  7. Statue of limitations or Statute of limitations?
  8. For all intensive purposes or For all intents and purposes?
  9. He did good or He did well.
  10. Extract revenge or Exact revenge?
  11. Old timer’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease?
  12. I’m giving you lead way or I’m giving you leeway?
  13. Aks or Ask?
  14. What’s you guyses opinion or What’s your opinion, guys?
  15. Expresso or Espresso?
  16. Momento or Memento?
  17. Irregardless or Regardless?
  18. Sorta or Sort or?
  19. Conversating or Conversing?
  20. Scotch free and Scott free or Scot free?
  21. I made a complete 360 degree change in my life or I made a complete 180 degree change in my life?
  22. Curl up in the feeble position or Curl up in the fetal position?
  23. Phase or Faze?
  24. Hone in or Home in?
  25. emoji whatever freeBrother in laws or Brothers in law?

 

There you have it. Now, ‘fess up! Are you guilty of any of these?

 

Are You Ready for Autumn?

by Carole Brown

I LOVE Autumn. One of my favorite seasons, when the end of September is nearing, I began to get antsy w/anticipation of decorating for it! I thought I’d share a few photos that might give you a little inspiration for the season.

First, here are some ideas of WHAT can be used: 

The obvious and not-so obvious:

  • Gourds and pumpkins
  • Nuts, berries (like wild ones: bittersweet, etc.), leaves, acorns, 
  • Containers: jars (unique and old), cans (big and little), outdoor objects like wheelbarrels, bicycles, chairs, benches, window sills, porch steps, wooden stumps, picnic tables, discarded toys, etc.
  • Other stuff: hay bales, hay stacked into tall shapes, veggies, fruits, herbs, farm equipment, old wheels, trash cans

Now, the pictures:

barrel n gourds free

 

Love this old barrel topped with harvest gourds, pumpkins and vines. 

 

erika free

 

Totally adore these blues, purples and yellows! What an eye-catching decor. Already planning on using this idea!

 

 

drawing on wood free

 

 

If you’re good with art work, you might love this one. I can’t draw a straight line, so it’s out for me…but stencils and other sort of things might help create this or many different designs.

 

 

twig pic frame free

 

 

Love this too! Planning on using it this fall with my own “adaptations” to it! 🙂

 

 

thanksgiving outdoor decor free

 

So cute! I can’t stand the one-eyed thing (just me!) but you could decorate it to suit your fancy

 

 

What is your favorite you use? Want to include a picture? Would love to see it!

10 Steps to Declutter Your Home.

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Clutter is an epidemic in the US. Many of us have way to much stuff to enjoy what we have, but we worry about parting with some of it for sentimental reasons or because we spent a lot of money on it. How much money we wasted is in the past. If we want a peaceful environment, room to stay organized, and a place for everything so we don’t have to spend precious time looking for it, we need to get rid of our stuff. Trust me. It will feel so good when your done.

Start at the front door of your house. Many people are paralysis when they consider where to start. I’ll make it easy for you. Start at the front door. Are there any shoes there you don’t wear? Do you have too many coats? If you have more than three winter coats, you have too many.

Go in a clockwise circle around the room and organize. Next circle the room. As you get to each place in your room, decide what you need to keep and what needs to go. Then go to the next room.

Keep four boxes and trashcan with you.

The first box is labeled “Put Away”. This is for stuff that you need to put away or find a place for. Resist the temptation to put it away now. You might have a lot more room when you’re done.

The second box is labeled “Give Away” or “Sell”. These are items that have some value but you don’t need. It’s difficult to part with something you spent money on, but if you give it to the poor or sell it, you’ll feel better about freeing up that space. After you’re done decluttering, sell this stuff on e-bay or at a garage sale and make some money, or take it to the Salvation Army or AmVets. There also might be some items family members would cherish. Consider giving some of your stuff to them.

The third box is for storage. These are items you need, but you don’t need them all the time. Christmas and Fall decorations would fall in this category. Label each storage box with what is in that box for easy reference later.

The fourth box is for keepsakes and memorials that mean a great deal to you. This box is not for the pencil your nine year old took to school his first day of Kindergarten. These keepsakes should be important and irreplaceable. Things like your wedding certificate and your children’s first teeth might go here. After you’re finished organizing, you can go back to this box and decide how to display some of these items. If you don’t have room to display them, it might be better to get rid of them. Keeping a keepsake packed away in the garage for years doesn’t help you feel any fond memories about it.

The trashcan is for everything else. Be merciless about this. You don’t need 20 pieces of string just in case. You don’t need a cleaning product you never used but bought because it looked good on QVC. You don’t need a 20 gallon drum of Spic and Span. Get rid of it and free up your space and your life. You might also want to have a recycle bag for items you can take to the recycle plant later. See, you are helping the environment by decluttering.

Evaluate your stuff. Have you used it in the last year? Do you intend to use it within a month? Does it have great sentimental value? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you can keep it. Otherwise get rid of it. You will be amazed at how much stress you can get rid of by getting rid of your stuff.

Repeat in every room.

Go through the keepsakes again. After you’re finished organizing, you can go back to this box and decide how to display some of these items. Keeping a keepsake packed away in the garage for years doesn’t help you feel any fond memories about it. One idea is to start a scrapbook or memory box for each of your children. If you have too many keepsakes to fill one memory box for each child or to display your treasures, go through them again, and try to cut them down by half.

Organize Puzzle Shows Arranging Or OrganizingFind a place for all your put away items. At this point, you may have to get rid of some of them. You don’t need 53 pens and 7 pairs of scissors. The first time I went through this process, I found out I had seven 99 cent turkey basters. My husband convinced me to keep two so I had a back-up, but nobody needs seven turkey basters. Get rid of excess items.

Find a place for your storage boxes. They should be easily accessible but not take up prime space in your home. A storage closet, shelves in the garage, the attic, or the basement work well for storage boxes.

Find a place for your garage sale or e-bay items and label the boxes with the date. If you don’t sell them within a year, take them to the Salvation Army. You never will get to selling them if your haven’t within a year. Do not open the boxes to look through them at this point. You’ve gone without them for this long. It’s time to let go.

Repeat decluttering process at least once a year. Enjoy the peace that comes from a decluttered house.

God’s Wonderful World, Scenes and Imagination

by Carole Brown

And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. –the Bible

As an author, I marvel at the sights of this beautiful planet. My imagination soars with the heights and floats with the breeze and waves. I imagine my established characters, and sometimes new ones, in these scenes.

Pictures and scenes are one of the greatest ways to foster ideas. I take LOTS of pictures in our travels. Some of them have made it into videos of my books. Others serve to keep my mind agile and brisk with ideas. 

Tell me, what kind of story ideas do these pictures give you?

20170902_151627[1]

Do you see a young couple hiking in the northwest? What troubles do they stumble into? A dead body? A raging fire? Kidnapping? Finding themselves with new purpose? Do you imagine a family camping here and encountering wild creatures? Fishing? Hunting? Or can you see something entirely different?

For this one: I imagine one that I’ve begun and have yet to finish: 

Set in Mexico, in a missionary setting, a young girl meets two very different impressive men, but which one is the right one–for her? Then, she must also figure out which one is the drug lord… Can she do both–and survive?

 

20170808_170718

What do you imagine here happening?

An Amish story? an 1800s novel? A wagon train passing through? Or perhaps a country farm setting with a wife who dabbles in mystery problems in the nearby town?

To me, I can see another story,  I’ve begun and hope to finish soon, set during the late 1800s, Destiny and Michael riding their horses through one of the fields he owns, arguing, both strong people who must decipher whose father was the gold thief and find love in the midst of their suspicions.

 

Forest for Cara2

In this one, what does this scene depict in your mind?

A scary situation? Mystery? A lost child? Can you feel the terror? Do crazy thoughts of someone jumping out at you lurk in your imagination? Can you see children in an adventure book strolling this path?

To me, I can see in my Alex and Denton Davies series, the two of them walking this semi-dark woodland pathway, searching for clues or chasing after a suspect.

 

entry way free

And one last one to stir your creative juices…

Does this bring to mind a warm, cozy feeling? Can you see an abominable snowmen lurking close by? Or can you see a couple meeting on the ski slopes? A family adventure? A lonely older person meeting his soul mate? 

I see a mountain lodge where a female detective looks for a psycho suspect and runs smack dab into a love she hadn’t planned on. But can she find the bad person…and keep the love?

 

 

Can you see how we can use pictures and images to further our writing, to increase our creative juices, to spur us to keep writing, and to give us the encouragement we need when we’re stumped?

Take advantage of everything and all things that keep you writing.

Tell me, what do YOU see in these pictures? What do you use to sit down at your writing desk and add a few more pages to your document?