Guest Author June Foster Talks About 9 Things to Do when You’re Bored

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

June Foster’s is our guest author today.

I’m Bored by June Foster

I’m bored.

The message on the teenager’s shirt at Walmart glared at me. Why did it seem so offensive? I had to think a while then it dawned on me.

Life is a gift. When we’re young, we don’t realize how fleeting it really is. The Bible says we are like grass. We flourish like a flower of the field. Then the wind blows over it, and it is gone. Young or old. We don’t know when our last day will be. We don’t have time to be bored!

Boredom is telling God we don’t appreciate the day He made. He gave us today to enjoy. It’s a glorious opportunity, filled with chances to live for Him and do wondrous things.

Okay, then. Like what?

Maybe you live a mundane life with very little happening. Or you’re so consumed with “doing and going” that you don’t have time to think about or serve God. Maybe you believe you are only one person and can’t make a difference. Or your life is so routine, and nothing ever happens. Or your sphere of influence is limited. Or you don’t have any friends. Or you live in a small town with little opportunity. I could go on.

Don’t believe it. Instead of sitting around being bored, ask God how you can serve, how you can impact your community—rural or metropolitan, ghetto or suburban. You might be surprised what He’ll drop into your life.

Here are some suggestions.

  1. Become the best cookie maker you can and take the sweets to a women’s shelter or orphanage.
  2. Memorize twenty verses from the Bible and say each daily. Look for ways to incorporate those verses in your life.
  3. If a teen, do one thing every day to help your mother or father.
  4. Buy a pack of greeting cards from the dollar store and send out one a day to people who need encouragement.
  5. Go jogging in your neighborhood and pray for people you see or meet along the way.
  6. Form a literary group. Read and discuss a classic such as Pilgrim’s Progress.
  7. God has an infinite number of projects for you. Do something for the glory of His Kingdom instead of sitting around being bored.
  8. Oh yeah, one more thing. Turn off the TV.
  9. You don’t have time to be bored.

Misty Hallow

When two people are cultures apart, only God can bridge the gap.

Molly Cambridge arrives in the tiny Appalachian town of Misty Hollow intent upon bringing literacy to the area’s uneducated women, only to be met by opposition at every turn by the headstrong, unbending mayor. When she asks for use of Town Hall, he refuses her offer to teach without pay and turns her down flat saying he only allows village business conducted there.

Joel Greenfield, son is a poor dirt farmer, is illiterate. When he admits to his passion to turn the family farm into a dairy business, the obstacles are insurmountable. He couldn’t even read the manual on how to use farming machinery, much less generate the necessary capital. His father’s objections further frustrate his desires.

When Joel offers Molly use of the old barn on the Greenfield property, they discover an irresistible attraction for each other. But the mayor has plans of his own to break them up, send Molly back to Nashville, and seize the Greenfield farm for himself. Can Molly and Joel overcome the hurdles to fulfilling their dreams and find their way to each other? Only God has the answers.

An award-winning author, June Foster is a retired teacher with a BA in education and MA in counseling. June’s book Give Us This Day was a finalist in EPIC’s eBook awards and a finalist in the National Readers Choice Awards for best first book. Ryan’s Father was one of three finalists in the published contemporary fiction category of the Oregon Christian Writers Cascade Writing Contest and Awards. Deliver Us was a finalist in COTT’s Laurel Awards. June has written four novels for Desert Breeze Publishing. The Bellewood Series, Give Us This Day, As We Forgive, and Deliver Us, and Hometown Fourth of July. Ryan’s Father is published by WhiteFire Publishing. Red and the Wolf, a modern day retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, is available from Amazon.com. The Almond Tree series, For All Eternity, Echoes From the Past, What God Knew, and Almond Street Mission are available at Amazon.com. June enjoys writing stories about characters who overcome the circumstances in their lives by the power of God and His Word. Recently June has seen publication of Christmas at Raccoon Creek, Lavender Fields Inn, Misty Hollow, and Restoration of the Heart. Visit June at junefoster.com.

 

10 Ways to Spring Clean and Still Keep your Sanity

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Spring is almost here. If you’re anything like me, you’d rather enjoy the nice weather than be cooped up in the house doing heavy cleaning. But it’s something that needs to be done. Here’s some of the things I’ve tried to keep it from devouring my life and my time outdoors.

1. Make a plan. Spring cleaning goes better if you make a plan of attack. Write out a list of what you need to do and the order you’ll do it in. This link will take you to a site to help you make a plan for cleaning and organizing your home.

2. Start at the front door. The easiest way to Spring clean is to start at the front door where company sees and move from room to room until you’re finished.

3. Have three bins or boxes marked Put Away, Give Away, Store, and a trash can for throwing things away. It will be much easier than having to stop to put things where they belong.

4. Avoid distractions. Let family and friends know this is the time you’ll be Spring cleaning. Turn off your phone, and don’t answer the door. And don’t turn on the television or check FaceBook or you’ll whittle away the whole day.

5. Turn on some loud music. It’s much easier for me to clean when I’m jamming to my favorite music.

6. Get family to help. After all, they live there too. Decide on a week for your family to help you. Then give them each a list to complete in that week.

7. Have a yard sale. You’ll feel like you’ve accomplished something if you have a yard sale at the end of your project. It will empty the house of clutter and fill your pockets with spending money.

8. Make plans for meals. Use your crockpot or order pizza. You won’t feel like cooking after a day of cleaning.

9. Spread it out. There’s no law you have to do all your cleaning in the Spring. Decide on a room to clean every month. Or download the My Home Routines app or use the app online at this link.

10. Hire help. I’m serious. It costs an average of $25-$50 an hour for a housecleaner to come in and do your heavy cleaning. For $200, you could get everything done but the organizing and be free to enjoy your life. If you can afford it, isn’t it worth cutting your budget somewhere else and spending the $200?

Now that you’re done inside, enjoy the beautiful weather.

 

 

So They Hate Your Book?

by Carole BrownDislike hate deny free

I remember the first “three star, bad” review I received. Devastation. Hurt. Disappointment. Bewilderment. Anger. 

How could they? 

Yet, someone had and did “hate” my book. I wanted to cry, to have my friends and fellow-authors sympathize with me, to share it with everyone how someone could hate my beloved, debut book. 

The advice I got from my friends? 

  • We all get those.
  • Three stars isn’t that bad
  • Get over it.

And, yes, they loved me. But I needed to grow up as an author. So, my advice to you today is, when you get a poor review:

Take a Step Back

  • Give yourself time to relax and distance yourself from your book and a bad review
  • If you can, work on a different manuscript, or at least, re-read your own book with fresh eyes.
  • Only then re-read the review

Evaluate

  • Once you’ve re-read the negative review, can you glean anything worthwhile from it?
  • Are there fixable errors, weak spots and/or possible things you neglected to include?
  • Can you see that the reviewer is honestly trying to give advice (even if a bit harshly or insensitively hurtful)?
  • If it’s obviously a “troll” review, forget about it and ignore.

Understanddislike child free

  • That some reviewers don’t know the proper way to review
  • That some reviewers consider “three stars” as a high rating. I received one “three star” rating, which had me raising my brows, but the review was filled with praise for the book. I learned that the three stars meant it rated highly with the reviewer. 
  • Just because the reader bought/received the wrong genre, that doesn’t make it a “bad” book, and reviewing it harshly for that reason is not the proper way to review. Personal preferences and wrong genres are not good reasons for poor reviews. Writing issues, weak research, and a lack of proper editing are.
  • That most, if not all, authors receive poor reviews. There are many reasons for them. Study, if you wish, the reason for yours and act accordingly. Meaning, ignore it and toughen up. If a person is planning to stay in the writing business, you’ll probably get more–many more–of those. Either quit reading them or put on your tough armor and get through it–unscathed! 

Move on

  • Too many negative reviews raise a concern: Did I write a “bad” book? It never hurts to re-evaluate your book. As stated above, make sure the edits are crystal-fine, that your research is impeccably correct, plot lines in order, etc. Never underminReviewer feedback writing freee your work with sloppy writing. 
  • Learn that when asking for an honest review, be sure the people you request from are interested in your mystery/suspense (romance, sci-fi, etc). If reviewers love your genre, you’re more apt to get favorable reviews.
  • When you find those individuals, ask for honest feedback. When you send arc copies, ask for a timeline and where and when the reader will be able to post reviews. 
  • Look ahead to your next manuscript. Plot, edit and write. Keep learning as you go. Stay humble and willing to accept suggestions from readers. Find the best critique partners you can; ones that will do you the favor of being gentle, but honest, who loves your work, and is able to see the “holes” you might overlook. When you find that person(s), be sure to show thankfulness. They’re hard to come by!

Remember

  • Move past any useless negativity and use the constructive criticism to improve.
  • Never respond to negative reviews.
  • Never quit writing.

Have you ever received poor reviews? How did you respond? Were you able to move past the disappointment? 

Happy Writing!

10 Life Hacks for When You are Overwhelmed

Hand Writing HELP on Whiteboardby Tamera Lynn Kraft

No matter how well organized we are or how well we plan, life sometimes throws us a curve ball. An illness, family emergency, or a million other things can steer us off course, and there is nothing we can do in those times but hold on tight and ride the wave through it. Here are ten life hacks to help you when those things happen.

lists-freeMake a list of things to do. Even when you don’t have time to do your to do list, it helps to write everything down. Then go through the list and cross off everything that doesn’t have to be done. Write an L for later beside everything on the list that has to be done but can wait until your past your emergency mode. For the rest, decide what you can delegate to others.

Hire help. Sometimes it is worth spending a little money to free up your time during emergencies. There are lots of companies that are willing to mow your lawn, run your errands, do your shopping, and clean your house. You can even take your laundry to the laundry mat and have them wash, dry, and fold your laundry. You may consider these services luxuries you can’t afford, but remember this is a temporary fix to get you through a tough time.

Say no. You are in emergency mode. You don’t have time to take on any new projects no matter how worthy they are.

24-1013tm-cart-professionalsGet your family on board. Explain to your husband and kids what’s going on. If you have close friends, get them involved too.Tell them you may not be there for them like you usually are and ask for their help. Also ask them to pray for you.

Give yourself permission to not be perfect. When you are in emergency mode, let your motto be “good enough is good enough.” Perfection is for people who have more time.

Use essential oils in a diffuser. This really works. I recommend Young Living Joy or Peace and Calming.

Have a cup of tea. While coffee might energize you temporarily, it will also make you nervous and on edge. Tea calms the nerves and makes everything better.

Exercise: Common sense says you don’t have time to go to the gym, but exercise helps stress levels come down and will keep your on task.

raising-handsWorship: Crank up the worship music and play it while you are doing what you need to do. Also take some time out to worship God. God will redeem the time you spend in His presence.

Ask God for peace and joy. God can give you peace and joy in the most difficult times. Peace and joy are not based on your circumstances but on God’s mercy and grace.

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Don’t Set Those Goals…

by Carole Brown

Whalists-freet, you say? And you have a right to ask. I wanted to grab your attention, so hence the partial statement. Here’s the sentence in its entirety:

Don’t set those goals TOO high!

Again, you might very well ask, why on earth not, especially coming from you who always advocates goals and lists?

Okay, I agree with that, but I want to throw out there some caution. Here are some reasons why I encourage you to be careful when setting your goals or making those lists:

  • When I make lists/goals I try not to make them unattainable FOR ME. I don’t include on my lists: “Paint room, wash windows, clean bathrooms, write 5000 words–today! Nope, I KNOW I can’t/won’t do all that. For one thing, I’m not much of a painter. Another thing, I hate washing windows, although I do get to it a few times a year–under pressure. I’m a slow writer, so 5000 words is pushing it for me. 

Now I mighcan-do-freet make a list like this: Clean bathrooms, write 1000 words, do one blog post, prepare supper, pay bills. 

 I know me. I know my limitations. I know I hate taking down the Christmas tree, so hubby begins right after Christmas encouraging me to work on it. I know I really don’t mind too much cleaning the bathrooms, so that’s a feasible goal. And if I attain more than a thousand words, than I’m flying high today!

So set reasonable goals.

 

  • Add some fun items along with the dreaded ones to make your list more appealing to your emotions and senses. Intermingle them. Try doing one hated chore right after or before a pleasant one. Reward yourself with a small piece of chocolate or some other read-on-vacationfavor when an unpleasant one is finished. Don’t overwhelm yourself with too many unpleasant tasks.

It’s far better to finish five dreaded items a week, than end the week feeling depressed because none of the twenty got done.

 

So, Intermingle on your tasks lists with both pleasant and unpleasant tasks.

 

  • God’s Word encourages us to do our REASONABLE SERVICE–not outlandish tasksbible-free that are out of our reach. But he also wants us to be good stewards, faithful in our work, disciplined. So I would encourage you to find and use as your motto a scripture verse/passage that you can refer to as your guide to making your lists a habit, an influence in seeing the need to be profitable in our daily chores and chosen paths, and a blessing to you as you diligently do your work every day. 

No, we might not accomplish everything, every day. We’re human. Faulty. And life happens. Don’t let failures discourage you, but count them as lessons. Push ahead.

So, find a scripture that keeps you motivated.

 

RECAPPbaseball2-freeING:

  1. Set reasonable goals.
  2. Intermingle good and bad tasks together
  3. Find a scripture for encouragement.


I believe if you follow these three simple steps, you’ll find a greater satisfaction each week. Remember, reward yourself. Stay true to yourself and God. Allow time for fun. You’ll be batting a high score.                     I believe it!

Happy goal-setting!

Tips to Show Your Love

by Carole Brown

february-valentines-free

February 14th is almost here, and, for most of us, the thoughts of candy, cards, flowers and other romantic items–and the ones we love–fill our hearts with warmth. Here are a few thoughts I had on some newer ways to share our love:homeless-free

 

To the Homeless:

  • Drop off a hat, scarf, coat, socks, etc., to a homeless person
  • Drop off a restaurant gift card or a home cooked meal.
  • Take five minutes to talk with one of them.

 

 

To a Child in Your Life:child-blowing-bubbles-free

  • Play with them. Pretend. Enter their imaginary world. 
  • Go on a date lunch with one. Or two. Allow them to pick the eating establishment.
  • Do something really crazy and fun that you’ve never done or it’s been a long, long time. It will be worth it all to see their faces light up!
  • Introduce them (if they don’t already know) to some intellectual amusement/learning. Art shop. Biblical place like Noah’s Ark in Cincinnati, Ohio, A decent dinner/show event, a decent concert, a wildlife hike, some cave exploring, etc. Or simple things like building with blocks, blowing bubbles, splashing through a rain puddle, building snowmen or angels, reading a book, etc. 

 

husband-n-wife2-free

To the Love of Your Life:

  • If you’re a man, prepare a meal with candles, low lights, scents and the music you love in the background. If you can’t cook, hire it done/ask a favor of a good cook. If you prefer, plan the kind of casual dinner event she would prefer. 
  • Go for a short vacation. Choose a cabin, hotel, camper, tent kind of place you both enjoy. Then make it special for your other half. Find a rock that means something special. Order a dessert he/she loves. Sit under the stars wrapped in blankets and study the stars. Talk. Relax. 
  • Give her the treat of a manicure, pedicure, or massage. If that’s out-of-your-budget, then give her/him a massage yourself. Make sure you have special oils to use and light music, low lights (or sunlight) of her/his preference.
  • Buy her a little gifts that she loves: Books, scarves, accessories, hair items, socks (fun and serious), favorite snacks, etc. 

 

To the God of Your Life:praise-n-sing-free

  • Prepare to attend your worship services with nothing in your mind but praising, serving and worshiping your God. How? Don’t plan lengthy activities for Saturday evenings. Get enough sleep the night before. Eat lightly before leaving for church. If there’s time, read a passage of scripture that can put you in the correct mood for church.
  • Give! Financially if you’re able (tithes and gifts are expected, thus saith the Bible). Volunteer for church functions. If you have a musical voice, sing solo or in a choir, or join a band. Share whatever talents you have with your church and church friends. Baking, decorating, calling on phones and in person, all these and more make a difference and take loads off others. 
  • Study the word. Make a sacrifice. Fast. Do something that is hard for you to do. Ask God to search your heart. Lean on him. Draw closer. Pray a little extra. Do a kindness when others are being ugly. Compliment. Smile. Stay true when others are disloyal or acting shamefully. Pray for the sinner, the disobedient, those straying. Do your part by being faithful. 

Love, Love, Love.  

The Bible says in Corinthians, “The greatest of these is charity.” 

 

Have a lovely month!

 

 

Five More Important Ways to Stay Healthy during Winter

by Carole Brown

I’m not a professional dietitian, doctor or whatever in diagnosing what ails you, but here are some thoughts and/or suggestions to check out. Be sure to talk with a professional/doctor before using any of these vitamin/herbals.

active

Keep active. It’s essential to support our health and well being. Moving your exercise indoors during winter will help to keep you warm as well as fit and healthy. Be sure to spend time warming up before you start your exercise as it can take a little longer for your joints to loosen up in the cold weather.

 

beauty-skin-free

Skin health. The cold weather can affect our skin and contribute to conditions such as dry, itchy skin, chill blains and eczema. Reduced humidity, drinking less water than you would during summer or possibly due to reduced circulation which may decrease the flow of blood and nutrients to the skin are some reasons.

  • Use moisturizers daily to help keep the skin moist and supple. 
  • Supplements containing vitamin E or garlic help assist blood circulation.
  • Psoriasis or eczema? Try taking fish oils which provides omega-3.
  • Sunscreen. Sunburn can happen even when the weather is cold!

 

cold-free

Keeping bugs at bay. Although we can do a lot to support our health and immunity during winter it is not always possible to avoid catching a cold or flu. The viruses that cause colds are spread by sneezing, coughing and hand contact.

  • Wash or sanitize your hands regularly.
  • Avoid close contact with someone who has a cold.
  • Keep household surfaces clean as well as kids’ toys when someone in the family has a cold.
  • If you are ill, be sure to drink plenty of fluids, including water, hot tea and soup.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine and get plenty of sleep.
  • Supplements such as vitamin C, zinc and echinacea may help relieve the symptoms and reduce the duration of a cold.

 

stress-free

Stress and healthy mood. 

  • Stress is a part of everyday life.
  • Some stress helps us to meet challenging situations, but excessive amounts of stress can have negative effects.
  • Stress can lower the resistance to nasty bugs (it depresses the immune system).
  • Stress increases your need for dietary magnesium which is important for muscle and nerve function.
  • Many of the B vitamins e.g. B1, B5, B6 and B12 are also needed for a healthy nervous system.
  • The herb St John’s Wort may help to relieve nervousness, irritability and help support emotional balance. It may also be beneficial to help promote healthy mood balance. But make sure to talk with your doctor or healthcare practitioner before starting a supplement like this.

 

circulation-free

Circulation. During winter hands and feet often are cold. Since they are extreme parts of our bodies (the most further from our heart which pumps the blood that keeps us warm) . Vitamin E and the herb Ginkgo help to support peripheral blood circulation, thereby alleviating cold hands and feet. MOVE with gentle exercise: helps improve circulation. Wear socks and gloves!

Stay healthy. Stay positive. Most of all, enjoy winter–whatever works for you!