Thursday, June 10, 2021

 What Defines You?

When someone asks who you are, what is the first thing that comes to mind? After you tell them your name, what do you tell them about yourself? What defines you? Is it your job, your successes, your talents, or your family? These can often result in pride -- something the Bible warns against.

When we define ourselves as anything other than a child of God, we can be moving on shaky ground. Being a child of God means having confidence because we are in Him and trust Him but also humility because we know we are nothing without Him. We know that his love is unconditional and not based on our merit.

We might have been guilty of much, but we have been forgiven much. Our frailty and failures don't define us, but they help us extend love and grace to others. We are a child of the King and precious in His sight, becoming a conduit to let his love, mercy, and grace flow through us into others.

Seeing myself as the Lord teaches comes from spending time delving into His Word, meditating on Him and His teachings, and spending time with Him in prayer. It is walking with Christ each moment throughout the day and feeling his precious presence. Is this what defines you? It can be.

For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26).

___________________________


Monday, June 7, 2021

 A Great Group Series Is Coming 

The Old-Timey Kitchen series is shaping up quite nicely. Each historical novel will feature a food somewhere in it and include the recipe at the end. Just looking at the book titles makes me hungry, and the names of the authors make me eager to read them all. 

There will be a book launch celebration on the afternoon of June 14 on the Sweet Americana Book Club Facebook page, and the lovely covers and more information will be revealed at that time. I'll also be posting more about this and the books on my author's Facebook page. Below you'll find a schedule of when the books will publish, and you'll want to get them all.

Book 1 – Jul 19 – Elissa Strati - Kris Kringle's Kuchen by Katrina 

Book 2 - Aug 2 - Kim Grist - Shoofly Pie by Selah

Book 3 – Aug 16 – Annee Jones - Charm Cake by Charity 

Book 4 – Aug 30 –Marisa Masterson - Lemon Pie by Lucinda

Book 5 – Sep 27 – Annee Jones - Pumpkin Pie by Patience 

Book 6 – Oct 11 - P. Creeden - Cranberry Cake by Cora

Book 7 – Oct 25 – Linda Carroll-Bradd - Ginger Cake by Glynna

Book 8 - Nov 8 - Kim Grist - Apple Pandowdy by Annie 

Book 9 – Nov 22 – Zina Abbott - Figgy Pudding by Francine 

Book 10 – Dec 6 – Janice Cole Hopkins - Walnut Cake by Wylene 

Book 11 – Dec 20 – Kandice E. Geddes - Cider Cake by Cecily  *

________________________________

 


Thursday, June 3, 2021

 Hiding Like Adam and Eve

And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden (Genesis 3:8).

You remember the story. After Adam and Eve did the one thing God told them not to do and ate the fruit from the Tree of Good and Evil, they hid from God. They likely knew that this wouldn't work, but when we're ashamed, we tend to hide. We've all done it either physically or figuratively at some time in our lives. We want to hide our faults, weaknesses, and insecurities.

For whatever reason, like Adam and Eve, many are hiding from God today. Some hide because they don't want to give their lives to Him. They don't want to trust anyone but themselves, and they say they're doing just fine on their own. They believe Satan's lies. Others hide because they don't feel worthy or don't want to deal with their problems. It's easier to hide or pretend everything's all right.

Even some Christians hide, although often not consciously. They shove down some negative feeling(s) and try to bury it beneath a show of service and faithfulness. It can be buried so deeply it's totally forgotten. But there's always that underlying dissatisfaction and discontent. They know they should have joy because they have Jesus, but it's just not there. When you hide from God, you can't experience a close relationship with Him, and He wants that relationship. We need that relationship. So, we need to quit hiding and run to God - take problems to Him. He will comfort and help adjust any rogue attitudes, thoughts, or beliefs. First and foremost, He wants your love and for you to know how much He unconditionally loves you. That's where all change should begin - recognizing the love, mercy, and grace He offers.

____________________________

Monday, May 31, 2021

Upcoming Books

Not only do I have my publishing schedule for the rest of this year, but I also have one for 2022. The first five books published February through September will comprise the Idioms & Cliches series: A Bird in the Hand, Going the Extra Mile, A Few Bumps in the Road, Got Your Goat, and Taking Stock. I have already written the rough drafts of the first four, and I'm working on Taking Stock now.

The last two books will be collaborative efforts where a group of authors teams together with each one writing one of the books in the series. Forget-Me-Not Cookies by Fern will be a continuation of the Old-Timey Kitchen series. I have already written, had edited, and received the cover from the designer for my contribution to the first round, Walnut Cake by Wylene to be published on December 6, 2021. The plan right now is to set Forget-Me-Not Cookies by Fern at Big Lick Academy, a part of the history near where I now live. It will be published on October 25, 2022. 

Runaway Bride, Candace is part of a different team series and will publish on December 12, 2022. In the book, Candace Joyner gets to her destination as a mail-order bride to find that intended owns a saloon with working girls upstairs. Fearing that he might eventually expect the same of her, she hides under the tarp of a mountain man's wagon when he leaves town with his winter supplies. She's watched Peter Mason, and he appears to be kind and most likely a Christian. She'd rather take her chances with him than the dictatorial, unscrupulous saloon owner. As with Walnut Cake by Wylene, I already had the idea for this book before I signed up to publish it in the Runaway Brides of the West series.

It feels good to know when I will publish what through 2022. Now, if I can just figure out 2023 because I have nothing definite planned so far.

________________________________


Thursday, May 27, 2021

 Peace

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).

Peace is a state beyond measure, but lasting peace is never brought about by circumstances. It is only found in Jesus. We know peace when we know Him well, when He becomes an integral part of us. Then, even in troubling circumstances, we can have peace because we have Him. He is the Prince of Peace (see Isaiah 4:6).

Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ (Galatians 1:3).

Paul knew how important peace was. He began almost every letter he wrote by mentioning it and often closed the letter with it as well. And with all the upheaval and tumultuous events in his life, his circumstances didn't lend themselves to peace. But he had peace because he had Jesus

For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace (Romans 8:6).

As long as we have our minds fixed on things of this world, we'll never be satisfied or find peace. It's only when we place God in the correct position in our lives -- top priority, far above everything else -- will we find true peace. Nothing will last or hold any meaning except those things of God, so why do we waste time on worldly pursuits? Let's find peace in our Lord.

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you... (John 14:27a).

_________________________________________

Monday, May 24, 2021

Exciting News

I had thought about teaming with other authors to form a series of historical novels several months ago. I even wrote a blog about the subject. (See "Writing in a Team" https://janicecolehopkins.blogspot.com/2021/01/writing-series-in-team-many-authors-are.html ).  I recently came across an opportunity to do just that, and I'm super excited about it.

Zina Abbott
Author, Zina Abbott, is heading the Old-Timey Holiday Kitchen series. Beginning in July of 2021, a book will be published every two weeks, making this a series of twelve. The books' lengths will vary, but most will be between 150 - 225 pages.  This should give readers time to read each one before the next one comes out.


My book,
 
Walnut Cake by Wylene, will publish on December the 6th as the eleventh book in the series. Each novel will feature a food and its cook's story with the recipe at the end. The covers, designed by Virginia McKevitt, are gorgeous. Each one features a headshot of the main character, the series's logo, and a small picture of the food. They will be revealed on June 14th. I'll be discussing more about the series as the books progress, and we're allowed to share more. Isn't this exciting? Be sure to look for these novels. The stories are certain to whet your appetite for more good reads, and you'll want to get them all.

_____________________________________________






Thursday, May 20, 2021

Into the Wilderness

Before we start an important mission or work for the Lord, we may be sent to a wilderness place for a while. It will be rough, uncomfortable, and often hard, but it will train us for what lies ahead, teach us the lessons we need to know, and/or give us the right attitude to move forward.

Elijah had such an experience beside the brook at Cherith where he had to depend on God for everything and saw that God was faithful to provide. The ravens brought him food and the brook provided him with water. He also had plenty of time to reflect, meditate, and pray. When the brook finally dried up from the severe drought, it was time to move on and put the things he had learned into action (1 Kings:17).

John the Baptist came from the wilderness of Judaea to began his preaching ministry. He wore clothing made of camel's hair held together by a leather girdle and ate locust and wild honey. People flocked from Jerusalem to hear this dynamic speaker, repent, and be baptized in the Jordan River (see Matthew 3).

Then, Jesus came on the scene. Even he'd had His wilderness experience where he'd fasted for forty days and forty nights in the wilderness before being tempted by the devil. After Satan gave up and left, angels ministered to Him, and He continued in doing His Father's will (see Matthew 4).


Paul, too, said he spent three years in the wilderness of Arabia after his conversion before going to Jerusalem to meet with the leaders of the new church and begin his missionary calling (see Galatians 1:17-18). So, when God calls you into a wilderness time in your life, don't fret. Learn your lessons, such as to totally depend on Him, well, and you'll be amazed at what the future holds.

____________________________