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"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house." Matthew 5:14-15

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it." Matthew 13:45-46

Monday, October 12, 2015

Smell of Death or Life?

To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume.
2 Corinthians 2:16 (NLT)

I love to smell bath towels. Let me clarify. I love the way clothes smell after they've been washed and hang on the line to dry. They have a wonderful scent that only comes from being hung outdoors.

One time, many years ago I had the clothes on the line to dry. Only in this instance they smelled awful once they were brought inside. In fact they were so bad I had to rewash them and dry them in the dryer.

What made the difference? A local farmer decided to spread manure on his fields and the blowing 'scent' clung to the clothes.

It makes me wonder what kind of 'scent' or 'smell' do I have when I'm around others? Is it evident I've been with the Lord and have a 'life-giving perfume'? Or when I choose to linger in bitterness and disappointments do I bring along the 'dreadful smell of death and doom'?

My prayer is to have the 'life-giving perfume'. I don't want the stink of manure lingering on me. How about you. Are you enveloped in stench or perfume? What do you need to do to be more sweet-smelling?

Each day and moment is new. It's never too late to make a change in your life to be more like your Savior. 

Friday, October 9, 2015

Where Does Your Help Come From?

I lift my eyes toward the mountains.
Where will my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:1-2 (HCSB)

Every morning I walk I think of these verses. I live in the valley, between two mountain ranges. Most days I can see the mountains clearly. Even when clouds shroud the landscape, I know the mountains are there.

I take rest in knowing my help comes from God. The other morning as I walked, I was weighted down by discouragement, disappointment and hurts from the day before. While I prayed and walked the Lord showed me I don't have to live in the past, but each day I can look to Him for help and peace. Only when I focus on Him is my heart changed.

I love my times with the Lord each morning. It's only in Him I find true rest and help. Seek Him out today. He's waiting for you.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Love of Story Welcomes Laura Hilton

Today we have the pleasure of taking a peek into the life of author, Laura Hilton.

Welcome, Laura, How did you develop a 'love of story'?

I’ve always had a love of story. At first it was with the written word, I cut my teeth on my grandma’s collection of Grace Livingstone Hill books. They’re still on the bookshelves in my home, though I haven’t read them in years. I started trying to write my own stories when I was nine.

I also read Grace Livingstone Hill books when I was younger. Can you tell us a little bit more about how you got started in writing?

Like I said, I was nine. My teacher assigned us a short story assignment. My short story wasn’t so short. And I played with it ever since. I remember my aunt stumbling across a list I made when I was a child of possible titles. She thought they were real books and asked my mom for a copy of them so she could buy them for me. Mom told her they were my story ideas. I’m not sure what my aunt thought about it, but most people thought writing was an impossible dream… but get a real job. 

It appears we have a lot of similarities. :) How do you get your story ideas?

God, mostly. Anywhere. Everywhere.  The farmer’s market here in town sparked this one. The Amish in our area set up as vendors and they do really well. Everyone wants their baked goods, jams, jellies,  honey, vegetables, and more. I thought it’d be fun to set a story around a farmer’s market.  

The Amish also live in my area of the country and have farmer's markets. Did you always want to be a writer?

 As long as I can remember. Yes. It’s a dream come true. 

I can relate. I've always wanted to be a writer. Tell us about your new novel. 

The Birdhouse … Twenty–year–old Greta Miller's daed has been injured in a farming accident during the summer. The supportive Amish community tries to help out, but Greta and her sister must work outside the home to make ends meet, and so Greta rents a booth at the farmers' market. Because Greta is still in her rumspringa and free to explore the world, her family selects her to sell her homemade jams, jellies, and preserves to Englischers. Josh Yoder wants to court Greta, but years ago, he made the mistake of rejecting her during a seemingly innocent game; which resulted in him leaving the Amish. Three years later, he's back, but Greta wants nothing to do with him. Josh struggles to fit in and rebuild relationships he destroyed. Knowing Greta's family needs help, he steps in, hoping to win her back. When Greta admires one of his birdhouses, he gives it to her, hoping that it will open the door to more. But as their friendship begins to grow, a series of unfortunate events pull Greta away from the Amish, leaving her rejected by those she loves. Will Greta get beyond her family's distrust and return home? Will she prove her innocence? Or will she remain outside her Amish community? 

That sounds like an interesting story idea. What spiritual truths do you desire to convey to your readers?

God has in mind the spiritual truths He wants me to share and the readers to understand. In this particular book, the message I got was God knows. He knows, He cares, and He will provide. But that may not be the message the reader gets. Because I could mention at least a half dozen more spiritual truths in The Birdhouse.

If you are like me, God teaches you spiritual truths as you write too. :) Could you share with us how you became a Christian?

I was eight years old and it was communion Sunday. I was allowed to take communion with the adults, but for the first time that year I understood what it meant. And I skipped it. After the service, during the invitation I went forward and the pastor helped me understand what I was doing. I never regretted it since. 

What a sweet story. Here's another writing related question. Are you involved in a critique group?

Absolutely. They catch all my grammar and punctuation errors and my really good critique partners ask questions that help me take the story deeper where it needs it.

I know what you mean. I've recently gotten involved with Word Weavers and they have been helpful.
What advice can you give to writers trying to break into the publishing world?

Dare to dream. Keep reading, keep studying the craft, keep learning, and don’t give up. If God’s given you a passion for it, He’s given you permission for it. 

Thank you. That speaks to my heart. One final question. Where can readers find you?

twitter: @Laura_V_Hilton

Purchase my books:

Thank you for joining us today, Laura. Be sure to tune in next Wednesday for an interview with Tanya Eavenson. You have two chances to win today. Laura has graciously offered to give a copy of her book to one lucky commenter. :) Any comments left this month will also have the opportunity to win this novel. Have a blessed day.