Anyone who knows me knows how much I love gemstones. I wear gemstones on my ears and on my fingers and…I have a box filled with them. They’re tiny but they’re all sparkling and beautiful.
Did you know that Idaho is called “the gem state”? The little town where I live is located in “Treasure Valley.” Need more reason why I love Idaho?
If you’ve been following me here at CarolPetersonAuthor.com for a few years, you’ll remember that back in 2013 I wrote a series of blog posts about the birthstone for each month and why each stone reminds me of Jesus. Back then, I was living in California.
Here’s what I wrote in January 2013 about the January birthstone garnet—specifically the star garnet.
In gemstone symbolism, the garnet signifies eternal friendship and trust. Such as is found in Jesus, our eternal friend in whom we can place our trust.
Just as there are star sapphires, there are also star garnets. The “stars” are produced by a sphere of tiny rod composed of titanium dioxide. Those rods reflect light back out of the garnet and appear to our eye as a 4 or 6-rayed star that moves across the face of the gemstones. Star garnets are only found in India and Idaho.
Star? With our celebration of Christmas still fresh in our hearts, it would be nice to have a star garnet to always light the way to Jesus.
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Did you notice? One of only two places on the earth where star garnets are found—Idaho. And now we know that Idaho, as well as garnets, can remind us of Jesus.
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You can read the original post, Garnets for Jesus in its entirety here.
As an aside, I’ve begun compiling those posts about birthstones, along with my posts about the flower of the month. I’ve decided those posts—organized and radically revised and fleshed out—were intended to be a little inspirational gift book all along. Who knew? Evidently Jesus did, since He reminded me.
I love that our names have specific meanings. I also love praying that we would live the meaning of those names. Here are two more names to pray. Do you know someone named Carmen or Ed?
CARMEN: garden of God (Hebrew) and song (Spanish)
Dear Jesus, we pray that Carmen will live the meaning of her name. We pray that she will be like Eve, who spent time walking in the garden with you. We pray that her walk with you would be filled with praise and singing because of her love for you and your love for her. Amen.
EDWARD: guardian of riches
Dear Jesus, we pray that Edward would live the meaning of his name. We pray that he would recognize that a strong faith in you is the most valuable thing in this life and the next. We pray that he would guard that faith daily, growing it richer and stronger throughout his life and sharing those riches with others. Amen.
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I want to run toward Jesus like a child, wearing my prettiest dress, stopping to pick a bouquet of field flowers for Him…and to twirl, unable to contain the joy I have in my heart because He loves me.
Praying we all have that love for Him every moment of every day.
I am officially checking off one of my 2016 writing goals: release my fifth Bible study I am Elizabeth and re-release the entire With Faith Like Hers series with new format and covers (see the new covers in the right-hand column here).
Elizabeth was John the Baptist’s mother. God used her to help her son prepare the way for the Lord, even though she was old and gray. I especially appreciated her lesson that we’re never too old (or young) to e used by God.
This 28-day individual study (or 6-week group study) holds many lessons we can learn from Elizabeth. Here’s the first, introductory meditation, just for fun.
Day 1—Becoming Elizabeth
My dad’s name was Robert. Folks could call him Robert, Bob, Rob, Bobby or Robby. My Mom is Pauline. She can be Pauline, Paula or Polly. But Carol? Not much I could do with the name.
One of my very favorite names is Elizabeth because of that reason. If a woman were named Elizabeth, folks could call her Liz, Lizzy, Eliza, Beth, Betty, Bette, Betsy, Bess, Bessy, Lisa, Elsa, Libby, Liza, Ellie, Belle, Tess, Isabel and Bea. How cool is that?
Since Elizabeth is one of my favorite names, I was thrilled to study the woman who first made that name famous: John the Baptist’s mother. Elizabeth doesn’t have her own book in the Bible. She doesn’t have much written about her at all. But part of her life is preserved in the Gospel of Luke. That implies her earthly life was important eternally. So what can us modern gals learn from how Elizabeth lived her life in a big way for God?
As I’ve been writing this Bible study series With Faith Like Hers, God has pointed out one specific verse to focus on during the writing. For this book about Elizabeth He gave me
“Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” (Luke 1:45).
That verse echoes one of the main truths contained in the Bible. Scripture identifies and explains the character of God. It shows how—over generations—the Lord has made promises and fulfilled them. Elizabeth spoke this verse to Mary, the mother of Jesus. But it is applicable to all women. Blessed are we women who believe that the Lord will fulfill His promises! Believe it. Because He does. Luke 1:45 should be written on our hearts.
Over the next 28 days we will look at the life of Elizabeth. We will look at her character and her circumstances and see how to apply her lessons to our life, based on the teaching of Jesus and as supported by Scripture from both the Old and New Testaments.
During this study, please read Luke 1:5-80 which references Elizabeth. Scripture relating to her son John the Baptist can be found in Matthew 3:1-17, Mark 1:1-15 and John 1:19-37.
As we look at Elizabeth’s life, we’ll ask her to tell us her story. We will also ask God to show us how He sees us as He might have seen Elizabeth. When we understand how we are like Elizabeth and what lessons we can learn from her life, we will recognize how God might see His other women of faith. We can respond:
I am (like) Elizabeth.
For Thought and Discussion
What did you already know about Elizabeth before starting this study?
Why do you think Luke included Elizabeth in the history of Jesus’ ministry?
Have you felt “blessed,” knowing God’s promises? Do you believe He keeps them? Give three examples of how God has blessed you.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for the people whose lives are recorded in Scripture. Please open our hearts and minds during this study to understand the lessons Elizabeth can teach us so we can better live lives of faith for you. Amen.
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I am Elizabeth is available in print and Kindle from Amazon.com. Go here to see all of the titles in the With Faith Like Hers series, now updated with new covers.
When I was thinking about my writing goals, I was trying to decide what work in process I should focus on for 2016. Naturally, as soon as I did that, two new book ideas flipped into my brain shrieking for attention. I had decided-without yet announcing, that since I had completed the first 5 books in my With Faith Like Hers Bible study series, I might return to fiction even though I find fiction decidedly difficult to perfect.
But because I wanted to focus my heart upon Jesus and most importantly use my writing for whatever He desired, I began to pray last Thursday, asking the Holy Spirit to make the decision for me as to which major project to focus my writing time on this year.
Coincidentally, I had been pondering what one-word focus I should have for 2016. After praying for the Holy Spirit to choose what I should write about, the very next morning I awoke with my one-word focus for 2016: legacy. Specifically, I want to focus on how I and others can leave this world better for having lived in it; sharing the legacy of my faith with others; helping others have the legacy of Jesus.
But something else hit me in the face that morning. Wham!
The working title of the young adult novel I had been thinking of returning to this year? Legacy.
Now maybe Jesus wants me to return to the novel or maybe it’s a coincidence that I’ve been led to write about a focus on legacy here.
Don’t know. But until I feel led in a different or new direction, I’m fairly convicted to return to my young adult novel and see where the Holy Spirit leads the story and my life.
So I’m sharing my writing goals for 2016 here for my own accountability. What goals or one-word focus would you like to share?
Blog each Monday; other posts as led.
Continue to write for Ruby for Women. The magazine has moved to monthly so this will require more writing time.
Become involved in Idahope, our local Christian writers group.
Q1: release I am Elizabeth and re-release the rest of the series as revised.
Revise Legacy (YA novel)
Determine viability of Birthstone and Birth flower books for Kindle. If viable, revise the original drafts and format with goal of publication Q3.
My one-word focus for 2016 is legacy.
A legacy is what you leave behind. I want to leave this world better for having lived in it, especially for living a life that honors Christ.
As we toss out our 2015 calendar, filled with foibles and folly and open up a brand new, fresh calendar, we notice that all of those white boxes surrounding the dates are clean and empty. My wish is that we fill them with things that are important; that we live a life that means something eternally. A life that honors Jesus. A life that touches other lives for the better.
Thank you to all who have journeyed with me in 2015 here at CarolPetersonAuthor.com. Best wishes for the 2016 journey. Live it well.
Yup. It’s the last week of 2015. Time to prep for a brand new, fresh and un-lived year. What have you accomplished in 2015? What would you like to accomplish in 2016?
As we look back on 2015, maybe some things you set out to accomplish remain undone. Did it matter? Would you have preferred to have accomplished them? Might you focus on them next year? Or move on to something new?
In reviewing my 2015’s goals, I’d say it was a great year and I finished up most everything I wanted to get done. Or switched goals mid year. Which is a perfectly acceptable thing to do.
My last remaining writing goal for 2015 was to complete the writing of my fifth Bible study: I am Elizabeth. The manuscript is complete. The writing goal switch I made in Q4 was to reformat all of the five studies and redesign the covers with the aim of re-releasing the series in Q1 2016. I’m totally on track with that.
When you’re thinking of what you’d like to accomplish in 2016, work on making them SMARTER goals:
Evaluated (quarterly for me)
Reassessed (ditto quarterly)
Here at CarolPetersonAuthor.com, I share my writing goals. If you’re not a writer (and even if you are), consider what areas of your life you’d like to improve. Can you make some goals for 2016 in those areas? Here are a few to get you thinking.
FAITH: attend church more regularly (or find a church home), begin a daily devotional, read Scripture daily, join a Bible study (or do one on your own), say grace over each meal, join or start a ministry, adopt a person or family to mentor or help, join a prayer chain
EDUCATION: is there a topic you’d like to learn more about? A skill you’d like to learn or master?
HEALTH: better eating program, up the exercise level or add a new type of exercise to the mix, limit the amount of junk food, take a multi vitamin, go see the doctor for a checkup, lose 10 pounds
FAMILY: institute weekly game night, visit a family member you haven’t seen in a while, try reconciliation with someone on the outs of the family (even if it’s you), send a card, email or make a phone call to family members just to tell them how important they are to you
TRAVEL: is there a place in this awesome world you’d long to visit? If you can’t right now, what can you do to help satisfy that longing or prepare for a trip in the future? Examples: Internet research, reading, study the language, start a savings plan
CAREER: are you in the proper career for your skill set and personality? What would you change if you could? What could you change within the parameters of your life right now? Would an outside interest or hobby make up for the emotional satisfaction that is lacking in your career?
That list might get you started thinking. Just make sure that when you set those goals, use the SMARTER way to figure out what specific steps you can take to accomplish them. I’ll remind you each quarter to evaluate and reassess them. And change them if needed.