Feb 08

LEGACY: Leaving a Legacy through Words

 

books-1099067__180

So many books to write; so little time to write them in. (image from Pixabay)

Ever since I settled on legacy as my one-word focus for 2016, it’s like the word is everywhere. It has been spoken in sermons and classes at church 3 times. It has shown up in 4 posts on Facebook from others. I have downloaded 5 novels with that word in the title. All in just 39 days.

When I settled on the word, I also settled on spending time this year working on my languishing YA novel, Legacy. That hasn’t gone very far. But I’ve decided not to despair over it. When my fiction muse jumps up and down singing loudly enough, I’ll work on it. Until then, I’ll focus on my legacy of faith.

With writing, that means writing about faith—to encourage my own and others.

Being freed from the despair over (not) working on my novel, my mind opened to new and old non-fiction books screaming to be written. Here’s what you can expect to see from me.

The Praying Writer: Prayers for the Writing Process: For the past 5 years I have posted prayers online in several writing groups I participate in. Understanding the importance of praying over my own writing, I’ve determined to encourage other writers by doing so over theirs as well. In fact, since all of us Christian writers are part of God’s writing team, the encouragement of other writers is eternally important, regardless of whose name is on the cover of the book.

Several years ago people began requesting a book about praying for writing. It is finally coming to completion. This book will further my one-word focus for 2016 as I leave a legacy of my faith by encouraging the faith of other writers.

Flowers, Gemstones & Jesus: Finding Jesus in the Months of the Year: This fun inspirational gift book began several years ago with two series of posts here at CarolPetersonAuthor.com—one on the flowers of the month and one on the birthstones of the month—and why they reminded me of Jesus. This book expands to share what is significant about each month of the year, in terms of the month’s name, what holy days it contains and how Jesus wants to be part of it. Then, a cake recipe is added for each month so readers can help celebrate birthdays for people they love.

I am Rahab: This will be the sixth book in my With Faith Like Hers Bible study series. I know! I said I was going to take time off of writing these character Bible studies. But many women have asked me to write about Rahab. When I went back through my notes I found 31 lessons Rahab can teach us. So, what am I waiting for? Evidently, nothing as the book is now well into its first draft.

I’m also in the process of fleshing out three additional books about faith. These may head out to agents and editors in the form of book proposals. One, For the Love of Shoes, takes a light-hearted look at what Scripture has to say about our feet and what we wear on them—from going barefoot, to wearing boots of peace and how our womanly love of shoes might be biblical after all.

Atop the Mountain started out two years ago as a series of studies of biblical events that took place on mountain tops. The thesis is that we all have “mountain top experiences” where we sense God’s power and presence. The key is to then take those experiences and what we learned from them, and return to life, down in the valley, even down in the desert valley. Since its inception two years ago, this idea has turned into a single book—with each chapter having a specific focus. Examples of chapter focus are Moses and the burning bush, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, Peter, James and John at the Transfiguration.

The premise of From What If to Whatever has been been sitting in my computer for several years. It’s now appearing on my computer screen more often for fleshing out. The theme is to explore common worries to which we regularly assign a “what if.” What if my husband dies? What if my child makes bad choices? What if I lose my job? Then the book will assign one of Paul’s “whatevers” from Philippians to explore how renewing our mind through God’s Word can help get us over our what-if tendency and instead think on whatever is true, noble, pure…

Rainbow Riches is my children’s picture book about finances. This will take Scripture and share how God looks at money and how we manage it.

I thought God had led me to the word legacy to encourage me to work on my young adult novel of that name. And maybe He did. But it became clear that He had something larger in mind. Once I stopped worrying over the issue of how hard fiction writing is (“what if I can’t do it?”), then He showed me how much I love writing non-fiction (“think on whatever is praiseworthy”).

God definitely is the one who is praiseworthy, so part of leaving a legacy of faith is to let others know it. Even if it’s just from my point of view.

Feb 01

GEMSTONES: Why I love Idaho

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.

 

From gemselect.com where you can buy this for yourself

From gemselect.com where you can buy this for yourself

 

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.

♦ ♦ ♦

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.

♦ ♦ ♦

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.

 

Jan 25

PRAYING NAMES: Carmen and Edward

Hello Carmen Edward

 

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.

Jan 18

RUNNING

Philippians 2 14-16

 

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.

Jan 11

I AM ELIZABETH

Elizabeth on black

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.

 

♥ ♥ ♥

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.

Jan 04

LEGACY FOCUS: Writing Goals

31459898_s

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.

Jan 01

LEGACY: A Life Well Lived

2016 New Year

 

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.

Dec 28

GOAL TIME

Goals

 

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:

  • Specific

  • Measurable

  • Achievable

  • Relevant

  • Time related

  • 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.

Have fun!

Dec 25

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Luke 2 11

 

May the joy of knowing Jesus be with you today and always. Merry Christmas!

Dec 21

BORN OF A VIRGIN

christmas-larger

I love how God keeps me humble. Just when I think I know what I’m talking about, He gently taps me on the shoulder and whispers. “Dear Carol…”

For over half a century I spouted eloquently each Christmas about Jesus. Within my spouting were words that included, “immaculate conception.” And really, I thought I knew what I was talking about.

But words have meaning. And folks—you know I am often the first to jump enthusiastically upon my soap box and defend the meaning of a word—often to the detriment of the original discussion. It’s much harder to step down once I learn I’d been wrong or ignorant.

So here’s me stepping down and sharing something that truly, truly, truly is not important in the eternal salvation of souls. But it’s something I’ve heard bandied about each Christmas season. So since it involves words, I want to encourage you also to use them appropriately.

Jesus is divine. Jesus has existed in human form since the beginning of everything. Jesus spoke the universe into existence. Then over 2000 years ago, Jesus left the glory of heaven and came to earth for a short while. Jesus was born of a woman, Mary. He was conceived when another person of the Holy Trinity—the Holy Spirit—came upon Mary in a supernatural way.

That, friends, is the theological doctrine of “virgin birth.” And Jesus’ supernatural birth through Mary who was a virgin, is one of the main tenants of Christianity, supported by Scripture.

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).

Immaculate Conception on the other hand, has nothing to do with Jesus’ birth. The doctrine of Immaculate Conception, held by some, but not all Christian groups, refers to Mary’s conception.

What? Yup.

Mary was conceived in the regular, standard way that God developed when He first set the laws of nature into motion. Mary, however, it is believed by some, was given a special gift in that—when she was conceived in this regular, standard way—God removed the stain of Adam and Eve’s original sin from her soul. Mary was immaculate (sinless) when she was conceived.

That doctrine, nicely does away with any question about original sin passing on to Jesus through Mary although my personal theory is that we don’t need a stated doctrine to justify the truth that Jesus was born sinless.

There is no scriptural basis for the idea that Mary was born sinless. In fact Mary herself acknowledges herself as a sinner in need of a savior, when she said

and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior (Luke 1:47)

Immaculate Conception is an interesting doctrine and believed by many people. It may be what happened. Or not. But, while the doctrine of Immaculate Conception is one of those things we can discuss ad nauseum, it does not matter to our salvation.

What does matter is that Jesus is part of the Holy Trinity. Jesus is divine. Jesus is God. Jesus makes His permanent home in Heaven. Jesus came to live on earth temporarily. Then He offered Himself as a blood sacrifice to God the Father to not just cover our sins but to wash them completely out; leaving us stain-free for all time. If we but call upon His name and accept His free gift of salvation.

What I like about the concept of Immaculate Conception is how I can relate it to being born again. Each of us was born in the regular, standard way. And each of us is a sinner. But when we are born again—when we accept Jesus’ gift of salvation—it’s as if that second birth is immaculate. Our sin is removed and we get a brand-new birth in the Spirit. Through Jesus, our rebirth is immaculate.

So friends, this is the time of year when you will hear the term Immaculate Conception tossed around willy nilly. It’s not necessary to debate it theologically. Rather, when you hear the phrase, look at it as an opportunity to share Jesus—your love for Him and especially His love for us all.

Merry Christmas.

Older posts «