Thursday, September 18, 2014

Spotlight: Barbara Rupp Author of The Woman at the

Have you or someone you loved ever been challenged with mental illness? This is one book you will want to read. 

Wearing pajamas and socks, a Christian for more than 13 years, I was on my way to the state mental hospital. It was there that God healed me from mental illness, and alcohol and drug abuse, which spanned more than 30 years. Physical, sexual and emotional abuse led to multiple marriage, three suicide attempts, and several stays in two psychiatric hospitals.

Get your copy:

Mental illness is a reality. One woman's overcoming journey. [Click to Tweet]

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The author

Barbara is the author of The Woman at the Well…today, her gripping and intense testimony of overcoming shame, guilt and tremendous heartbreak. Because of her turbulent background, she has a heart for the mentally and emotionally hurting wo

Barbara has been involved in all aspects of women’s ministry; including authoring and teaching Bible studies, providing women’s biblical guidance; and coordinating special events and outreaches. She attended Calvary Chapel Bible College and now lives in Southern California with her son, daughter-in-law, and two granddaughters where she attends Calvary Chapel Chino Hills.

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Get to know Barbara

When you're not writing, what do you enjoy doing? My passion is teaching the Bible study God led me to write, The Woman at the Well…today, and ministering to hurting women. Sharing how big our God is brings me tremendous joy, and peace. I also, love spending time with my granddaughters, teaching them about Jesus.

What advice, if any, do you have for others aspiring to publish a book of their own/follow their dream? I’ll be 70 in January. As long as you have breath, follow your dream. It’s great if you have a support team that will encourage you through the good times and the bad times. When things get rough, I’m glad there is at least one person I can call and ‘bounce’ off my thought and feelings.

What was the hardest thing about writing the book? Allowing the emotions to rise and put that feeling on paper. Remembering painful times and putting them in writing can be gut wrenching.

"Empty, lonely, alone, desperate, afraid, sad, unloved, un-liked, unreal. One day I will disappear, and everyone will know I really didn’t exist."

Which part of your book was the most enjoyable to write. There is a last chapter in the book, but it is not the last chapter of my life. The story goes on. However, writing and remembering the time when I came out of the state mental hospital and realized that I was healed from mental illness, and substance abuse.

What motivated you to write on this topic? This is my journey through the depths of emotional and mental illness, before, and during the time, I became a Christian. It is full of hope

Do you plan on writing a sequel to this story? The sequel, is a Bible study. Actually, I have been teaching and training others to lead this Bible study since 1995. However, it is at the editors as we speak, and will be out in a couple of months. The only thing that is upon my heart now would be possibly to publish other Bible studies I have written and taught in the past.

What do you want readers to take away from your book?There is still somewhat of a stigma in some of the churches regarding Christians and mental illness. It is very real, and many Christians are suffering silently with it, even to the point of suicide. The Woman at the Well…today was written primarily for the hurting Christian woman. However, all women can benefit from the content.

Connect with Barbara

Monday, September 15, 2014

Video Devotional: God Loves Us Just Because

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

God doesn't love us because of  who we know, how well we do or where we go to church. [Click to Tweet

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:9-11

P.S. If you have been encouraged by this video, 
please share it with your friends using the share buttons below.

Friday, September 12, 2014

An Applewood Hill Short Story

Usually my Applewood HiIl short stories are for my newlsetter subscribers only, but since its my books birthday...I thought I would share this one with everyone. If you like the story and don't want to miss anymore, be sure and sign up for the newsletter!

Charles stared at his wife throwing clothes into a suitcase. “What are you doing?”Annibel spun around, hands on her hips. “Don’t you get it? Karen is gone. I hoped that after college she would come back. But she made it clear she doesn’t want anything to do with us. You drove her away. And now I want nothing to do with you.” She turned back to her packing.

Charles strode over, grabbed her arm and turned her around. “What about Albert and Elinor?”

Annibel closed her eyes and blew out a controlled breath. “The kids are better off without me. How many times have you told me that?” She pulled away from his grasp. “You’ve rubbed my face in my mistakes so many times. Maybe it’s time you looked in the mirror.”

Charles narrowed his eyes. “I’ve been pretty generous, considering what you did.”
(Read the rest of the story HERE.)
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When anger tears a family apart, is their hope for a Turnaround? 
An Applewood Hill short story. [Click to Tweet]

Thursday, September 11, 2014

God is in the Quiet

Visual Verse of the Day Aspens Vertical 120x200
Today, I would like introduce you to Pasquale “Pat” Mingarelli. As a long-time professional photographer, Pat approaches creation as an artist. He looks at how it connects with our intellect, but even more so how it touches our soul on a theological level and our hearts on a personal level through its majesty, mystery and beauty.

Pat's ministry, The Creation Speaks, examines how nature reveals the glory of God and His attributes. It explores what creation declares to our heart soul and mind about God. When we see how great God is in creation we will better understand how great He is in our lives!
As part of his Creation Speaks ministry Pat produces the Visual Verse of the Day, which combines one his of thousands of nature photos with a verse of Scripture. I have embedded his Visual Verse of the Day badge in my sidebar. Please feel free to visit and be encouraged. 

Today, Pat has a few devotional thoughts to share on hearing God in the quiet. 
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 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. Luke 5:16

I like to spend time in quiet. Whether surrounded by nature or in a quiet room, God speaks in the silence. Jesus sought the Father in the silence of the wilderness as did others in the Bible.      

Often we may run from silence. We no longer like quiet. It seems our information-riddled culture has forgotten what it is like to be silent.

 When I hike I often do so slowly and softly, looking and listening at the silence. I enjoy the subtleties of nature, but I still hope to find something that’s not so subtle, like an elk or moose. But all too often they hide in the stillness of the forest. All I am left with is silence. What a treasure to be left with!

It feels good to hear nothing but squirrels walking or elk feeding. The soft sounds that seep slightly above silence are soothing to my ears. More importantly, as I walk along the forest floor, I often praise God in my spirit.

Sometime it is not always possible to walk in the wilderness, but a walk in a park can also give the quietness our hearts need. We can also find peace in leaving the TV off or leaving the smartphone at home to let God speak.

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Pasquale “Pat” Mingarelli is a photographer by trade and served 11 years with Campus Crusade for Christ (now called Cru) as a photojournalist with their magazine Worldwide Challenge. He left Cru to celebrate God as Creator through photography. 

In addition to ministry projects, Pat also teaches photography at Iowa Western Community College (Council Bluffs, Iowa), Metro Community College (Omaha) and at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. He lives in the Omaha area with His wife Patti, their two children Talitha and Pasquale and their dog Montana.

Connect with Pat

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Happy Birthday to Where Hope Starts!

Where Hope Starts turns 1 this week. 

I want you to help me celebrate, so I'm giving away a $25 Amazon gift card HERE on Friday, September 12. 
Come join in on the fun!

Monday, September 8, 2014

3 Resources to Help you Declutter Your Life

I've always been a people pleaser. When people needed me, it somehow proved my worth - to myself. This makes saying no hard. But saying yes to everything doesn't work. It drains you and leaves your bucket empty. It clutters your life. 

Saying yes to everything drains you 
and leaves your bucket empty. [Click to Tweet]

I'm trying to learn how to say "no". In order to have more of me for what is really important. So I can live better among my family, friends and neighbors. 

Recently, God has started pointing me to some books to help me think through how to change this. 

A friend told me about a book, that sounded intriguing and we decided to read it together then discuss it. That book is Essentialism by Greg McKeown. I have to say it’s been a life changer. Its made me stop and really think through my choices. Giving me a different frame of reference for what I choose and why I choose it.

It is written more from a business point of view (there is absolutely NO Christian bashing), but there are huge applications to personal life.

Some high points that impacted me:
·         The same amount of energy split between 20 different things doesn’t have        the same impact as that same energy applied to 1 thing.
·         You have to protect the asset (YOU). If you are not at your best (Rest is            high on the list.) then you won’t have the greatest impact possible.
·         It is important to have time to think. Otherwise we make decisions based on      the fly rather than with purpose. This also lessens our impact.
·         There are always tradeoffs. You have to say no to some things. And that is        OKAY. Its best.

Another book also came out recently: The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst. Of course, Lysa come from a woman’s perspective and it is framed from a Christian point of view. And YES, I am now reading this one. I’m looking forward to seeing how she frames these ideas.

During the summer, my sister loaned me a book that also recently came out. Finding Spiritual Whitespace by Bonnie Gray. I pulled it out and what do you know? Although it isn’t quite like the other two, it dovetails nicely. This one addresses what real rest is (aka protect the asset in Essentialism). 

I don’t think it is an accident that similar themed books from different perspectives are all coming out at the same time. I don’t think I am the only one looking for a way to declutter their live. A reason to say no that doesn’t induce guilt. A way to make our choices have more impact instead of being watered down by the lack of energy and time available to apply to those choices.  

If you are in the same boat as I am, I highly recommend these three books.

Do you find yourself struggling with too much life clutter?
Have you found a resource that has helped you?

PS: If you enjoy reading my posts, be sure to sign up to receive my post by email (form in sidebar). 

A recent blog post by Greg: The Three Word Problem that can destroy your life 

photo credit: //iosphere

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Spotlight: Chapel Springs Revival by Ane Mulligan

Take a peek - you might want to add 
this one to your reading list!

With a friend like Claire, you need a gurney, a mop, and a guardian angel.

Everybody in the small town of Chapel Springs, Georgia, knows best friends Claire and Patsy. It's impossible not to, what with Claire's zany antics and Patsy's self-appointed mission to keep her friend out of trouble. And trouble abounds. Chapel Springs has grown dilapidated and the tourist trade has slackened. With their livelihoods threatened, they join forces to revitalize the town. No one could have guessed the real issue needing restoration is personal.

With their marriages as much in need of restoration as the town, Claire and Patsy embark on a mission of mishaps and miscommunication, determined to restore warmth to Chapel Springs —and their lives. That is if they can convince their husbands and the town council, led by two curmudgeons who would prefer to see Chapel Springs left in the fifties and closed to traffic.

Available at Amazon

And now meet the author, Ane Mulligan!

While a large, floppy straw hat is her favorite, Ane has worn many different ones: hairdresser, legislative affairs director (that's a fancy name for a lobbyist), drama director, multi-published playwright, humor columnist, and novelist. Her lifetime experience provides a plethora of fodder for her Southern-fried fiction (try saying that three times fast). She firmly believes coffee and chocolate are two of the four major food groups. 

President of the award-winning literary site, Novel Rocket, Ane resides in Suwanee, GA, with her artist husband, her chef son, and two dogs of Biblical proportion. Her debut book, Chapel Springs Revival releases Sept 8th. You can find Ane on her website, on Facebook, and Pinterest.

Let's get to know Ane a bit....

What kinds of interesting things have you done in your life?
The most interesting was being a lobbyist for Christian Coalition. We had just moved to upstate New York, when Hubs suggested I get involved in our town's politics to get to know people. That was odd, because I'd never been involved in the political process before, other than to vote. But I took his advice, and then somebody contacted me about Christian Coalition.

Within a month, I'd been hired as the legislative affairs director for New York. I met Ralph Reed, who later drafted me onto his dream team to lobby in Washington D.C. It was a rewarding time. My greatest accomplishment was getting a parental notification for abortion bill to the floor for a vote, breaking a 20-year cycle.

What books have influenced your life the most?
That's easy. It was John, Son of Thunder, by Ellen Gunderson Traylor. Reading it brought Jesus and the disciples to where I felt like I was walking with them. I could see and hear everything. It's the book that made me want to write.

Tell us about getting your mind in a creative mode? How do you begin your writing process?
I get a "what if" idea first, then I spend a long time getting to know my characters. I do an extensive character interview then write a stream of consciousness backstory where I discover all kinds of secrets. It's in this process that I find my creativity sparked. This is where I get excited about telling this character's story.
Where do you get constructive critiques and feedback?
I have the world's best critique partners. We all met when we were first starting out writing and grew together. We have all been serious about publishing, so we are always tough on each other. So much so, we've gained nicknames: Atilla the Holmes, Hannibal Dotta, Genghis Griep, and Ludwig von Frankenpen. I'm Ane of Mean Gables.

What is your book about?
It's a romp through miscommunication in marriage. At the same time, the town needs reviving to bring the tourists back. It's funny but at the same time, it has Biblical truths we need to be reminded of.

What motivated you to write on this topic?
A number of years ago, a young women at church told me when she married, she didn't know she should have prayed for the husband God had picked out for her, so she was gong to get a divorce and go look for that other man.

I talked her out of it, but that stuck with me. If one person felt like that, more had to. I thought I was going to write a Bible study based on it, but God had other ideas.

Do you plan on writing a sequel to this story?
It's already written. It's called Chapel Springs Survival. This was a fun book to write, because it includes an episode from my son's life. I told him as retribution for keeping a secret, it would go in a book ... and it did! Here's a sneak peek:

With the success of her Operation Marriage Revival, life is good for Claire. That is until the mayor's brother blabs a secret: Claire's nineteen-year-old son, Wes, has married a Brazilian mail order bride—one who is eight years older than him. When Claire tries to welcome her new daughter-in-law, she's ridiculed, rebuffed, and rejected. Loving this girl is like hugging a prickly cactus. Will Claire and her family survive her son's marriage?

I obviously changed a number of things, especially since I adore my daughter-in-law. She turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to my son. Quite a few other facts have been changed to add conflict, like the age factor. But it's a fun story.

What do you want readers to take away from your book?
Through lighthearted humor, I hope readers will see when we trust our lives to God, we can trust our marriage to Him, too. He knows what's best for us.

Now it's time to go enjoy some fun reading! 
Chapel Springs Revival at Amazon