Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas.

When the subject of Christmas gifts comes up, most people think of packages wrapped in colorful paper and shimmery bows, sitting under the Christmas tree, just waiting to be opened.

When I think of Christmas gifts, I think of my dad, who passed away thirteen years ago this holiday season. He was a man of many gifts, including the joy he shared for the traditions of Christmas. Learn more.

Kelly and Nancy

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Awaken: A Paula Moldenhauer Devotional

Today, guest author Paula Moldenhauer, has sweetly agreed to share about her new book.

Guest Post from the author of Soul Scents: Awaken 

Paula awaken

Ten Years and It’s Still True

What I found was joyously stunning.

Recently I read through hundreds of devotionals I’d written over a span of more than ten years. I was deciding which devotional thoughts I wanted to include my latest book project, Soul Scents ~ A Journey in the Son’s Embrace, which offers four volumes of devotional reading: Awaken, Rooted, Bloom, and Flourish. As I read, made my choices, and edited my heart rejoiced because I still believed it all.

The journey of the last ten years has been arduous, but the glorious truths our sweet Savior taught me along the way stand the test of time.

I may have been naïve in 2004 before the big storms hit. Back then I wrote in wonder as I absorbed new understanding of who Jesus is.  I may not have understood how deeply the concepts I penned would be tested. I certainly didn’t understand what I was praying as I offered my thoughts of praise and surrender, nor did I guess how God would take me at my word.

But I’m delighted to report it’s all true.

I edited word counts and clunky sentences, but the foundational concepts which I so naively typed many years ago needed no revision. And guess what? The devotionals I penned a few weeks ago are again written in wonder as I “absorb new understanding of who Jesus is.”

In 2004 I invited readers to go with me on a journey into the heart of Jesus. I declared we’d never run out of places to discover, and we never have. He shows us glimpses of His character then allows life experiences to solidify the understanding of the insight. Over time He takes initial understanding deeper and reveals new wonders of His Person.

To be vulnerable, our family rode some difficult waters after the earlier devotionals were written. In spring of 2015 I tried to write about the really hard years, but I often dissolved into tears at the computer.

The Lord called me away from those efforts and invited me to spend time with Him. I journaled, did some more Bible study in the Song of Solomon, and rested. Truth be told I spent a lot of time talking to my plants last summer! And the Lord, always the Healer, did what He does best and healed me.

In the fall the Lord released me back into focusing on development of Soul Scents. I wasn’t really surprised (although I was very pleased) when those months of seeking God resulted in devotions for volumes 3 & 4 of this collection. Even though I believed I was not productive last year, I was writing the rest of this series without knowing it.

I love how organic that is.

I’m excited to offer fellow travelers a year’s journey in the Son’s embrace. It begins with volume 1, Soul Scents: Awaken, and continues with a new devotional book releasing each quarter of 2016.

Note: Soul Scents: Awaken (http://www.amazon.com/Soul-Scents-Spiritual-Journey-Embrace-ebook/dp/B019ICBW02/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1450471247&sr=8-1&keywords=Soul+Scents%3A+Awaken) . The print version releases by Christmas!

Paula headshot

Bio:

Author, speaker, and mom of four, Paula Moldenhauer encourages others to be released into full potential through freedom in Christ and the empowerment of God’s grace. Published over 300 times in non-fiction markets, her first devotional book series, Soul Scents, releases in four volumes beginning with Soul Scents: Awaken. Paula’s first two novels released in 2012. Sometimes empty-nesters, Paula and her husband, Jerry, enjoy four adult children and a wonderful son-in-law. Paula loves peppermint ice cream, walking barefoot and talking to her flowers. For inspirational articles, book information, and speaking topics visit: www.paulamoldenhauer.com

Words of Wisdom

Cec Murphy is running a series on self-care for writers. Truly it is worth it for writers and non-writers to hop on over to his site and read every post. He deals with nutrition, taking breaks, and even learning to say no.

Here are a handful of miscellaneous suggestions.

Don’t over-nurture individuals. Many of us tend to feel responsible for others when they need to be able to handle their own issues.

One day I thought that if I solve their problems, I cheat them out of the challenge to do so and to grow from the experience. Learn more.

Nancy and Kelly

Writing Takes Discipline

Writing takes discipline. It is something each writer must discover. This article features some helpful tips.

Before you begin, get yourself an alarm clock with multiple settings. I use an app called “I Can’t Wake Up!” It’s evil. It makes me do math or match countries and capitals or it won’t shut off. I hate it. And I love it. Whatever clock you choose, get cozy with it. You’re going to live your life by it. She is your harsh mistress. She is your boss. Set your first alarm early. How early? How bad do you want to be a writer? Learn more.

Nancy and Kelly

Nativity Sets

We wanted to share a sweet story for you about nativities sets from around the world.

A New York pastor is looking for a new home for his large collection of nativity sets from all over the world.

Father Roy Herberger of SS. Columba-Brigid Church in Buffalo got his first nativity set about 30 years ago while attending a religious convention in Baltimore, Herberger told ABC News Today.

Learn more.

Kelly and Nancy

An Interesting Lifestyle

This story is so interesting. It might make a great setting for a novel.

Rat race? Patrick Schmidt chose the open road, instead.

Schmidt bought an old school bus back in March, and worked with his father to convert it into a teeny home on wheels. Then he hit the gas. So far, he’s traveled more than 10,000 miles and hit 30 states. Learn more.

Kelly and Nancy

Need Holiday Encouragement?

No other time of the year can be more difficult to write than at Christmas. We writers are simply distracted with all the fun and preparations. Besides the season involves creativity, and we simply can’t resist the urge to simply BE in the moment. My excuses race from one exciting activity to the next-

Time
Shopping.
Wrapping gifts.
Baking cookies.
Reading Christmas cards.
Planning Christmas parties.
Attending choir presentations.
Decorating the tree and house.
Viewing my favorite Christmas movies.
Figuring out what to wear to holiday events.
Napping because I’m tired from all the above.
Gotta write.
Gotta write.
Gotta write.Learn more.

Evaluating Abilities

It is important to evaluate our strengths and weaknesses in writing. This article provides some important tips.

So much about the writing life has to do with time and no more so than in this season of the year. Time for meeting your self-imposed deadline or the publisher’s due date is at a premium, and if you’re like two clients I talked to recently, you’re hoping to be more effective next year. Because there always is room for improvement, even for seasoned authors, I’ll approach this need from a couple of angles, which might help you discover new ways to augment your work in the daily time you have for your writing life. Learn more.

Kelly and Nancy