Friday, April 8, 2022

Introducing Hannah DeWitt Picard, my Praise Coach

Hosanna! 
Hosanna to God in the Highest!!! 

Don't you wish every day was Palm Sunday where we spend our days in awe of God praising Him for every breath we breathe? As we all know, it may be Palm Sunday, but Friday's coming. Shouts of praise became shouts of condemnation.

 Crucify Him! 
Crucify Him!

How thankful I am for my Jesus' death on the cross taking the punishment for the sins of the world and for the power of God displayed on Easter Sunday when Jesus rose from the grave.

 Alive!!! 
Alive!!! 
Alive forevermore!!! 
What a great God, worthy of our praise.

Can we ever praise God enough? I don't think so. Which is why when my friend Hannah Picard became a Praise Coach and  developed a Power of Praise on-line course, I took an interest. Hannah grew up in the church where my husband Dan pastored. As a teen and a twenty, her passion for God was evident. Now grown with much life experience, including tragedies, she lives a life of praise and desires Christians to realize the full joy of the Lord when we live every day (even the difficult days) seeing God's Hand in every moment and praising Him. 

We are made to praise and I can testify my heart was opened to areas in my life where I can praise God more. 

A sneak peak to the Made to Praise course: My chores turned to cheers when I turned my "to do" list into a "get to do" list. I began praising God for all I "get to do." Wow. I get to fold that basket of laundry and I get to wash those dirty dishes and I get to forgive someone who hurt me. Life is filled with joy when we thank God for all the things we "get to do!" when we live a life of praise to Him.

Listen and learn from Hannah on her website at www.madetopraiseusa.com. I recommend  her as a speaker at your event, as well! What joy she brings to our lives as we see Jesus living in her through her praises to Him. Hannah, when I look at what God is doing in your life, I just want to Praise the Lord!


Blessings to all on this Holy Week,


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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Keep Watering, Moms. Some Children are Late Bloomers



Pop! 
All of a sudden the flowers popped!
 For years I watered this little two-leafed plant. 
The results: 
 one leaf fell off.
 I would have thrown her away, but she was a gift from someone I loved, 
so I kept watering. 
My only goal was keep that one leaf alive. 
Then, 
one day 
another leaf grew, 
and another. 

This week, 
in the dead of winter, 
she popped. 
One flower,
 now two, 
and three on it's way. 

Some children are late bloomers.
 Keep watering, moms!

 When a leaf falls to the ground, 
keep watering, Moms! 

God is creating your beautiful flower
 in His Time, 
in His Way. 

"Train up a child the way he should go:
 and when he is old, he will not depart from it."
 (Proverbs 22:6)

Splashes of Serenity on your day!



Sunday, January 2, 2022

The Thrill of Hope! My Word, Verse, and Song for 2022



Oh, I want to be that little boy.
To love Jesus and His Word so much that I howl with joy.
That's my hope for 2022.

Hope.
I confess to losing a lot of hope in 2021.
Covid turned my world upside down
as satan skillfully tempted me to lose heart.
Hoping to continue my speaking ministry was replaced by
hoping I could speak without losing my breath.

My hope to be the best grandma changed
to making sure I don't go near, kiss, or hold my little ones
who could so innocently infect this
immunocompromised body with another deadly bout with covid.

It's been crushing.
Not seeing my family.
Never entering a church building.
Losing the fellowship of Bible study with friends.
Watching my husband give up his life to keep me safe.
Expecting the vaccine to work and then
learning it is not effective on those with blood cancer.
Losing vocabulary and memories from covid brain interference.
ICU PTSD.
Developing phantosmia where my whole world smells like cat urine.
The tension with people who feel wearing a mask is stupid and
getting vaccinated unthinkable.
Life has been hard and hope seemed to wane.

Not this year!
In 2022 Hope is back!

My ability to continue as a speaker,
my smell,
my grandchildren,
my lungs,
my brain
may not be back, but
Hope is back!

My hope is in His unfailing love.
U-n-f-a-i-l-i-n-g!
Never ending,
inexhaustible,
steadfast,
absolute,
boundless,
eternal
Love of God
My word for 2022:

HOPE!



My verse for 2022:
". . . the Lord's delight is in those who fear him, those who put their hope in His unfailing love."
(Psalm 147:11)

This year I've also chosen words from a favorite Christmas carol, "Oh Holy Night."

"A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!"

A thrill of hope!
My weary world rejoices
for yonder breaks
a new and glorious morn!

Delight in me Lord Jesus
for my hope is in your unfailing love!
You Jesus are my hope and my song and I will ever trust in You!

I'm pretty thrilled to see what You will do
every new and glorious morn
in 2022!


Happy New Year, dear ones May your hearts overflow with hope!

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Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Merry Christmas Good News and Joy from our House to Yours


Good news! 
Great joy!

"Don't be afraid! . . . 
I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 
The Savior—
yes, the Messiah, the Lord
—has been born today in Bethlehem. . . . 
(Luke 2:10-11).

What a year! 

The pandemic rushed in and good news and great joy seemed to rush out.
 This new year may we celebrate with great joy the good news of Christmas.

 A Savior has been born!

 When we focus on Jesus, we realize our great joy doesn't depend on the world's good news, 
but on the certainty of the Good News of

God's presence, 

God's power, 

God's promises, 

God's plan, and 

the birth of a baby born in Bethlehem, 

God's Son, 

our Savior Jesus Christ. 

Hallelujah!

 Our family celebrates with great joy this year the awareness of God's presence, power, plan, and promises through some difficult days. 

After twelve months, we celebrate that my covid is gone and I no longer need supplemental oxygen. So many days brought joy and hope as my sweet caretaker husband nudged me toward health. 

He assured me I could climb a mountain. 
And I did. 




He said we didn't need a cart when we golfed. 
And we didn't.



 He pushed me to bike a little bit farther and farther.
 Mission accomplished.
 

I'm healthy and
my heart is filled with joy and 
thanks to Jesus my Healer,
  Dan my husband extraordinaire, and
  all of you who prayed me through. 

With God nothing is impossible.

We rejoice that life has resumed as normal for Joanna and Bob. Joanna's teaching reading remotely was difficult for the teacher and the student. Gracie and Ryan sitting at home on a computer learning was tough. But now that is over, and we rejoice!  All are back in school with Ryan and Gracie on High and very High Honor Roll.   


One has to be joyful visiting the Sliwa farm. Elizabeth and Joe added more sheep and Elizabeth started working at the Pregnancy Resource Center. Garrett is stationed with the Army in Washington state. Connor is a welder, Ava hopes to graduate in December, Isaac believed in Jesus and was baptized, Brenna loves animals, Charlotte raises goats, Lucas is tall, Gunnar makes us laugh, and Sailor keeps up with them all. What a fun farm filled with joy!



Sam and Katie had a joyful surprise when Holly Susannah arrived early. Having a baby in NICU with Lily and Jack at home was a challenge, but ended with all joy. What a treasure for Dan and I to visit them in their home in South Dakota where Sam serves with the Air Force JAG.



Merry Christmas friends and family.
 Enjoy the One born on a starry night and 
shines in our hearts today. 
The One Who brings us Good News and Great Joy!
Hallelujah, what a Savior! 

Our love and prayers,

Elaine and Dan




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Monday, November 1, 2021

How I Became an Author


Happy National Author's Day to all authors 
who battle with words
 so readers can sit on them, 
mull over and understand, 
be encouraged and filled with hope, and
 their world becomes a sweeter place.

My journey as an author is not typical. 
I never gave a thought to writing a story for the public to read.
I did keep journals though, in obedience to 

Psalm 102:18
"Write this down for the next generation 
so people not yet born will praise God."

Hiding my words in a file cabinet,
 I hoped one day they would be discovered by 
my grandchildren and
 their grandchildren and 
people not yet born will
know of my faith in Christ.

One Sunday my husband Dan preached a sermon on the 
Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14:30).
In that parable, 
the master is angry at the lazy servant who buried his talents.
While Dan preached, God spoke to my heart,

  What good are all your writings doing buried in your file cabinet if no one reads them? 

I knew I was to write a book, but 
how do you write a book?

You write! Spiritual thoughts entered my mind and I wrote. Long before blogs or social media, my writing piled up in my file drawer. With no idea where to go from here, I waited on God's direction.

He lead me to Montrose Bible Conference to check out a retreat center for a marriage seminar Dan and I were planning. There on the table I noticed a brochure advertising the Montrose Christian Writer's Conference (MCWC). A writer's conference? Who knew? I didn't! Dan urged me to attend and the following summer I sat as a student at the Montrose Christian Writer's Conference.

Step by step, God unfolded my writing career. I share with you how God took me through stumbles and great strides.  

1.Start writing! You won't be published if you don't write.

2. Attend a writer's conference and learn the writing/publishing/marketing business. Keep attending conferences where you create a network of editors, agents, publishers, other writers who will encourage you on your journey.

3. Read books on writing. My favorites are On Writing Well by William Zinsser and Elements of Style by E. B. White and William Strunk Jr.

4. Publish a magazine article. I brought one of my devotionals to my first writer's conference and showed it to the editor of Salvation Army's War Cry. "I want this. I'll buy it." Her words rang shock and joy in my heart. 

5. Publish in a compilation. Gloria Clover attended Montrose Christian Writer's Conference as a member of the faculty. She published a sweet book titled Penned From the Heart which was a compilation from various authors. I showed her fifteen of my devotionals and she published all fifteen.

6. Write from your heart. I knew I was to write, but I didn't know what I was to write. A faculty member at MCWC said "Write what you are passionate about." I laughed and realized I was passionate about relaxing in my bath and being a good mother.  

7. Splashes of Serenity: Bathtime Reflections for Drained Moms was published a few years later. (Publication with a traditional publication company can take years to produce. Be prepared to wait.) Within months, Splashes of Serenity was in all the Family Christian book stores. 



8. When your first book sells well, publishers want another book. A sequel, Splashes of Serenity: Bathtime Reflections for Drained Wives, was published. I love this book, but it never got off the ground. Within weeks of publication, the publisher retired and Drained Wives was never promoted. Be prepared for some heartbreak as an author. Drained Wives remains one of my favorite books. I still hear from wives and husbands whose marriages were changed when they read our marriage story in Splashes of Serenity: Bathtime Reflections for Drained Wives. 


9. People who read Splashes of Serenity: Bathtime Reflections for Drained Wives urged me to write more on marriage. I thought I was done with writing (after the disappointment of Drained Wives), but  God wasn't done with me. Words, stories, chapter titles filled my head and would not leave. You writers know the feeling. I had to write We All Married Idiots: Three Things You Will Never Change About Your Marriage and Ten Things You Can. Wow! What a book! I had a publisher who worked hard and believed in me and in Idiots. Ha! He could relate! 


 Within days of publication I heard from an International Worker in South America who read  Idiots on her kindle and asked if she could translate it into Spanish.


Soon, International Workers from Bosnia/Herzegovina asked if they could translate We All Married Idiots into Bosnian. What a delight and a surprise seeing this work help marriages around the world. 

10. Leukemia! God gave me another surprise! He continues to fill me with hope, purpose, ministry, and words as I travel with cancer. Praise the Lord and Pass the Chemo: A Hopeful Response to a Hard Reality shares the lessons God taught me on my cancer journey. What joy hearing from other cancer patients the hope and peace they discover within the pages of Praise the Lord and Pass the Chemo.


Will I write another book? Only if the Lord leads. When words begin replacing sleep, and I am miserable until I get the words on paper, then I know God has another book in the works.    

Thank you, dear readers, for your prayers, love, and support. Thank you for writing reviews and for sharing my posts on social media. My only goal is to glorify God, to live a Holy life, to be obedient to His will, and to share Christ with the world. You partner with me in that endeavor and I am thankful for you. 

Happy Reader's Day to you from this Happy Author!

  
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Saturday, October 30, 2021

My Covid Journey — Beauty from Ashes



We kissed goodbye one year ago
(knowing this could be our last kiss).
Being admitted to the hospital with severe covid we didn't know our
 mourning would become a joyous blessing.

". . . He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, 
a joyous blessing instead of mourning, 
festive praise instead of despair . . ."
Isaiah 61:3

It's been a year of crowns of beauty,
of joyous blessings,
of festive praise.

Today we celebrate and remember the blessings:

The blessing of seeing Jesus in ways I've never seen Him.

The blessing of the Holy Spirit enveloping my entire being with joy and praise.

The blessing of seeing Jesus in the flesh through the care of hospital personnel.

The blessing of praying with every nurse, doctor, and therapist.

The blessing of realizing the love and prayers of an army of Christian friends.

The blessing of deeper love and intimacy with my devoted husband.

The blessing of peace in the midst of turmoil.

The blessing of surrender when times seemed dire.

The blessing of intense Bible reading and prayer.

The blessing of knowing Jesus is all I have and He is enough.

The blessing of healthy eating and daily exercise.

The blessing of working hard to restore my lungs.

The blessing of once again hugging my grandbabies.

The blessing of climbing a mountain and celebrating life.

The blessing of smelling coffee and home-made bread.

The blessing of seeing the world with new eyes.

The blessing of resetting my priorities.

The blessing of learning from the great teacher called suffering.


Yes. 
We've also experienced a year of 
ashes, 
mourning,  
despair.

I still need oxygen while sleeping.
Damaged lungs are a daily warning to be aware of any respiratory illness.
 Post-covid PTSD and anxiety can raise its ugly head.
There's a bald spot on the back of my head. 
Hair loss. Who knew?
My smell has a mind of its own — sometimes works, sometimes doesn't.
And my biggest heartache: 
Doctors caution me against participating in a large group — no church — yet.

I grieve the losses as
 I focus on the praises, for 

God taught me through covid to enter each day with

festive praise 
and to see the
beauty 
and the
blessings 
of
 Abiding in Christ.

May your day be filled with beauty, blessings, and praise!
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