Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Self-discipline — My Word for 2020



Self-discipline. At age 71, I should have this word nailed. I do not. Cancer was my wake-up-to-reality moment that life is short and could end at any time. Our days, hours, minutes, and seconds are counting down. 

Regrets. I don't want any. I remember thinking, I don't want to be 85 and wish I had written a book. So, I disciplined myself. I chose to, and sometimes forced myself to, sit, write, edit, and rewrite. Discipline is good for me, for my family, and for the Kingdom of God. Discipline brings happiness, productivity, health, and glory to God. So why don't I do it? Because satan tempts me to follow his spirit and not the Spirit of God. As I discipline myself to say no to the devil and yes to the Lord, I will live a powerful, loving, and disciplined life.

"For the Spirit God gives us 
does not make us timid,
 but gives us 
power, 
love, and 
self-discipline."
2 Timothy 1:7

God has given me the spirit of power, love, and self-discipline. I have it. It's mine! In 2020, I will seize that power and determine to live a more disciplined life. With God's power I will make good use of every minute of every day. Will you join me as I choose self-discipline in 2020?

I am asking God to reveal areas in my life where I need discipline. This list may grow, but as of today, here are my thoughts:

Discipline time for fun. I can be so work-obsessed and to-do list driven, that I neglect fun and relaxation. When I play hard and laugh loud, my head clears and I often hear God's whisper of approval. Solitary walks bring a communion with God I rarely sense at my computer desk. Fun helps me sleep better, love deeper, and live fuller. Fun and laughter are good medicines that cleanse my soul, so I will discipline myself to prioritize fun.

Discipline my eating. Oh, what I lose (years, health, energy,) thinking I am enjoying the gluttony. The price is too high and I must resist. Why, oh why, haven't I conquered my over-zealous love for food? Please Lord, I don't want to be a food snob or a diet guru. I enjoy the bounty you set before me. But, give me power to eat slowly, in moderation, for maximum enjoyment and health.

Discipline my eyes. I want the hours back that I've wasted watching television commercials, let alone less-than-stellar and non-affirming television shows. I guarantee on my death bed, I won't be saying,"I wish I had watched that TV show." Give me courage to get off the couch and use my eyes to read books and take on activities that glorify You.

Discipline my tongue. Oh the words I wish I could put back into my mouth and erase from the minds of the people I've hurt with words. With God's power I will grab hold of my tongue before I wag it. Use my tongue, Lord, as an instrument to edify and not to condemn or gossip or destroy.

Discipline my attitude. A day spent grumpy is a day I did not live. The day is wasted and gone and can never be retrieved. Life is too short for a negative attitude. Remind me of this, Holy Spirit, whenever I tend to go low.

Discipline my mind. I don't want to fritter my day thinking ungodly thoughts. There is no time for such wasted foolishness as gossip and worry and course joking.

Discipline my devotional life. My desire is to be all I can be for Christ. I don't want to go into old age or to Heaven never realizing all that Christ had for me spiritually. There's always room for deeper Bible study and prayer.

Discipline my time. Consecrate each day for the glory of God to do what God has me to do each hour. Visit a neighbor. Spend time with grandchildren. Go on a date with Dan. Clean the house. Write another book. Spend the day in prayer. All Godly endeavors take time. God gives me the time He planned for me as I trust in Him, His power, and His love.

". . . be hospitable, 
one who loves what is good, 
who is self-controlled, 
upright, 
holy, and 
disciplined."
Titus 1:8

This is my prayer for 2020. 


Do you have a word for 2020? Please share other ways we can live more disciplined lives. I covet your thoughts.

Blessings for a New Year and new decade filled with splashes of serenity,



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Thursday, December 12, 2019

The Merry Miller Moments of 2019


In a moment, my life changed. 
My eyes opened! My heart burst! Joy filled me! 
In a moment, a cancer diagnosis revealed Christ in ways I've never known as 
my eyes, my heart, and my joy 
focused on the eternal and not the earthly, 
on the hope of Heaven and not the heaviness of this world. 

Dan and I rejoice in God's healing and in the fruit of cancer research, because 
in a few months of moments 
my prognosis went from terminal to terrific.  

God uses these moments to teach me lessons I am thrilled to share with audiences. 
Doors open to minister to and pray with cancer patients —
 opportunities  I never wanted or planned for,
 but I am honored to own. 




This Christmas I reflect on the moments of life and pray none of us ever miss the times God planned for us.

Dan and I treasure the moments of our marriage.  
Because of cancer, now, even more so. 
Summers in the Adirondacks create moments with our children and grandchildren. 
A 49th Anniversary trip retracing our honeymoon in Maine created 
wonderful moments and memories of years gone by and hopes of years to come. 





We enjoyed a momentous time in North Carolina with all of Elaine's siblings 
(some of whom have not been together for five years). 
Don't wait for those moments to happen. 
Make them happen now!



Our children fill us with moments of joy and fun. We are blessed that Joanna and Bob and Elizabeth and Joe with ten of our thirteen grandchildren live close by. 


We enjoyed the moments with all the Price's 
watching Ryan's baseball team, coached by Bob,
 win the District Little League championship.




Sailor Noble blessed the Sliwa family and ours with his newborn love and smiles.
 Elizabeth and Joe and their nine children have a quiver filled with moments!  



Moments.
 Those special moments when big brother Connor takes leave from the Marine Corps
 to meet his baby brother.



Sam and Katie, Lily and Jack continue serving our country in Alabama. 
Sam was promoted to Lt. Colonel with the US Air Force JAG Corp. 
A proud moment for us to witness.


Seize moments this Christmas to ponder 
God's great love for you, 
the blessings of being alive, 
the treasure of family and friends,
 Christ's birth, 
and the hope of eternal life for those who believe.  

Pray and let Christ change your life. 
It will only take a moment.

"Today . . . a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord."

Luke 2:11

Merry Christmas from the merry Millers!

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Tuesday, November 5, 2019

What Every Mother With Cancer Needs to Know

Oh dear cancer mom, how my heart aches for you. I know the feelings, the fears, the thoughts that go through your mind and rip at your heart. Whether stage 1 or stage 4, questions we can't answer loom large.

How will my cancer and my possible death affect my child? 

 What will happen to my child when I am gone? 

Will my precious ones make it through the pain?  

Fears for our children are stronger than fears for ourselves. In the uncertainty of the unknown, we must cling to the promises of God. Promises not only to us, but promises to our children as well.

"The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you;
He will never leave you nor forsake you.
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."
Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV)

God is with us and God is with our children. He promises. He will neither leave nor forsake our loved ones.

God doesn't take us and then leave our children alone. He stays. I've seen God's Presence in the lives of children whose mothers died young. Angels seem to encircle them in human and divine form giving needed care and love. Of course mom is missed, but the family survives and is all right because God watches over them. His Presence is sensed and embraced.
    
"For He will command His angels concerning you 
to guard you in all your ways;" 
Psalm 91:11 (NIV)

Yesterday I was blessed to read a son's birthday wish to his mother only months after her cancer death. Derek West's words touched my heart and I'm sure his mother, Corinna Parker Walkowiak, smiled big watching God reveal the Hope of Heaven to her son.


"Happy Birthday, Mom.
 It would have been your 48th here but 
it's your first in Heaven.
 I remember last year having a strong urge to make you a cake, 
even though I hadn't ever made one for your birthday before.
 At the time, I thought it was just me getting older and
 feeling the need to take care of those things on my loved ones' birthdays, 
but in the back of my mind I wondered 
what things might be like this year with your cancer.

When you first died
 I couldn't think much about you being in heaven because
 all I could feel was that you weren't here anymore. 
Thankfully, over the last month or so 
the hope of heaven has been revealed a little clearer and 
I can actually believe today is the best birthday you've ever had.

I miss you so much and 
wish I could make you another cake. 
See your low-key love being the center of attention 
while asking everyone else about how they're doing. 
Enjoy the warmth and ease of being around you.

But it's good knowing you're home.
 Soaking in the greatest celebration everyday. 
Happy Birthday, Mom.
I love you."

Thank you Derek West for sharing your birthday wishes with us. What a tribute to your wonderful mom. Corinna Parker Walkowiak who was indeed special. A healthy woman with a giving heart, she was first diagnosed when she volunteered to be tested as a potential liver donor. Corinna went to Heaven April 25, 2019, age 47. 

May we all have splashes of serenity and peace knowing that God is with us. He won't forsake us and He won't forsake our families. 


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Friday, November 1, 2019

The Ultimate Speaker's Guide: Practical Tips, Tools & Takeaways



Wow! This is the book I was looking for  years ago when my speaking ministry started to grow and I wanted to blossom as a speaker. Not knowing how to get to the next level, I trusted God, and I prayed as He provided speaking opportunities across the United States and then to Europe. I was blessed, but, honestly, the speaking life would have been easier had I been guided spiritually by God and professionally by Kathy Carlton Willis, author of The Ultimate Speaker's Guide: Practical Tips, Tools & Takeaways. Or, as Kathy says, The Grin Gal's Guide to Public Speaking.

If you've asked yourself the following questions, this book is for you:

 Has God called you to speak, but you don't know where to begin? 

Are you speaking now and you'd like to expand your audience? 

Or, like me, did God make you an author, 
and all of a sudden, you are considered a speaker, 
and you want to do your best for the glory of God, 
but you don't know how?

Do you struggle with the business end of speaking?

Do you want to glorify God with your speaking ministry?

"Packed cover-to-cover with invaluable information, The Ultimate Speaker's Guide is the new bible for communicators. With almost two decades of industry knowledge under her belt, Kathy Carlton Willis has coached hundreds of speakers to help them develop successful speaking businesses. This book covers all the tips, tools, and takeaways you'll need to ensure that your audience increases and your message is heard, including: 

Setting up your business
Finding a brand that fits
Getting more bookings
Polishing your style
Discovering God's plan for your business

An extensive resource section containing a sample contract, media interviewing tips, fee schedules, checklists, and much more, makes The Ultimate Speaker's Guide an essential toolkit you'll use time and again." ~ from the back cover, The Ultimate Speaker's Guide


Kathy Carlton Willis is God's Grin Gal. She writes and speaks with a balance of funny and faith—whimsy and wisdom. Over a thousand of Kathy's articles have been published in books, magazines, newspapers and online publications. Her most current book is Grin and Grace. Kathy is active as a book industry pro, and her coaching group, WordGirls, propels women toward their writing goals. She graduated with honors from Bible College and has served for 30+ years in full-time ministry.


Kathy will fill your speaking ministry with splashes of serenity! 

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Thursday, October 17, 2019

Conquering Cancer



I have blood cancer.

Blood cancer is different than other cancers because it's not a tumor a surgeon can cut out. As my body deteriorated and my pain increased in the sleepless, pain-filled nights, I felt helpless realizing  cancer-filled blood runs through every organ in my body and there is not a thing I can do about it.

Fear gripped me. 

Then Jesus took hold of my thoughts.

Yes. I have cancer running through my veins. 
But Jesus' blood runs through my veins too. 

Christ lives in me!!! 

Jesus is more powerful than cancer. 

Christ is my big C. Not cancer.

 Christ is my Healer. 

Christ, not cancer, holds my life in His Hands.

"And this is the secret —Christ lives in you! 

Who is more powerful in your life?
 Christ or cancer? 

Cancer can eat away at your bones and cells,
but cancer can't touch your soul. 

Cancer can steal time,
but cancer can't take away a moment God planned for you. 

Cancer will not win the victory for your life.
Christ already won it.

 Jesus Christ is the big C.

 Keep your eyes on Jesus Christ the healer,
not on cancer the destroyer. 

Cancer is vicious,
but Christ is the Victory!" 

  - from my book Praise the Lord and Pass the Chemo: A Hopeful Response to a Hard Reality.

We conquer cancer when we stop worshipping this disease by living in fear that cancer has more power than Christ. 

"I have been crucified with Christ; and I no longer live,
 but Christ lives in me."
  Galatians 2:20 (NIV) 

Not cancer. 
Christ!

I am very happy to report that not only is the fear of cancer gone, but targeted therapy continues to keep my leukemia from progressing. I no longer have pain-filled days or nights. I am healthy and happy and loving Jesus every day. Thankful that even this disease in my body can be used for God's glory. What a splash of serenity!!!

More of my cancer journey is shared in my book Praise the Lord and Pass the Chemo: A Hopeful Response to a Hard Reality.  Available on this website, Amazon, Target, and Walmart.




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Tuesday, October 1, 2019

My Just-for-Fun Birthday Poem




Oh, happy birthday fun!
Today I am seventy-one!
So thankful God gave me this race to run 
And allowed me the joy of being seventy-one.
I'll rise early with the sun
And celebrate 'til the day is done.
I'll start the day with a birthday bun
Knowing there's a birthday cake to come!
I'll spend the day golfing with my hon.
Thankful for my two daughters and a son.
Thirteen grandchildren I love a ton.
In this race called life I'd say I've won.
Another birthday I will not shun
Because God's plan for me it is not done.
Another book I've just begun!
Hooray! Leukemia has come undone!
Trusting targeted therapy will prevent a rerun!
So, I refuse to be happy birthday blue.
As I pray God gives me birthday seventy-two!

Happy Birthday Splashes of Serenity on me today!

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Sunday, September 29, 2019

EVERYDAY BRAVE Blog Tour Giveaway. You Could Win This New Book!

And the winner is Rhonda Roemer-Stephani!!! Wow! Congratulations Rhonda. I prayed God would pick the right person, I mixed up all the entries, shut my eyes, and chose. There you were! Please private message me your address so the publisher can send the book to you.


When Waiting Takes Courage and Trust

It’s difficult waiting for anything—a medical test result, school grades, an acceptance letter, a prodigal returning, the sale of a home, a move, a job offer, a baby, family arriving safely on a wintery night, a phone call, a predicted storm, restored health, Christmas, or a birthday. I know you can think of more waits that are difficult. I’ve had them too.
When I was writing Everyday Brave and asked women to share the bravest thing God ever asked them to do, many answered “wait” and “trust God.” Who hasn’t waited and trusted God to answer a prayer request, but how many of us considered waiting as brave or courageous, even though there are many verses like,Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous” (Ps. 27:14 nlt).
We’ve all experienced times in our lives where it took sheer grit to wait on the Lord patiently, without impatiently taking matters into our own hands? Some women mentioned surrendering their will to God’s will as the bravest thing God ever asked them to do.

Waiting on God’s Timing

When we put our concerns and requests before God, we never know for sure how or when He is going to answer. It’s easy to say, “Trust in the Lord,” but when you’re on the waiting side of things it’s not so easy. Waiting requires stalwart courage and bravery to trust in the Lord’s perfect timing.
Waiting can fill us with anxiety, apprehension, angst, anger, and worry—or anticipation, awe, expectation, eagerness, hope, and trust. Depending on our personality, we might experience a combination of many of those emotions. I know I do. I don’t like waiting. I want answers now. The only way I calm an anxious heart is to pray about the situation, and then go about daily activities keeping my mind focused on other things, trying not to dwell on the looming object of my wait.
Don’t get me wrong, calm doesn’t come easy for me. I actually chose “Calm” as my word to focus on one year. My husband laughed when I told him my annual word because I’m not naturally a calm person. Descriptions more appropriate of my personality are excitable, energetic, eager, and enthusiastic—anything but calm!

Trusting God with the Wait

It’s hard to trust God to take care of everything for us while we wait, even though Jesus reminds us: “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes” (Matt. 6:34 msg).
Elisabeth Elliot wrote about brave waiting in Passion and Purity,I do know that waiting on God requires the willingness to bear uncertainty to carry within oneself the unanswered question, lifting the heart to God about it whenever it intrudes upon one’s thoughts.”
Still, we’ve all been there. Sometimes we feel brave and courageous and can flow with whatever the future brings. Other times, we feel weak and weepy like Hannah in the Bible when she waited to have a child. But when we read Hannah’s story, we see she was distraught before she gave her burden to God, and then she seemed willing to bravely accept whatever he decided was best for her, whether it was a child or not. She became peaceful and content in God’s waiting room. (1 Samuel 1:1-2:11)
Hannah trusted God and waited on him to decide whether she would become a mother.
We’re all waiting for something every day.
When you prayerfully and patiently wait on God, you’re braver than you know.
What helps you be brave in times of waiting?

*Any excerpts from Everyday Brave used with permission of Leafwood Publishers.






Janet Thompson is an international speaker, freelance editor, and award-winning author of 20 books. Her passion is to mentor other women in sharing their life experiences and God’s faithfulness. Her new release is Everyday Brave: Living Courageously as a Woman of Faith.
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Visit Janet and sign up for her weekly blog and free online newsletter at womantowomanmentoring.com.
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About Everyday Brave: In Everyday Brave, Janet explores the extraordinary bravery of fifty ordinary women in the Bible. Twenty-eight women of today also give testimonies of realizing their strength and courage through God’s love. As Janet shares the stories of these women, she reminds us that the real heart and substance of bravery comes from unconditionally placing our hope in the only One who can give us the courage to stay the course.

Any who leave a comment will be entered to win a free copy of Everyday Brave! Give away ends and drawing will be announced Sunday, September 29, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. 

And the winner is Rhonda Roemer-Stephani!!! Wow! Congratulations Rhonda. I prayed God would pick the right person, I mixed up all the entries, shut my eyes, and chose. There you were! Please private message me your address so the publisher can send the book to you.
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