Monthly Archives: December 2015

Free Today ~ Soul Scents: Awaken

Merry Christmas! I’m thrilled to offer you a gift today and tomorrow. The first book in my year-long devotional series is available for free download!

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Awaken to a more intimate, peaceful relationship with God. The Soul Scents devotional series invites readers into an ever-deepening discovery of Who God is and how He interacts with us. Bathed in grace, this collection of thirteen week devotionals is down-to-earth, offering spiritual insight gained from Scripture and the author’s journey into spiritual freedom. Soul Scents: Awaken, the first in the series, features week-day readings which include Scriptures and prayers. Rest in the Son’s embrace as you enter the beautiful heart of the Freedom Giver Himself.

May God richly bless you this week and every day.

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My 2015 Christmas Miracle (Part 4)

It’s amazing how God can take something you’ve worked on for over a decade and turn it into a reality in less than a month.

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If you’ve read the first three posts in this series you know the miracle story of how God is taking a project from files on a computer to a published book in less than four weeks.

He is indeed a miracle worker and the Ultimate Gift Giver.

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As I type the words above I have to smile. I’ve been buried in edits the last two weeks. What jumps out at me more than anything is how the spiritual truths the precious LORD gave me over ten years ago are tried and true today. I wrote a devotional set back then about God’s gifts. I’m pretty sure I called Him the Ultimate Giver Giver or something very close.

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I edited more than 65 devotionals in the past month. The writing of the original content spans more than ten years. Much of what I wrote as a much younger woman was true but not deeply tested. I prayed prayers I didn’t understand and penned concepts not knowing what deep application would come of them in my own life. Maybe I was a bit naive, but whether the devotion was written in 2004 or 2015, the spiritual truths stand.

They may be better understood. I may be stronger and deeper and more tried.

But it is all real. All that spiritual discovery.

And that alone is breath-taking.

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One theme of Awaken is how we can stop striving to be Christ-followers and trust Holy Spirit to do what Scripture says He will do–remake us to be more and more like Jesus. These last ten years are a journey of learning to rest in His embrace, to keep my eye on the Savior, not myself or my circumstances.

I can say with more confidence than ever HE IS TRUSTWORTHY. In every situation, no matter how painful. In every life, no matter how messy.

The cover designs in this post were created thanks to  Kim Liddiard of the Creative Pixel. Her genius took my passion and Lisa’s artwork and combined them into a cohesive visual set. I love her concept of a sunburst coming from behind the tree as well as her use of creative fonts. I believe Kim’s inspired book covers show the progression of the vibrancy of the journey we take with the One who leads.

As I mentioned yesterday the Lord put the remaining components of my team together by the end of the day on Monday, November 30th. I’m grateful Kim worked me into her busy schedule of clients. Even if she weren’t a dear friend she is who I would want for cover design! The Lord also nudged Ruth Meyer to step in to do line edits and proofreading. It’s exciting to see who God called together for the birthing of Soul Scents Publishing.

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The final member of the team is my sweet Jerry who researches all the technical stuff I don’t want to think about while I create. Really these books began over ten years ago when he challenged me to set up a devotional website and mail a weekly devotion to subscribers. His vision led to four amazing years as the Lord sent a few thousand subscribers to walk with me on a spiritual journey in Jesus’ embrace. And from that journey another is birthed, more than ten years later. Stay tuned for information on the Christmas week release of Soul Scents: Awaken.

Blessings,

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My 2015 Christmas Miracle (Part 3)

 

10460208_10206246840584989_5981055260819918600_nResting and healing last spring and summer sometimes felt unproductive and selfish, but the Lord reminded me my self-esteem is based in His perspective of Who I am, not on my ability to perform. My precious husband never pushed me to be productive. In fact, he prayed for me to rest Eventually I relaxed into the healing season and was able to thank God for it.

As fall came the Lord released me to work again. It shouldn’t have surprised me that the insights gained as I rested in God for the previous six month began flowing onto the computer screen as devotions. The fact that I no longer found it painful to write about the hard stuff is a beautiful testament to the healing the Lord gave as I laid down my dreams and looked to Him instead of forcing myself forward.

Striving and stress was non-existent in this work on the devotional book. Since there was no way it could release for 2016, there was no deadline. No inner push. Just writing with God about the great things He showed me.

Then one day the plan changed. And God did it without ramping up the stress levels. It started on a Saturday morning as I jabbered happily to my husband about how I now had almost a year’s worth of devotions in various drafts.

“Wait a minute,” my husband said. “What’s the word count on this book?”

I paused and did the math.

“Oh.”

 

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Because I was using a new program which allowed me to work in small chunks with multiple folders, there wasn’t a word count at the bottom of my screen that reflected the whole project.

“It’s too big for people to hold,” he said.

It dawned then. I had a year-long collection of quarterly volumes, not a single book.

A tiny thought pranced into my mind, “The first book in the series needs very little work.”

But it was November. Too late to follow my dream to release a devotional book for January 1st. Right?

I’d already decided this was not a book I wanted to hand over to traditional publishers, so its journey was just between the Lord, Jerry, and me (and anyone else the Lord invited into the process).

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That day a very talented friend, Lisa-Joy, happened in for a visit. It was a rare treat because I hadn’t seen her in years. She was visiting Colorado, and we reconnected. As we drank our tea she asked what I was writing. When I told her about Soul Scents she offered to do the artwork! Lisa is not only one of the most gifted novelists I’ve read (her books are published under the name Lisa Samson), but her artwork is amazing, and she has recently started her own business offering coloring pages for adults.

Thanks to Lisa’s offer for artwork the niggling thought from the morning stood up tall. I had most of the components in place for a team who could publish a book–and not just a any team. This team was passionate, professional, and gifted.

By Monday, November 30th, Carmen (I told the Carmen story yesterday) and I decided we were going to trust God for a December launch of Awaken, the first book in the Soul Scents devotional series. By the end of the day we had the rest of the team in place!

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The artwork which inspired the cover designs is what you’ve been enjoying throughout this post.

Pay attention to the progression of the design. Note the details–the color choice, the buds, flowers, leaves, the birds. Can’t you feel the maturing of the soul?

Lisa-Joy captured the heart of the Soul Scents message. When God plopped her into my lap He opened the way for a dream I thought was unattainable to become a reality.

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As you dream your own dreams, remember there is ONE who is the Dream-Giver. He not only plants the dreams; He matures and births them. Nineteen years ago, heavy with baby number three growing inside, I surrendered my dream of writing to the One who asked me to slow down and focus on my children.

Over the years He’s slowly shaped the dream, allowing pieces of it to happen as well as asking me to hit pause periodically. But even when I was ready to toss the dream, He didn’t let me.

He keeps seeing my dream through, and He will do the same for you. After all, HE is the Dream-Giver.

Blessings,

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PS Tomorrow I’ll tell you about the rest of the team and show you my amazing collection of all FOUR book covers!

My 2015 Christmas Miracle (Part 2)

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Releasing the week of Christma

God woke me in the middle of the night.

“I said fiction and non-fiction.”

That was it, but I heard Him loud and clear. The next morning–sometime early in 2015–I awoke realizing I’d focused on a fiction project I was writing, but hadn’t thought about where to go next in non-fiction writing even though during some journaling time with the Lord He’d shown me He wanted me to write both fiction and non-fiction. I sat and my computer and stared at multiple files full of ideas. I had no idea which non-fiction book He wanted me to focus upon first.

As I prayed I sensed He wanted me to compile devotions I’d written over a span of ten plus years. I opened the documents and began thinking about what that would look like. The workload felt overwhelming, but I began cutting and pasting and editing and dreaming.

The phone rang. “I’ve been studying software and programs to support authors in the publication of their books,” my friend, Carmen, told me. “Ever since I read your Titanic book it’s been my dream to start my own business helping authors. I’m not a writer, but I’m a reader. I want you to be my first client.”

Stunned, I asked questions, realizing Carmen had the software and systems to take the overwhelming, seemingly impossible task to doable reality, including organizing my multiple files so I could concentrate on writing and editing. We agreed to meet and see where God took us.

Then I called a friend who’d long encouraged me to compile my devotionals into a Soul Scents book. I thought she’d enjoy knowing her friend Carmen and I were dreaming together.

I love God’s timing.

“Just this morning God and I had a talk about you,” she said. “Actually, I was mad. Asking Him why He wasn’t moving you forward with all that content you had already written.”

I’m pretty sure my friend asked the Lord to kick my you-know-what and get me going, even though she didn’t tell phrase it that way. The fact she’d prayed about this particular project that very morning was another confirmation the Lord, Carmen, and I were on the same page.

That was the beginning of the publication saga of Soul Scents~A Spiritual Journey in the Son’s Embrace. At the time it seemed logical and doable, especially when Carmen organized my many files into new software that allowed me to move files more easily as well as work in bit-sized chunks. As time went on, however, I had several set-backs. it looked like my dream for a devotional to release for 2016 was impossible.

My vision for the book was to edit the devotionals I’d written long ago and add to them devotionals from the more recent insights I’d gained. I had my own devotional website in 2004, mailing a weekly devotion to a growing list of subscribers, but when my family went through multiple crises in 2008 I had to take a break.

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My website banner back in 2004

The season which followed was long and difficult. I felt to truly express spiritual insights that weathered the test of time I needed to not only do a deep edit on the content I had already produced, but to also write content from the insights I gleaned in the incredibly difficult years.

My work was start and stop. Sometimes the grief over the struggles we went through would halt the flow of my writing as I sat at the computer and sobbed. Eventually, the LORD asked me to rest. Instead of being productive on the project of my dreams I surrendered to another season of healing. Long walks, caring for my flowers, and visiting with friends and family replaced computer time. Instead of writing devotions most of my writing was once again in my journals. Deep and personal, this writing was about the Lord and I working through the pain together.

Then the Lord asked me to do some brave things that took me into deeper healing around issues not related to those struggle years, but to trauma before that.

Mixed in with all this deep, inner work were multiple get-a-ways. Lovely moments of travel, peace, and joy.

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But when autumn arrived without progress on the Soul Scents book, I gave up on my dream. Comforted by the knowledge I’d rested in God’s plan and direction, I didn’t even grieve too much.

Who knew God still planned to see it through?

Tomorrow I’ll tell you what happened next!

 

Blessings,

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PS This is an on-going saga of the publication of Soul Scents~A Spiritual Journey in the Son’s Embrace. Click here for part 1.

My 2015 Christmas Miracle (Part 1)

SS CollectionToday I’m telling a secret.

Talk about biting the lower lip to keep the old trap shut! Now it’s finally time to share!

It started with a little tap-tap on the shoulder and grew into something more.

Unexpected.

Miraculous.

God’s majesty and provision is ever-present. But maybe sometimes He likes to show off for His kids in a really personal way.

Or maybe it’s not showing off. Maybe it’s simply LOVE.

Here’s the big news. It is totally a “God-thing.”

My latest book releases Christmas week!

Called Soul Scents~A Spiritual Journey in the Son’s Embrace, the devotional set offers 52 weeks of week-day devotions. The writing spans more than a decade of my discovery of a God Who is more graceful and loving than I ever dreamed. Meeting Him in this way truly changed my life, and I can’t begin to describe the joy I feel at sharing with others what He has shown me. Offering this series is like offering the most precious treasures of my heart.

God is not Who I once thought He was.

He is so much more and so much better than I ever dreamed.

His love has depths I’ve yet to plum and heights I’ve yet to climb. His grace is bafflingly beautiful. But what I have grasped is more than enough to re-shape my schemata of life. I pray Soul Scents is a tool the Lord uses to do the same for readers.

Each day this week I’ll share a tid-bit about the miraculous journey to Soul Scent’s Christmas release and why it’s the project of my heart.PMApprov1-01

Watch for details on the first book in the series, Soul Scents: Awaken, which releases Christmas week offering devotions for the first 13 weeks of 2016.

One of the things I’m especially excited about is Amazon’s Kindle program which will allow us to offer the digital version on periodic free days. What a wonderful way to get the word out about Who He is and the love and passion He has for us!

Two *Free* days will be scheduled for Christmas week so readers can begin the spiritual journey with Soul Scents the very first day of 2016.

I can’t wait to shout from the roof tops (or at least the blogoshere) how God orchestrated what I’m calling my Christmas miracle. Tomorrow’s post goes way back to the beginning!