Aug 30, 2013

Fitness Friday: Intentional Fitness - the Long Road to Print

It’s said that no matter how long the road, the walk down that road starts with one step. My first step was on 12/2/1995:

"This is the beginning of my “I wanna teach” journal…a place to collect thoughts, analogies, themes, and inspirations on possible preaching subjects."

Then a little more than a month later, I realized the road was not a freeway:

Aug 26, 2013

MultiColor Monday: Try Something NEW Today

Greetings, everyone!

And welcome to MultiColor Monday.

With technology today we are blessed to have instant access to words of encouragement that will lift our spirits. Many talented writers have blogs, websites, and Facebook pages where they share what God has placed on their hearts. Each one has a unique way of weaving a tapestry of hope with their words.

Starting today, I'm going to set aside each Monday to share a theme from the wealth of words I am blessed to read.  When you click on the links below, a new window will open where you can read (and respond to) the author's message.

Aug 23, 2013

Fitness Friday: Intentional Fitness, Countdown Continues

Over the past few weeks I’ve shared some of the content from Intentional Fitness: Working Out Your Salvation so Others Can See Jesus. Today I’d like to introduce my fabulous cover girl Lucy, created by my fabulous niece Katlan.

Heeeeeeere’s Lucy!   

She has a little bit of attitude, likes to have fun, and has lots of class and style. Most of all, she loves Jesus.

This is her trademark “Hi, pleased to meet you” pose. As I write books, she’ll be sporting a variety of different looks to help illustrate what the book is about.

And speaking of illustration, her creator, Katlan Graziano, has always enjoyed drawing, and the challenge of creating and illustrating characters.  Lucy is not her first published character.  Among others she has created is a messy pig named Greg who taught children about manners.  Katlan recently graduated from JMU, and is looking forward to future illustration opportunities.

When we first started talking about cover ideas for this and future books, it was Katlan’s idea to create a central character who could be on all the books. Here's Lucy on her debut cover, and a short excerpt from the back of the cover.

“Therefore, my dear friends . . . continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling . . .” Philippians 2:12 (NIV). We know how to work out our problems, work the kinks out of our backs, and work out at the gym, but we’re not exactly sure how to work out our salvation.  Is this working out of salvation anything like other work-outs with which we are familiar? Will this work-out take discipline, denial, and diet? Will this work-out require intentional effort, possibly even a daily commitment?

The answers are yes, yes, and yes.

I’m so excited and humbled to see how God is bringing everything together for the re-release of my first book. Katlan and I are in the final review stages now, so the book should be ready for release by the first week of September.

I don’t know what He has planned for this book or for any others, I just know I need to write them and put them in His hands. I am so blessed when my fingers are on the keyboard and words are pouring out! Our God is amazing in how He creates us, and then gives us gifts and talents that bring Him glory and fill us with such joy.

Happy Fitness Friday!  Give someone you love a BIG hug today, and be thankful God brought them into your life!

COMING NEXT WEEK:  The original idea behind the book, and the top 10 suggested uses for the book.

TODAY’S CHALLENGE:  What gift or talent has the Lord given you that brings Him glory and blesses your socks off? Are you spending your talent, or hiding it under a bushel?  God longs to see you shine brightly with His joy in a world that so desperately needs Him!

Aug 16, 2013

Fitness Friday - Counting Down to INTENTIONAL FITNESS Release!

STAYING FIT (excerpt from Chapter 4)
When working out at the gym, it’s not uncommon to have someone review all of the equipment with us and help us determine which equipment will bring the most benefit. For eating right, we may consult books and other avenues that can help us know which food will be best. In both cases, we are looking to an expert who has experience and can guide us along.
Spiritually, in addition to the Bible, we have the Holy Spirit—the Counselor, Helper, and Guide—as our expert. We need to learn more about how to hear His voice and allow Him to rule our lives. I’ve already mentioned the first step to knowing His voice, which is reading the Bible so that we can know God and what He says about us. The next step is getting things out of the way that interfere with His voice.

Aug 9, 2013

Coming Soon: Intentional Fitness

Have you ever made up your mind to start an exercise program?

You join the gym and the staff leads you on a tour of the exciting new world of shiny equipment that will transform your body in just a few short months. Your eyes light up and you set your mind saying, “This time it will work. I will come to the gym. I will make the time.” For the first few weeks, all is going well. You are motivated to make your schedule work, and nothing stands in your way.

Then it starts to get a little old—same time, same routine, same equipment. What was once shiny and new becomes bothersome and mundane. Concurrently, the busyness of life sets in. Kids need rides to soccer practice, help with their homework.

And well, they need to eat.

Aug 2, 2013

Fitness Friday: Daniel Fast Reflections


I feel like a 2-year old on the last leg of a 3-hour car trip to Grandma’s, asking every 5 minutes if we’re “there yet”.  For me, “there” is tomorrow:  the day when I am no longer on my fast and can eat anything I want. 
Of course, I really want to eat it NOW.

But I won’t.  This close to the finish line, I can’t quit the race.  (Even though I really want to!)
“Focus, Mary…not on the food you can’t have, but on how thankful you are for the awesome results of the past 3 weeks and all the Lord has revealed to you.”

And I am incredibly and overwhelmingly thankful!