What Are You Reaping?

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In honor of last week’s entrance into autumn and because I stared at this verse every day for the past week due to my son’s Bible Memorization quiz today, this post is on sowing and reaping. 🙂 Galatians 6:7 says:

Do not be deceived. God cannot be mocked. For whatever one sows that also will he reap. For the one who sows in the flesh will from the flesh reap corruption. But the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

It’s harvest time. After waiting patiently, tending the land with meticulous care, farmers are gathering the fruits of their labors, being rewarded for their diligence. It’s hard labor. A lot of long sweaty days staring at nothing but dirt. Watering the ground. Keeping the pests away. But all so worth it when the barn is full, right?

In our lives, it’s sometimes hard to “sow” the right thing. Like being thankful when life is putting the squeeze on you. Or planting seeds of kindness to that particular person that knows the exact words to get under your skin. Hang in there, friend. You will reap a harvest. God cannot be mocked.

In high school, there was a kid in my Latin class who got unmercifully picked-on, the center of ridicule. I sat beside him. Even though I was one of the youngest in the class, (an eighth grader in a room with juniors and seniors,) I endeavored to be kind to this boy. Not flirtatious but friendly. Day in and day out, I continued this thread of kindness knowing full well the tide could turn any time, and I could be the object of cruelty. When the school year ended, he graduated and that was the end of it. Or so it seemed…

Four years later, my seventeen-year-old self was driving home from work and red and blue lights swirled in my rearview mirror. I let out a heavy sigh. I was going 47 in a 35 zone. When I turned off the car, I was approached by the officer. My eyeballs almost popped from their sockets. Because the cop was none other than the kid who was bullied—all grown-up and bearing a badge. He remembered me, talked with me for a little while, and guess what? Totally let me go with no ticket, nothing on my record. Phew! I was one thankful girl!

I’m convinced that because I sown in kindness years ago, I reaped that very thing. He treated me exactly how I treated him back in eighth grade—with benevolence and sympathy.

So friend, keep on sowing the seeds of love and mercy. Plant compassion and gentleness. You may not reap tomorrow, or next week or even next month, but you will receive your harvest in God’s perfect timing.

And now for the giveaway! The randomly-selected winner of Roseanna White’s A Lady Unrivaled is. . . Connie Scruggs! Congrats, Connie 🙂

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A Lady Unrivaled Book Review

 

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I love Christian fiction. Plain and simple. But for me, certain genres hold a heavier draw when it comes to selecting my next read. Historical Romance is one such magnet. Throw in Edwardian England, witty banter, and a spunky redheaded heroine, and it’s like literature bliss. And you can find such novelicious delight in Roseanna M. White’s A Lady Unrivaled. (And just for the record, I think the cover is stunning!)

Here’s the blurb.

Lady Ella Myerston can always find a reason to smile–even if it’s just in hope that tomorrow will be better than today. All her life everyone has tried to protect her from the realities of the world, but Ella knows very well the danger that has haunted her brother and their friend, and she won’t wait for it to strike again. She intends to take action . . . and if that happens to involve an adventurous trip to the Cotswolds, then so much the better.

Lord Cayton has already broken two hearts, including that of his first wife, who died before he could convince himself to love her. Now he’s determined to live a better life. But that proves complicated when old friends arrive on the scene and try to threaten him into a life of crime. He does his best to remove the intriguing Lady Ella from danger, but the stubborn girl won’t budge. How else can he redeem himself, though, but by saving her–and his daughter–from those dangerous people who seem ready to destroy them all?

Here’s my take:

It’s fabulous.

 

Okay I’ll dole out more than that. 🙂

A Lady Unrivaled is the third story in the Ladies of the Manor series. I haven’t read the previous novels yet, so I can confidently say this can be read as a standalone. (But because this book was soooo good, I’m going to snatch the first two in the near future 😉  )

Lady Ella captured my attention with her love-even-the-small-moments attitude. She’s bright, witty, and has a tender heart. It’s no wonder everyone in her circle is bent on protecting her. But, she proves there’s a difference between being kind-natured and being naïve. Her love for those around her drives her to get to the mystery behind the legend of the Fire Eyes diamonds, and if it takes working hand-in-hand with the handsome Lord Cayton, then all more worth it!

The hero, Lord Cayton, has a shady history which haunts him daily. He longs to be the man God wants him to be, but isn’t certain he’s strong enough, especially when his old trouble-making friends come knocking. His character arc is phenomenal. I won’t spoil it, but the growth in this man is believable and spectacular.

On to my favorite part—the romance. Let me just say I wasn’t disappointed. The sparks between the main characters flicker from the first chapter and increase in fire as the pages turn.

I won’t divulge anymore because it’s one of those things you have to read for yourself. Annnnd that being said, how about a giveaway?! Comment below to have a chance to win a kindle version of A Lady Unrivaled. The giveaway is open until Tuesday (Sept. 27) 7PM. Visit next week to see if your the winner 🙂

And while you’re in the mind of visiting social media pages here’s how you can connect with author Roseanna M. White.

Here’s her bio:

Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two small children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels and novellas, ranging from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her new British series. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to make their way into her novels…to offset her real life, which is blessedly boring. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com.

You can signup for her Newsletter in the link below.

http://bit.ly/RoseannaWhiteNewsletter

Twitter: @RoseannaMWhite

FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/RoseannaMWhite/

And if you just CAN’T WAIT until the giveaway results and want to dive right into A Lady Unrivaled, then here’s the amazon link:

https://www.amazon.com/Lady-Unrivaled-Ladies-Manor/dp/0764213520/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1474412438&sr=1-1&keywords=a+lady+unrivaled

So I told you one of my favorite genres to read, what is yours? Tell me about it in the comments. And don’t forget to check back next Wednesday for the announcement of the winner of A Lady Unrivaled Kindle giveaway 🙂

*I received a free copy of A Lady Unrivaled in exchange for an honest review.*

The Beauty of the Blossom

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Humid air clogged my lungs. Exhaustion from the day before drenched my desire for exercise, like the morning’s dew through my Skechers. The steri-strips on my legs reminded me the excursion was “required.”

So the monotonous routine commenced—ambling ‘round in the cemetery behind my house for the next thirty minutes. Nothing but the crunch of gravel under my feet and the squawking of birds above my head. Same old, same old, until…I spied it.

Amongst the early-fallen leaves and overgrown shrubs stood a solitary daffodil.

I stared at the vibrant yellow flower for several heartbeats, snapped the picture you’ve seen above, and experienced a total “God-Moment.”

Daffodils bloom early spring, blossoming even before the trees are filled with leaves.

That’s what made my discovery all the more extraordinary. It was September seventh. Almost fall. All the other daffodils are wilted, disintegrated, but this one stood tall and bright, alone and beautiful.While everything else around is dying, it’s fresh with life.

Here it is, friend. Our prayers may not blossom when we expect them to. We may have been staring at the tilled soil of our lives, wondering, waiting for something to bloom. Hold onto your faith, unwavering. Do not toss aside your hope. The seed is in the ground. Your dream will bloom. It may not me your timing, but it will be God’s. Just like the daffodil, He makes everything beautiful in its time. He’s not slack concerning His promises.

And honestly, when you receive your blessing, I believe you’ll value it more than if you’d received it instantaneously. To me, that was the prettiest daffodil I’ve ever seen. (my sorry snapshot didn’t do it justice :/ ) It was unique, almost a treasure.

I believe there’s beauty in endurance. There’s something fascinating about having a full confidence in God even when it looks like nothing will flourish. Keep watering your heart with His word, trusting the sunshine of His presence to bring about results in your life. Don’t become weary in doing good for in due time you will reap a harvest if you do not faint.  🙂

The God-Flavor

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Baking with a ten-year-old can be challenging. Especially when he tells you he wants to cook all by himself. He did fairly well, but I admit there were a few times I stepped in when he wasn’t looking to add this or that. But what was so memorable about this peanut butter cookie bash was the conversation. We talked about…salt. It kinda went like this.

Child: So salt is in everything! Like every food we eat has salt in it.

Me: Well, not everything, but it’s in most of our foods. Salt brings out the flavor. Makes it taste better.

Then it hit. Salt draws out…the flavor. And what did Jesus liken us to in Matthew 5:13?

You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its flavor, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled on by people.

Salt. We are the salt of the earth. Our job in this crazy world is to bring out the God-flavor. This unseasoned earth can get a taste of God through us. The Psalmist said taste and see that the Lord is good. But how do we reach the ones who won’t step foot in a church, who don’t own a Bible? How is the world going to “taste” God? Through you. And through me.

We are the salt.

In this godless society, we are to flavor the earth with God’s presence. And that’s why it’s a tragedy when salt loses its flavor. When our zeal for God becomes insipid, when our passion for showing truth to those around us becomes dull, we are no longer good for the world.

I’ve heard this preached before, but it never clicked until the day in the kitchen. My son, who had no clue all these fabulous Bible truths were spinning around in my head, looked at me and said, “Mom, you want to hear a story about salt?”

Then he relayed this: (I’m going to do my best to keep this true to his wording 🙂 )

A father had three daughters. He asked each one how much they loved him. The first one said she loved him more than diamonds. The father liked that. The second daughter said she loved him more than gold. The father liked that, too. The last daughter said she loved him more than salt. The father didn’t like that. He got mad. The third daughter asked the cooks not to put any salt in the dinner. The father took a bite of his food and got angry because it tasted so bad. Then the third daughter said, “See Father, I love you more than salt.”

This story made me smile. One because my son is the best ten-year-old story-teller around and two because I saw its meaning. The father didn’t realize how much he depended on salt. He was enthralled with the flashy gold and diamond answers but didn’t consider how valuable and necessary salt was to his everyday living. His life became tasteless and bland without it. Friends, this world doesn’t know it, but they need God. This tasteless society craves the reality of God, but is too consumed with empty treasures to notice.

So I encourage you to be the “salt” that brings out the God-flavor everywhere you go today. Season your conversation with grace. Sprinkle love into your actions. Let the world taste and see the Lord is good…through you.