Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Confession Of A Time-trasher

If I were to name one of my greatest personal struggles it would be time management.

Courtesy of Faithwalk Photography
My mind is naturally wired to think of the most complicated route possible from point A to B, thus I often imagine a task to be more monstrous than it really is. Also, for most of my formidable years, I took great satisfaction in my undisciplined, time-trasher personality. My life would not be shackled with schedules and planners. Instead I'd be free; free to lead a life of spontaneity and adventure—until it dawned on me I was really wandering in the wilderness trapped between Mount Frustration and the Red Sea of purposeless days. It was a humbling moment. It was also the moment I begged the Lord to teach me how to be a good steward of time.

I share this, because I know time management is a deep struggle for many. Maybe even for you. With the Lord's help, my heart toward time is changing. He is answering my cry to steward this precious gift. But notice I stated that in the present tense: I've moved from crawling to a toddling walk where I often lose my balance and have to get up again. In fact I've hesitated to write anything on time management because I have too many people in my life who know I stumble here often. So I confess right here: I stumble often. If you're looking for tips from a marathon time-runner I'm the last one you want. But if you'd grateful to know a few baby steps my Heavenly Father has taught me, may I please share three questions that have helped me greatly?

How Much Time Do I Realistically Have?

For years, I would look at the 16 waking hours I have and expect to conquer 16 hours worth of work every day. And then I wondered why I fell in bed every night frustrated I hadn't met my goals. In reality, once you account the time we must allot for sleeping, eating, taking the dog outside, cooking healthy meals, washing clothes, carpets, counters, children, and a host of other things, it's amazing we have any time left.
Something that has been helpful for me is writing out how many hours I spend on eating, sleeping personal care, household chores and other daily necessities required to maintain a healthy life and safe home. If we were to compare this to a budget, it would be the equivalent of listing your living expenses so you know how much extra money you truly have each month. This has helped to realistically plan other projects and make sure I don't steal time I need to meet basic life needs.

How Can I Build Around Natural Daily Rhythms?

How did God order time? Do the seasons just appear in random order? (Is there even such a thing as random order?) No. Spring has always followed winter and there is no fall harvest before summer's heat. In all God's ordering of time, we see natural rhythms. One example of natural rhythms is most people work their finest in the morning. Will-power is strongest early in the day as well as creativity. Yet how many of us have put off important projects until past bedtime? (raises a guilty hand)

Now granted, I realize not everyone has the circumstances to pattern their life perfectly. I have friends who would not be serving their families well if they blocked off all mornings and know many a young mother must plan her projects around little ones. But if we can, why not take advantage of the best rhythms in our day and strive to work with them instead of against them?

What Are My Top Priorities?

One of the things that has helped me the most is planning my day around priorities. Before I lived in “crises management” and typically responded to the most urgent task instead of the most important. This caught me in an endless cycle of rushing from one crises to the next. But if we are ever going to be good time stewards, we must have a greater purpose than we kept the world from falling apart today. Rather we must learn how to structure our day around the long-term (priorities) instead of the short-term (crises). For me this means very Sunday I make a list of commitments and goals for the coming week and then prioritize them. The most important are scheduled for the first of the week, with the lessor scheduled later. Then every night, I repeat the same pattern for the next day, scheduling top priorities for the morning and “would like to do, but can wait” activities later in the day.

Time is a precious gift; it's takes ever-growing diligence and discernment to steward it as unto the Lord. Some of us will struggle more than others, but we gain ground if we are teachable and don't lose heart. My prayer is these thoughts from a recovering time-trasher will help you to that end.
Do you have any time management lessons the Lord has taught you? Please pass on the blessing and share in the comments. You know you'll have at least one thankful reader (me :))! 

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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Between The Rains

Have you ever experienced a "drought" in your work? 
Courtesy of Faithwalk Photography
I have -- and I sure hope some else is also nodding their head so I'm not the only one. ;) But truly, have you been there...or are you there now? Are you wandering in a wilderness, low on morale and direction? Or maybe you have ideas by the flood, but giants loom in your way ready to smash opportunity again. You pray. You dare to step out and put seed money behind your idea. Now you're awaiting harvest and it's been a longer wait than you bargained for.

I've met these dry spells in nearly all my cottage industries or business ventures. They typically hit about the second year, when I'm too far in to go back, but still woefully short of seeing results. By that point, the first flush of my enthusiasm has waned, difficulties are rising, funds are evaporating (quickly!) and I knew enough to know I'd never signed up for this if I'd had all this knowledge at the get-go (don't you feel better now knowing you aren't the only one?). I'm standing in the stretch between seed-time and harvest. I'm in between the rains.

So how can we not lose heart while waiting for rain? More than that, how can we use the dearth to grow instead of wilt? Here are some things the Lord has helped me glean during my times of drought.

Reconsider Motives

The truth is not everything we jump into springs from a leap of faith. Dry seasons bring good fire for purifying our motives and testing if we're truly following God's call or our own ambitions. 

 Remain Teachable

When I was sixteen I started a side business that took twice the time, labor and investment I originally thought. Again it was that second year that about broke my spirit to push on. At my lowest point, the Lord blessed me with a breakthrough, but it looked so different from what I envisioned I almost missed it. It took the counsel of my family to penetrate my fog of discouragement and give me the courage to try walking on water again. Oh, and true to nature, the Lord met me out on the waves and used the opportunity I nearly scorned to bless me. No matter how discouraged you become always keep a teachable heart and an open mind.

 Research: Scripture First; Man's Words Next

Sometimes we need a famine to drive us to the Manna of the Word. Whatever questions you are facing in your cottage industry (Am I using the right marketing format, should I take on debt or should I even be doing this?) open your Bible first. Seek your wisdom and knowledge there and God will lead you in the way you should go. 
Courtesy of Faithwalk Photography

After arming yourself with the mind of Christ, research everything you can find that is related  to your field and challenge. Some of it will be folly but some will be full of good counsel; the filter of God's word will tell you the difference.

Respond By Asking

Sometime ago, a friend shared with me a tremendous blessing the Lord gave her after she simply asked Him for it. It convicted me. I too had a writing-related need, but hadn't even thought to seek the Lord for it until I heard my friend's story. Multiple Bible verses promise our Father will answer when we call on Him. Yes, at times that answer is a wait or "I have something better". But what if it is a yes - an abundantly above all you could ask or imagine kind of yes!

 Resolve To Trust

When lack of rain causes the ground to crack beneath our feet the temptation always arises to blame God. Don't! Contrary to pop belief, murmuring against God is sin because it is direct rebellion against His commands to trust Him. Take it from someone who has scooted too close to the hole: you don't want to wallow in this swamp. Instead trust the Lord. If your mind is already twisted with bitterness against Him, repent and ask Jesus to cleanse this unrighteousness from your heart. Take a step toward filling your mind with truth and trust by memorizing Psalm 37. Let your motto be as Job's who said, "though he slay me, yet will I trust in him..." (Job 13:15)

Friend, regardless of our work field, there will be seasons of rain and drought. May we fix our eyes on the Captain of our salvation, looking to Him for a reward greater than any earthly business or industry can give.

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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Me? Teach Piano? ~ New Guidebook For Piano Teachers

Have you thought about teaching piano? Or have you been asked, yet you're a little (or a lot) intimidated? "Me? Teach Piano?" by Amanda Tero, fully captures the fears of starting your piano studio and, in a down-to-earth style, giving you hope to conquer those fears. This booklet contains ideas, suggestions, and advice based on Amanda's experience. Consider it a layman's approach to teaching piano, from one teacher to another.

About the Book
"You play piano? Could you teach my daughter?" The parent looks too desperate to turn down, yet your thoughts run wild. "Me? Teach piano? I can barely play myself! Do they know what they're trying to get themselves into?!"

"Me? Teach Piano?" is a simple guide to clear up some of your questions as you learn a down-to-earth approach to creating piano policies, interacting with students, and choosing the correct curriculum.

Purchase on Amazon

My Review

Though I'm not a piano teacher, I was honored to be a beta-reader for Me? Teach Piano?! Amanda has a relaxed style in writing that made you feel like she was sitting there talking with you. She addressed many situations an aspiring teacher needs to think through and wrote in a manner that was easy to understand, so you don't need a Masters in musical jargon (signs with relief ;)). If you're looking for a simple, practical guide for jumping into teaching piano, I'd highly recommend Me? Teach Piano?!

Click the link below to enter a giveaway of one PRINT copy of Me? Teach Piano? 

About the Author:
Amanda Tero is a Christian music teacher, currently residing in Mississippi. She has played piano since the age of seven, studying classical performance, theory, and arranging from various teachers.  She began teaching private piano and violin lessons in 2007, equipping church musicians with a balance of classical and hymn education.

Connect with Amanda
Email: withajoyfulnoise@gmail.com

Blog Tour
July 27, 2016 (release day)

August 1, 2016

August 2, 2016

August 4, 2016

August 8, 2016

Just As I Am ~ New Mail-order Bride Novella from Author Faith Blum

Faith Blum's latest novella is available! This one is double trouble! Not only is it about twins, but these twins have reckless and adventurous spirits. When they go against their family, they run into more trouble than they bargained for.

About the Novella

Just as I am, without one plea
But that Thy blood was shed f or me
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Eve and Evangeline Collins are adventurous twins who decide to take a risk and head west as mail order brides. Their parents are less than pleased, but do nothing to stop them. Eve and Eva don’t realize their danger until they stop just outside Cheyenne. Will they ever see their family again? 

My review

 I was honored to be a beta-reader for Just As I Am! Keeping in spirit with Faith's style, Just As I Am had a fun, light-hearted feel, yet straight-forward message of seeking God's will when considering a future spouse. Having five sisters, I quickly identified with Eva and Eve's comradely and thought their sistership was very sweet. I also appreciated how Faith showed one of the sisters being willing to surrender the man she admired to the Lord (you'll have to read the rest of the story to find out if she ever got him back :)).

While I found Just As I Am a clean read overall, a few areas did concern me. The main one being Eve and Eva journeyed west against their parents wishes. In the sisters' case, relationships with their family was eventually restored, but it may possibly send a confusing signal to younger readers that wise counsel can be ignored and everything still works out well in the end.

Find Your Copy Here At Amazon 



 About the Author

Faith Blum started writing at an early age. She started even before she could read! She even thought she could write better than Dr. Seuss. Now that she has grown up a little more, she knows she will probably never reach the success of Dr. Seuss, but that doesn’t stop her from trying.
When she isn’t writing, Faith enjoys doing many right-brained activities such as reading, crafting, playing piano, and playing games with her family. One of her dreams is to visit Castle City, Montana, to see the ghost town she chose for her characters to live in. She currently lives on a hobby farm with her family in Wisconsin.


Enter for the giveaway for an Amazon gift card and copy of Just As I Am!!

This giveaway is open internationally. Please enter using the widget or link below.

 Note: Interviews and featured authors on HRH are for educational purposes only. Some beliefs and views expressed here or in the material of those who are interviewed, may not reflect those held by HRH. As always prove all things and hold fast to what is good. (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Letter of Love ~ New Short Story From Author Amanda Tero

Can a sister's letter of love, bring hope to her lost brother?

An Orphan Journeys Short Stories
Letter of Love (Edward's Story, 1902)
By Amanda Tero

Edward Dixon is convinced that life is cruel, and he is not willing for anything to change his mind from that. A letter from his sister, Marie, reveals that she views life otherwise. Will her letter, filled with love and forgiveness, make a difference in Edward's life? Or will he stubbornly refuse to change before it's too late?
(A short story sequel to the novella, Journey to Love. Can be read as a stand-alone.)

My Review

So excited to be reviewing another short story from my friend, Amanda Tero!! For those who read Journey To Love and
wondered what happened to Edward, Amanda's latest release answers the question. Letter Of Love is a short, but powerful illustration of what an eternal difference a gesture of love can make. Without giving the story away, this story was a beautiful reminder that - whether we ever see it or not - charity never fails! Like all Amanda's books, Letter of Love's message is for the whole family and a great tool to teach children not to grow weary in the labor for souls!

Purchase Link

About the Author
Amanda Tero is a homeschool graduate who desires to provide God-honoring, family-friendly reading material. She has enjoyed writing since before ten years old, but it has only been since 2013 that she began seriously pursuing writing again – starting with some short stories that she wrote for her sisters as a gift. Her mom encouraged her to try selling the stories she published, and since then, she has begun actively writing short stories, novellas, and novels. If something she has written draws an individual into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ, it is worth it!

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5)

Connect with Amanda
Email: amandaterobooks@gmail.com

Purchase Link

Enter the Giveaway

Enter the US giveaway for a paperback of Journey To Love and Letter of Love!

Enter the International giveaway for an ebook of Journey To Love and Letter of Love!

Blog Tour Schedule

To see other readers thoughts on Letter of Love, hop onto these other blogs now!
July 20, 2016

July 21, 2016

July 23, 2016
Honey Rock Hills - http://www.honeyrockhills.com/

July 25, 2016

July 27, 2016
Christian Author A.M. Heath - http://amheathblog.wordpress.com/

August 1, 2016
With a Joyful Noise (wrap-up) - http://withajoyfulnoise.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Old River Road ~ New American Frontier Novel from Author Ivy Rose

Meet Ivy Rose and her debut novel, The Old River Road. This book is the first in a series of a yet-to-be-determined number of books based on the lives of the author’s ancestors. Written in a style similar to that of Janette Oke and Laura Ingalls Wilder, this is a story you won’t want to miss.


When seventeen-year-old Clara Boutwell married her dashing coworker, William McDonald, she was convinced her life was near perfect. The journey before them as newlyweds in the great city of Chicago was promising and exciting. But a frightening disease soon takes William in its grip, forcing them to the clean air of the western frontier in a desperate attempt to save his life. But pioneering doesn’t prove to be easy, with miles between neighbors instead of fences. On the eastern Washington prairies, the McDonalds face hardships and trials in a new world where everything is tested, from physical endurance to emotional strength—down to their relationship and faith in the Lord.
This novel tells the incredible true story of Clara and William, the great-great grandparents of the author, in a sweet narrative full of laughter, tears, and the struggles of an early pioneering family. Prepare yourself to share in their experience as you read this account of a pioneer family in Washington state, and see their lasting legacy that has endured into the fifth generation.

Available now in paperback and ebook on Amazon

My Review

I found The Old River Road to be a very sweet and charmingly refreshing novel to read! From William and Clara's beautiful love story to their heartaches and triumph on the prairie I was reminded again and again of the incredible importance family, community and the strength of the Lord have in each of our lives.  I enjoyed Ivy's gentle writing style and the honor she paid to William and Clara's commitment to each other and to the Lord. I am looking forward to following novels in the Long Lake Legacy series. 

About the Author: Ivy Rose is an 18 year old history lover and literary enthusiast. Aside from writing, she enjoys being outdoors, chocolate, traveling, reading, and ATVing (preferably if there is mud involved). She resides with her family of 9 on the banks of the Long Lake in eastern Washington.

You can connect with Ivy via her blog, Goodreads, and Pinterest

Interview with Ivy Rose!

In preparing for the release of The Old River Road, I had the honor of interviewing Ivy and learning more about the process and message behind her novel!

(Kenzi) What lead you to write The Old River Road? Basically, what is the “story behind the story”? :)
(Ivy) It started eight years ago, when I stumbled across Clara’s memoirs in a box of old documents. I remember thinking, “Wow, this is so cool! Someone should write a book about this!”

(Kenzi) I really enjoy reading authors who have taken an ancestor and written about his or her life! What was especially helpful to you as you researched William and Clara’s lives?
(Ivy) The most helpful thing was talking to the real people who actually knew them and their children. They were able to give me little tidbits of stories that I was able to dissect and figure out personality traits from.

(Kenzi) What is a special moment or memory you have from when you were writing The Old River Road?
(Ivy) I can recall one morning around 2 a.m. when I started to think I must have completely lost my sanity trying to write the book. Then I realized I had lost it long before…or else I wouldn’t be up at 2 a.m. writing! :)

(Kenzi) What is the message you hope The Old River Road will convey to readers?
(Ivy) The main message I hope to convey is that even in the most frustrating and difficult circumstances, God still reigns. William and Clara went through a lot of hard stuff in their life, yet the people who knew them said that they were always smiling. Their lives were such a testimony to those they knew personally. Though they departed from this earth long ago, I hope that through the book, I can carry on the legacy they left.  

(Kenzi) A fourteen year old girl comes up to you and says, “I think God is calling me to write for Him.” What advice would you give her?
(Ivy) I’d tell her to not ever forget that it is Him she is writing for. She can do anything she wants to, with God at her side.

Thanks so much for sharing, Ivy! Congratulations on the debut of The Old River Road! :D


~Blog Tour Schedule~

Drop in on each of the following blogs for more reviews, interviews and more during release week for The Old River Road!

Friday, July 8th (release day!)

Emily  — Review, Spotlight

Jesseca Wheaton — Review, Interview

Saturday, July 9th

Olivia K. Fisher  — Interview, Spotlight

Faith Blum  — Review, Interview, Spotlight

Hannah E.  — Review, Interview

Monday, July 11th

Faith Potts  – Review

Rebecca Morgan  — Review, Interview

Tuesday, July 12th

Abigayle Ellison  — Review, Spotlight

Kenzi Knapp  – Review, Interview

Hosanna Emily  — Review, Interview

Wednesday, July 13th

Blessing Counter  — Interview

Victoria Minks  — Review, Spotlight

Thursday, July 14th

Deborah C.  — Review, Spotlight

Anna S. Brie  — Review

Leona G. — Review, Interview

Friday, July 15th

Hope Ann — Review, Interview

Amanda Tero — Review, Interview

Anika Joy – Review, Interview

The Old River Road Prize Pack International Prize

 Note: Interviews and featured authors on HRH are for educational purposes only. Some beliefs and views expressed here or in the material of those who are interviewed, may not reflect those held by HRH. As always prove all things and hold fast to what is good. (1 Thessalonians 5:21)