Wednesday, September 18, 2013

I would like you all to meet one of my favorite people, S. D. Grimm. She's one of my critters (critique partner) so I'm particularly excited for her to be officially published! I'll let her introduce her newly released novella. 
And now. Here she is ....
First of all, I want to thank Jenn for being gracious enough to let me post on her blog today. I am so excited about the release of my novella, BREATHLESS.
What if one touch could unlock a thousand memories?
Eighteen year old Claire Summers has a rare gift she must keep secret, she's a Breather—someone who can see other people's memories by touching an object they've touched.When she stumbles across a memory of her friend in danger, she'll do anything to help rescue him. The problem is, her secret will be revealed. If the wrong people find our about her ability, they'll hunt her because Breathers are powerful weapons.
I started writing when I was … well I actually can’t remember not writing. It’s kinda my thing. I love fantasy—epic, urban, sword and sorcery, all of it—so that’s what I write.
The way I look at it, God blesses us with talents and makes us passionate about them so we’ll use our talents. You can learn more about me and what I’m writing on my website: www.sdgrimm.com                                                      
Breathless is an urban fantasy. For those of you unfamiliar with whatever that is, it’s fantasy set in a city, sometimes it’s in the future, sometimes present.
The story takes place in a few cities—Podunk towns actually. Yup, there’s a road trip involved, and it’s in this awesome, awesome ride.
                                                                           
Photo Credit: John Rosa
                                          
Yeah, I know. 
And for your reading pleasure, here’s an excerpt:
My shoes crushed the thick grass. Thunder rumbled in the distance. Damp, summer air swirled around me unable to cut through the heavy fog. Headstones, cracked and crooked, spread across the grassy hill. I’d been here before. My dreams often brought me to this cemetery. The full moon lit my way down a familiar path. Even though I was dreaming, I was chilly in my tank top and shorts.
I headed toward the tallest headstone on the hill’s crest. No flowers or American flags decorated this soul’s final resting place. I reached out, like I had the other times I’d dreamed this, and I knew what to expect. Before I could touch the stone, my subconscious would pull me back and I’d wake on my bouncing bed feeling like I’d fallen from somewhere high.
The rough stone was cool beneath my fingers.
Three translucent figures walked away from me, passing through the untouched fog. Two men, one held a young boy’s hand, the other followed them. The boy looked so familiar. They walked through the headstones littering the hillside as if they were insubstantial, and then flickered out.
My hand jerked back. A chill skittered across my chest and spread over my whole body leaving me with goose bumps. Heart racing, I willed myself to wake.
I didn’t.
My chest tightened. Was I dreaming or not?  Thunder rolled closer. I backed away from the creepy headstone and stepped on something slippery. Arms flailing, I lost my balance. I landed in the moist grass. Pain shot up my elbow as it connected with rock.
“Back here. Quick.” The whisper turned my blood to ice.
“I’m dreaming,” I said aloud since this was too freaky to be real.
“Dream? No, sweetheart, you’re in a trance. Snap out of it or whatever it is you Breathers do.” The stranger’s voice rasped.
I froze, watching him inch closer. Breather? What was he talking about? My head cleared like a fan turned on and blew the fog from my brain, and I realized my situation. I so wasn’t dreaming. This was real. This was real?
I faced the stranger hiding behind a headstone and caught a glimpse of his rifle. Oh holy night.

It's Jenn again. Like what you read? Buy it for $.99 here. After you've devoured it, give it a great review. Then be on the lookout for her incredible series: Children of the Blood Moon.
                                                  His servant,
~Jenn

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Steward Ship

With all that I've been through with my health lately, I'm learning we’re to be called to be good stewards of ALL God has given us … including our bodies.
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” ~1 Corinthians 3:16
Think about it. What good are we to God if we don’t have the energy to do His will? What if we’re too sick? What if we become a burden to others? Please don’t misunderstand me. God has a purpose for everything, including illness. People get sick and hurt. God might use it to teach you or others valuable lessons. We may not know until we meet Him. In the meantime, while we have the chance, we should take care of the Holy Temple God has given us to house His Holy Spirit.
Less than a year ago, I was told I had diabetes. I took that wakeup call seriously. Before it progressed and I became insulin dependent, I cut sugar out of my diet and ate healthier. My dedication paid off. A few months later, I was no longer diabetic. But I still had work to do. I needed to take better care of myself. I tried to exercise, but I just couldn’t summon the energy. My determination to take care of what God had given me would not be quenched. I persisted and was diagnosed with MTHFR. Now I have the supplement (methylfolate) I need and my health and energy is improving every day.
Are you struggling with your health? Here are a few things I recommend:
·         Pray – Anything we attempt to do should begin with prayer. Who knows what you need better than He who created you? Tell Him your struggles. Ask Him what you should do. If you need help with anything from summoning energy, strength or getting up earlier, ask Him.
·         Exercise – Our bodies were built to work. Especially if you have a sedentary job, you need to find time to get your heart pumping every day. Sweating is the best way to detox. Run, walk at a brisk pace, pop in an exercise DVD, whatever you need to do. Do it! Even if you don’t have the energy. It’s one of those backward things—you need to exercise to get energy, not vice versa. Find an accountability partner to help you. Make it a priority. As Paul said, “But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified” ~1 Corinthians 9:27
·         Eat organic fruits and vegetables – I believe we were created to eat primarily fruits and vegetables (minus the pesticides). We didn’t begin eating meat until after the fall. Many of the grains we eat today have been genetically altered. This means they’re no longer what God created to be processed in our body as He intended. These so-called “healthy whole grains” are man-made replicas which have not been tested for human consumption. Since I loaded my diet with organic fruits and vegetables and eliminated gluten, I no longer crave the processed junk I once loved. I still see things like apple pie and wish I could have it. I plan to learn to make a gluten free crust so I can make one, but these things must be in moderation. The healthy stuff should be the primary sustenance.
·         Don’t give up – If you’re tired, get up and exercise anyway. If you truly just can’t summon the energy, seek medical advice. If your doctor shrugs, find another one or go to a nutritionist or holistic doctor. Find someone who will spend time with you.
·         No excuses – Never say tomorrow. I once heard someone say that tomorrow is the devil’s favorite word. Get off your rump and do it today. If you have a medical condition, seek the doctor’s advice. Don’t let it be an excuse.

I still have much to learn. But with God’s help, in good health or in bad, I’ll do the best I can with what He’s given me. Whatever you do, I pray you will earnestly seek God’s will for all He has given you, before it’s too late. It may be a long journey, but the Bible tells me travels full of obedience and perseverance are worth the trip.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” ~Revelation 21:4
Until then, I pray the Steward Ship will not set sail without you.
                                                                       His servant,
                                                                                              ~Jenn

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Tale of Two Avocados

                The other morning, preparing my salad for lunch, I grabbed an avocado. The skin was nice and dark with just the right amount of give. Yum. There’s nothing like a perfectly ripened avocado.
                I sliced it in half and pulled it apart. Brown veins ran in twisted paths all through the darkened flesh. Rotten! But how? It looked great on the outside.
                Only one more seemingly ripened avocado lay in the bunch. I cut into it. Inside I found beautiful green fruit.
                How could two avocados appear so good on the outside yet be so strikingly different on the inside? Are we like that? Are there Christians running around, seeming to have it all together on the outside, only to be overrun with ugly rottenness inside? You bet.
                So how do we know what we look like on the inside? We can’t just cut ourselves open to see what our hearts look like. Not physically. And that wouldn’t reveal what we're seeking anyway. But emotionally, perhaps that’s exactly what needs to happen. Perhaps that’s precisely why God allows certain things in our lives, to cut us open and reveal the nastiness within so we can deal with it.
                Give yourself a check-up. Pray to God as the psalmist does in Psalm 139:23-24. Pray “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” It’s a big prayer. One that takes courage. One that will likely result in difficulty as we learn the truth about ourselves. But it’s necessary for growth.
                While we are in this world in this flesh, we will never be perfect. But we can and should continually strive to improve, to grow closer to God and Christlikeness every day. I pray we would “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” ~ Romans 12:12
                                                     His servant,

              ~Jenn

Monday, September 2, 2013

MTHFR

I’ve always known something was wrong with me (you know … aside from that pesky sin nature we all suffer from). But, even as the symptoms grew worse, no doctors have been able to figure out what it was. I’ve had anxiety and OCD all my life. I’ve dealt with depression. As a young adult I developed digestive issues and migraines. My hair prematurely greyed. Before my daughter was born I had two miscarriages. Then asthma. Then chronic fatigue. And recently, diabetes.
What in the world? I’m not even 40 yet. I’m not overweight. My eating habits aren’t terrible. Why am I so sick? 
When the results of a blood test for a life insurance policy came back showing diabetes, I knew my doctor would throw a blood sugar regulating pill at me. After much prayer and internal debate, I went to a friend's homeopathic doctor.
What? A homeopathic doctor? They’re not real Doctors.
Right?
How I found this doctor was another story … definitely an answer to prayer. And I believe my going to see him despite scoffers and my own skepticism was an act of obedience. In any case, he’s been doing something most doctors don't: he spends time with me to determine the root cause rather than put a band-aid on a symptom and boot me out the door within 15 minutes.
A couple weeks ago, my blood results came back with an answer: methylenetetrahhydrofolate reductase (MTHFR)
Basically, MTHFR is a genetic variant. It effects your ability to convert folic acid which is necessary for important processes like eliminating toxins. I don't pretend to understand how it all works, but it's responsible for ALL the symptoms I mentioned above.
Though I'd never heard of it before, MTHFR is COMMON. Approximately 40% of the population has this problem. Most don’t even know it. I want to raise awareness … particularly since it can lead to Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. All it takes are vitamin supplements and toxin avoidance and all these symptoms virtually disappear.
After all these years I’m getting my life back. I haven’t felt so good in so long and I can feel myself getting stronger every day. PRAISE GOD!

As I said, I want to speak up about MTHFR to save lives … the same reason I want to speak up about Christ. approximately 40% of the population suffer from MTHFR but 100% of the population suffers from a sin nature. And 100% will suffer eternally if they don’t accept the gift God offers each one. Don't listen to scoffers. Ignore the skeptic in your head. He’s reaching His hand out … take it!

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

~John 3:16

His servant,
~Jenn

If you want to know more about MTHFR, Google or Bing it. There’s tons of information out there. Get tested. Don’t wait. Your life is waiting for you!

 If you want to know how you can have eternal life through Christ, email me!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Do It For Him

I've always wanted to write. When I was little, I would right stories about hidden passages to lands full of candy. But I never wanted anyone to read my stories.
Then I finished my novel laced with the emotion that comes with getting to know Christ. It was fiction. The made up characters did my imagination's bidding in a realm I created. It wasn't real, but it was close to my heart. Too close.
I played it safe and showed it to my husband first. His encouragement empowered me to show it to my pastor. My pastor’s encouragement empowered me to show it to a Christian critique group. That’s when my skin truly began to thicken. But, the encouragement intertwined with constructive criticism continued to empower me.
Then I started blogging. After experiencing the true power of encouragement, I wanted to pay it forward and encourage others. But that nagging demon on my shoulder would step in every once in a while and say, “Why are you writing? No one is going to read this. It’s a waste of time. Who are you? Who cares what you have to say? Why bother.” I even lost a couple of friends over one post. Then I really began to question what I was doing.
That’s when I realized I had to stand firm in Christ … to write what He called me to write, no matter who read it, no matter what it cost me.
Thanks to the stats on my blogger, I can see that I have readers in the US, Canada, Germany, Poland and Russia. Why are they reading my blog? What are they getting out of it? I don’t know. But one thing I do know: if I continue to shut that voice up, face my fears and write what God calls me to write in a way that brings honor and glory to Him, He’ll use it. I don’t need to know how he’s using it. I just need to trust that He is.
What fears are keeping you from doing what God has called you to do? Don’t let them stop you. Do what He calls you to do. And when you think you’re not good enough, remember:
But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty” ~ 1 Corinthians 1:27
Then repeat after me:
I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.” ~Philippians 4:13
Now go out there and do what God calls you to do! For Him.
His servant,

~Jenn

Sunday, August 4, 2013

UnEmbraceable by Precarious Yates

UnEmbraceable was not what I expected. That is a good thing. When I catch wind of those two words … human trafficking … I typically run far, far away. But I must hand it to Precarious, she handled a tough subject with delicacy. And when you get down to it, that’s not what the story is all about. It’s about being human. It’s about being full of pain and sin despite our circumstances and what’s visible to others. It’s about healing. It’s about who we can become and what we can accomplish in Christ. But mostly, it’s about love.

The entire story revolves around two characters: Tamar and Leonard. These two people are incredibly different, like night and day. Tamar is a prostitute. Leonard is a well-to-do Christian. Through Leonard’s obedience to his heavenly Father, we see Christian love as it should exist on earth. He and his friends are wonderful examples of how to love others … even those actively engaged in open sin.
Warning: Some of the contents of this book are disturbing. But the author handles them with care. She does them justice without dwelling on them.
UnEmbraceable is an excellent reminder of who we are in Christ and how we should reflect his light to illuminate a dark world. If, like me, you’re tempted to shy away because some of the content … don’t. I’m glad I didn’t.
His servant,
~Jenn


Interested in the book? UnEmbraceable is currently FREE until Wednesday, August 7. Find it here

Want to help? Precarious has some links to organizations that are working to end human trafficking on her website. Click here

Precarious Yates has lived in 8 different states of the Union and 3 different countries, but currently lives in Texas with her husband, her daughter and their mastiff. When she's not writing, she enjoys music, teaching, playing on jungle gyms, praying and reading. She holds a Masters in the art of making tea and coffee and a PhD in Slinky® disentangling.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Full Moon



There is nothing like the beauty of a full moon, suspended in the sky, reflecting the sun. And the way it lights up the night ….
I can’t help but stop to gaze at it—mesmerized.
The moon does what it was created to do. But … in and of itself … there is no light. Only when the sun’s rays illuminate it fully, unobscured by the earth, do we see it shine to its fullest.
"In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." ~ Matthew 5:16
My prayer for my brothers and sisters in Christ and myself is this: That we may be like the moon … doing what our Creator calls us to do, reflecting His Son’s perfection fully, with nothing between us, so that we might be a light in a dark world guiding others toward Him.
His servant,
~Jenn

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Cornerstone Country Market

As those of you who follow my blog are aware, my goal is to do my part to further God’s Kingdom by encouraging my brothers and sisters in Christ and, hopefully, enlarging the family by pointing others to Him. I’ve attempted to do that through sharing what God has laid on my heart and by promoting fellow Christian writers. Now, God has laid it upon my heart to promote a local market.
I’d passed by the little market many times without batting an eyelash over the years. A friend recommended it because of their gluten free goods. After a few more drives past, I finally stopped in. They stock a variety of bulk baking items. But, being new to gluten-free, I wasn’t quite prepared to get crafty, so I settled on a box mix: New Hope Mills.
There are a lot of junky gluten-free items out there, so I knew I was taking a chance. But, the Jesus fish with “Ephesians 2:8” on the side sold me. It proved to be a good choice. I have since tried their gluten-free blueberry muffin mix, corn muffin mix, lemon Chia muffin mix and brownie mix. I highly recommend them all. They freeze and reheat well and the brownies are the best gluten free brownies I’ve had. And Cornerstone Country Market is the only store I’ve found with New Hope Mills Gluten-Free Mixes on the shelves.

About a month ago, we took a road trip to Pennsylvania. At a restaurant there, I tried bacon dressing. Yup … that’s what I said … BACON. My bacon-starved family couldn’t get enough of it. So, when I found Jake & Amos Bacon Dressing at Cornerstone Country Market, I was ecstatic. And I was delighted further to find Psalms 136:1 printed on the label. The word “salad” has taken on a whole new meaning in our household. And if you like bacon … and I don’t know many people who don’t … no matter how far you need to travel (unless PA is closer), it’s worth the gas money to drive to Cornerstone Country market for this dressing alone.

On the fourth of July, when I visited Cornerstone Country Market, I was asked if I would like to be the first to try their homemade vanilla ice cream made using a flavoring mix they sell in their store. I do have a dairy intolerance, but how could I possibly say no? I’d never had homemade ice cream before and I must say … it was wonderful (if you have an ice-cream maker, buy their mix).
I can’t say for certain that they only sell items made in the US … or by Christians … but of all the items I’ve purchased so far have been. So, if you want to support our country AND our brothers and sisters in Christ, do like I did and stop passing by … or take a special trip … to Cornerstone.
“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” ~ Galatians 6:10 (NIV)
His servant,
                                                                        ~Jenn

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Independence Day


For some reason, I’m looking at the 4th of July differently this year. It’s more than a holiday. It’s more than a day off from work. It’s more than a BBQ. It’s more than decorating with red, white and blue. It’s the day our country’s fight for freedom became a reality.
This is nothing to take lightly. It began with the Pilgrim’s leaving their homeland, crossing the seas in less than desirable conditions and arriving in a cold, harsh environment. Most of them died that first winter. Their fight for freedom continued more than 150 years until July 4, 1776.
The Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
So, each July 4th when we attend BBQs dressed in red, white and blue, we should remember their fight. Don’t treat it lightly. And don’t treat what God has done for us lightly either. He, our Creator, made each one of us equal and loves us all. He sent His Son to die for each one of us. And I have no doubt that He aided us in our fight and blessed our nation.
The tides seem to be changing. The majority of people are abandoning Him. Our Christian views are becoming unpopular and persecution seems inevitable. But for now, we still have our freedom. We need to take advantage of what God has given us, what our ancestors fought for while we still have it. “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”          -Galations 6:9
God bless you all! Happy 4th of July!
His servant,
~Jenn

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Highs & Lows

Have you ever seen a chart of the stock market since inception? We tend to think that it’s just continually rising and falling … and it is … but what we don’t tend to realize is that, despite the highs and lows, the overall trend is upward.

Isn’t our Christian walk like that? We tend to have good days and bad days. We have days when we are doing well: singing songs of praise, loving our Lord, showing fruits of the spirit. On those days, it’s easy to trust Him in all things.
But then something happens. Or nothing happens … we simply drift away by failing to intentionally keep Christ first and foremost. On those days we struggle to open our Bible, we don’t behave in ways that people expect from a Christian. But why should anyone expect that from us anyway? We’re not perfect and we never will be in this life, right? But that’s another blog post for another day.
But check out this chart …

Despite the fact that we have good days and bad days … though we may crash … we keep getting up. We keep growing up … closer to God. So, if you’re in a slump at the moment, look up. You’re not there yet, but if you have the Holy Spirit within you, you’re continually growing up, closer to our Creator.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” ~James 1:2-4 (NIV)
His servant,

~Jenn

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Gluten Free


I was recently diagnosed with celiac disease. Translation: no more gluten … ever. *sigh* Those of you who have been told that you can’t ever have a warm, gooey, over-priced bakery item again because of that inevitable comfort food ingredient, you understand my plight. But, I can’t complain. I can still live a relatively normal life.
But—it is a major life change. Just like becoming a new Christian. Don’t get me wrong. There is no decision more important than the one to accept Christ as our Saviour—our eternity depends on it. But, on a much lesser scale, I can’t help make comparisons:
When you go gluten free, you have to leave your old life—and those things that tempt you—behind. Just like when you become a believer you must leave your old life behind. “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its old desires” ~Ephesians 4:22 (NIV) It’s either that or continue to poison yourself.
When you tell people you’re gluten free there are three typical responses:
  • They support you. These are the people who are also gluten free. They’re extremely supportive. They give you tips, forward recipes and help you avoid some of the pitfalls they’ve fallen into. This response is quite similar to those Christians who helped me as a new believer. These are the people who follow Paul’s commands to “… encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” ~1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)
  • They shrug. These are the people who really don’t care either way. They won’t reject you, but they aren’t likely to invite you to dinner either.
  •  They scoff. These are the people who don’t care that a doctor has told you to refrain from gluten. They think there’s never a need to refrain. Any believer can tell you what person this is like … yup … those who no longer want anything to do with you simply because of your newfound beliefs. This is when we need to remember … “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” ~John 15:18 (NIV)
When you’ve been ill for a long time with something like celiac, and you go gluten free, you feel amazingly better. This is similar to being sick with sin, accepting Christ as our Saviour, and being freed. When I look back on my old life, I am so thankful that it’s in the past. Nothing could make me return to that life now that my eyes have been opened to what God intended for us. It’s so much better!

Once you’re gluten free and you slip up and eat something with gluten, you regret it. You spend days feeling ill until the remainder of the toxin vacates. This is like, as a Christian, slipping up and sinning. We do it. We’re still human. But, hopefully, we repent, learn our lesson, and keep from doing it again.

There are so many more comparisons I could make. But, I will leave it at this: if you’re going through any kind of major life change, I pray that it’s something you’re going through with God. Whatever it is you’re going through, no matter how strong you are—you NEED God.
His servant,
~Jenn



Thursday, February 21, 2013

Jesus Wept

Coming home from an amazing night of serving meals in God’s name, my daughter and I had an interesting conversation. I’m not even sure how it came up, but that 11 year old came up with what I thought was a pretty profound comment. She said, “I think the verse ‘Jesus wept’ is the shortest verse because God wanted us to remember that He cares.”
Talk about out of the mouth of babes …
“Jesus wept.” ~ John 11:35
I think she might be on to something. Why else would there be a tiny, two word Bible verse? It is a little strange if you think about it. There is very little variation of this one between the different versions. And Bible verses often include more than one sentence. Why not combine it with another? Or perhaps, there’s something to the fact that anyone can remember it. Might it be the most important thing God wants us to remember? That He cares? I like to think so. Someday, I think I’ll ask Him.
His servant,
~Jenn

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

God Speaks


Do you ever wish God would talk to you? Do you want him to come out and tell you, audibly, what He wants you to do with your life? I know I have.
Recently, someone told me that when you pray to God, you’re speaking to Him. But, when you read His Word, He’s speaking to you. As I writer, that makes perfect sense and I have to wonder why I didn’t see that before. I know there are certain messages I want the reader to pick up on in my writing. Wouldn’t God do the same? After all, His is not a work of fiction. He comes out and quite plainly tells us how to live our lives … if only we would take time to listen.
Next time you’re wishing God would talk to you, curl up with the Bible and listen. He will.
His servant,
~Jenn