A Thanksgiving Day Message


A Thanksgiving Day Message

There are so many reasons I have to be thankful for, I couldn’t possibly list them all here. But as I’ve been thinking about those reasons, I realized that I could summarize them all with this:

I am thankful for being loved, and for the ability to give love!

God’s love is the greatest gift of all. It is the beginning of and the reason for all the blessings we receive, including life itself. And because His love is so great, it cannot be contained in one heart alone. It grows, and then we can share it.

So I want to take the time to say THANK YOU to God, for the gift of love! And THANK YOU to all of my family, friends and neighbors, for sharing your love!

As we celebrate this Thanksgiving Day tomorrow, I pray that every heart on earth be filled with such love and joy, that the whole earth sings a song of praise and thanks.

Always remember, God loves you, and that is worth being thankful for.

10734112_738757919532732_3025219581875796871_nHappy Thanksgiving to all, and God bless! – Amber

Faith, Hope & Miracles: A Re-birthday Celebration


November 13, a “re-birthday”. That is the term my son Christian uses to describe the anniversary of his death and return from heaven. He says he was “re-born” on that day, and it is certainly worthy of a celebration.

 
After a horrible accident, Christian was dead for almost an hour. During that time, he was in heaven with Jesus, where he also met his older brother, Jason. The experiences Christian shared with us over the next few months were astounding to say the least. It changed our lives.

 
Birthday celebrations involve gifts, but instead of receiving, we want to give. Christian said that Jesus wants us to know that He loves us all, and He wants us to be encouraged with faith and hope. It is that faith and hope that inspired our book, “Faith, Hope & Miracles”, and it is our gift to you. We have made it available for free on November 13 and 14, and we’re asking everyone to share it. Join us in our celebration of Christian’s “re-birthday”, share a little encouragement and hope!

 

Final Book Cover Free for a limited time, “Faith, Hope & Miracles”at Amazon.com

 
“Delightful, awe-inspiring, miraculous journey of one boy and his family. Gut-wrenching terror turns into a beautiful story of redemption, 2nd chances, and miracles in this journal of death-to-life healing and glorious victory. WOW! Highly recommended to stir your faith and encourage you that God is real, He’s alive, and He worked a precious miracle in this Alaskan family. You should read it today!” (Mary E. Hanks, author of “Winter’s Past”)

 

 

DSC02714 (1)
May God bless you with abundant love, peace and joy.

- Amber & Christian

Greater Than God


Amber Lea:

This is wonderful! Thanks Kenny for sharing.

Originally posted on Morning Story and Dilbert:

Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
September 5, 1995

Here is a simple riddle.

Only 17% of College Seniors got the right answer when asked.

What is greater than God,
More evil than the Devil,
The poor have it,
The rich need it,
If you eat it, you will die?

By the way, Jacob (age 7) got the correct answer. No pressure though!

The answer to the riddle is “Nothing”

Author Unknown - Please comment if you know the author
 so credit can be given

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Celebrating A New Birth


It has been a very busy summer here, and the past month has truly been crazy! In between all the day to day life stuff, home projects and errands, I’ve had little time to work on my writing. Hopefully, that will be changing soon, as the summer is quickly coming to an end.

Several months ago, a very dear friend asked for my help in editing her book and getting it published. This book has been a long journey for Twylla, and she said she never really thought about producing it as a published work until recently. Her reasons for writing were personal to begin with, but after sharing some of what she wrote with close family and friends, she was encouraged to continue and finish it.

I felt honored to be asked for help with this endeavor, knowing well the anticipation and anxiety one feels over exposing themselves to the possibility of rejection or being criticized. I shared an article a while back about how similar writing is to giving birth, and over the past few months, Twylla and I have joked about her “baby” being delivered.

Things went fairly smoothly in the editing process, except for when I accidentally deleted all the formatting changes, but I gained more knowledge and practice from the experience.

Finally the time came to begin the publishing process, the “birth”.

After self-publishing my own book through Kindle Direct Publishing & CreateSpace, I assured Twylla that the process was not very difficult. This too, became an adventure, and we had a few setbacks. But again, we gained knowledge and practice, learning several new skills along the way.

I am so pleased to announce that today, Twylla Carlson’s new book, “Butterfly Fields” is now available for sale on Amazon! Her “baby” has been delivered!

Twylla’s story is a work of Christian fiction, about a young woman overcoming trials and struggles through faith, and finding encouragement while helping others overcome their own circumstances. It is well written, drawing the reader into the lives of the colorful characters, and leaves the reader with a sense that there is hope in spite of circumstance.

Set in the days of the old west, this story has a slightly romantic twist, and showcases the strength and courage that faith and trust bring. I highly recommend this book, and ask for your help in sharing the news. I also ask that you consider writing a review for Twylla on Amazon. I know it would be greatly appreciated.

Butterfly Fields

 

 

To Love As Jesus Loved: “If I Have Not Charity, It Profiteth Me Nothing (2)”


Amber Lea:

How awesome the love of Jesus is!

Originally posted on SettledInHeaven.org Blog:

SIH TOTT ICON“And though I bestow all my goods to feed [the poor], and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

Charity suffereth long, [and] is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Charity never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away…  

And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these [is] charity.

(1 Corinthians 13:3-8, 13)

As we conclude our introduction to this series, I thought it would be good to look at a basic…

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Your Mind is a Garden


Being a writer in this modern world often requires a certain amount of time spent on social media and the internet. I spend time reading articles, stories and news clips, as well as watching videos, gathering and researching information. And often, I find the content rewarding and uplifting.

However, there are times when it seems like most of what I see is negative, sad, hateful, disappointing, disgusting, or rude.

There have been certain news stories for instance, about people and events that are just so horrible that it is hard for my mind to conceive the reality of it. I find myself asking, “How could anyone do such a terrible thing”? I know the answer…because there is evil in the world. But knowing that does not make me feel any better.

Earlier this year, while I was gathering some information for an article I was working on, I read several stories that disturbed me deeply. Everywhere I looked, I found more bad news. With a seemingly constant bombardment of rancid content, I found myself being filled with hatred, disgust and contempt over the atrocities. The emotions going through my heart were so strong, I was physically shaking and began to feel quite sick.

I knew the feelings that I was experiencing were not good, and not according to God’s will. I know He doesn’t want for me to hate anyone. But with each story I read, each news clip and show I watched, I found it more difficult to let these negative emotions go. I decided I had to take a break for a while.

The main purpose of my writing is generally to encourage others and share hope through faith in Jesus, and sometimes a little humor to lift the spirits. In going back over the articles I had been writing, I could see a sourness in them that I knew was not what God wanted for me to share. By secular (worldly) standards, they were fine articles. But not by God’s standards. So I deleted them all.

As a result, I haven’t produced very much writing this summer. Like a drained battery, I needed to recharge myself, and my spirit.

I was reminded of what the bible says in Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].” (AMP)

I have spent the majority of this summer working on yard improvement projects, and spirit improvements as well. In reading and studying the bible, and through much prayer, I have found new strength and vitality in my spirit, along with renewed joy.

Two verses in particular had a profound impact on my heart in regards to what had been going on in my spirit:

Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life. (Proverbs 4:23 AMP)

But take heed to yourselves and be on your guard, lest your hearts be overburdened and depressed (weighed down) with the giddiness and headache and nausea of self-indulgence, drunkenness, and worldly worries and cares pertaining to [the business of] this life, and [lest] that day come upon you suddenly like a trap or a noose; (Luke 21:34 AMP)

As I had been reading and watching negative stories, my thoughts became negative, and so did my heart. My writing (which comes from my heart) was also coming out negative.

I made an intentional change, a decision to “guard my heart”, in refraining from negative influences. In choosing to intentionally surround myself in positive and encouraging people, stories, songs and scriptures, my own spirit has become positive again.

It became very clear to me that what I allow into my mind (what I see and hear) has a very strong influence on my thoughts, which in turn, influences my heart. What is in my heart is what comes out of my mouth, (or written) what I share with others.

I’ve had to learn to not allow myself to be distracted by negative or ungodly images and postings. Sometimes that means scrolling past certain stories, pictures and videos. Sometimes it means turning the channel on the TV, or turning it off altogether. Sometimes it means closing the newspaper, and opening my bible.

It’s not that I’m trying to pretend that there is no evil in the world and that everything is fine. I know all too well bad things happen, evil does exist. But I can’t afford to let it infect my heart and suck all the joy and good things out of my spirit! I can choose what I look at and listen to, and I choose positive and encouraging things, and images that build love and hope.

What do you allow to influence your mind, and therefore your heart?

For parents, what do you allow to influence your children?

Your Mind Is A Garden

Who Is a Caregiver? by Pamela Thorson


Until I wrote Out from the Shadows, I thought a caregiver was someone who took care of a person suffering from a disease or disability.

Then, as I thought and prayed about what to share in the book, it took on a life of its own. I originally imagined I would address the complaints suffered by caregivers and offer some encouragement. But as I mulled over devotions I had written over the span of several years and added new ones as God gave them to me, a very different picture emerged.

Yes, some of the devotions addressed predictable issues as burn-out and keeping our perspective. Then a golden thread emerged, one filled with the rich hues of majesty and loyalty and glory.

I realized that a message had emerged from the shadows.

Because caregiving is not gray. At times it is black with despair. Other times it is cloaked in the royal colors of surrender. It always runs blood-red with sacrifice. It is as white as the righteousness of the Savior who bought our freedom and as intense as the daily deliverance from our personal prisons. Sometimes it is hot with tears; other times it rests in the coolness of living waters.

But it is never gray, unless we have allowed our hearts to let go of hope.

Today I realize that caring for others is a universal calling. Caregivers are moms. Dads. Grandparents. Aunts, uncles, children, and spouses.

Caregivers are people who can’t walk away from someone who is hurting.

Our heartaches, struggles, and search for meaning are universal conditions. The golden thread is a common one, running through eternity. The colors of our lives connect us to each other and to the God who cared enough to risk it all for love.

He left His home in glory to walk in the dust with us. He gave away his life that we might live. He has never once left us alone in our hour of need.

God calls us to care in this same way for others. It’s a high calling, a blessed burden, an honor.

This is caregiving.

Out from the Shadows

In her new book, Out from the Shadows, Pam shares how God uses our life circumstances to form the qualities He wants to develop in us. It’s not just for caregivers, but for all who need uplifting encouragement, to continue on a daily basis in loving and serving others. Pick up a copy ($8.96 paperback; $2.99 kindle) today at http://www.amazon.com/Out-Shadows-Pamela-Thorson

Pam Thorson

 

Pam Thorson is a licensed practical nurse, author, speaker, and full-time caregiver. She pioneered in the homeschooling movement from 1982-2006 and authored her first book, Song in the Night, in 2008. Her newest book, Out from the Shadows: 31 Devotions for the Weary Caregiver (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas), released March 28. Pam resides in the Pacific Northwest with her family. Contact her at www.pamthorson.com.

 

 

*A note from Amber:

In Pam’s post today, I was reminded of 1 Corinthians 12, which teaches us about how we are all connected to each other, as one body, and how we need each other. God has given each of us a unique purpose and individual spirit, yet we are all a part of the same body.

I want to thank Pam for taking the time out of her busy schedule to share with us. God has truly blessed her with words of encouragement and hope. I know it has not been an easy journey for her and her family, and I feel very honored to be able to help in spreading the word about her work, and to call her a friend.

God bless you all! – Amber

“It is Never for Nothing” by Pam Thorson


I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter, remembering in thankfulness, the sacrifice of love that Jesus gave to and for us.

As promised, my friend Pam Thorson, has graciously written a wonderful post for us. As I read her words, my heart was deeply moved, and I pray yours is too.

Pam Thorson 2

(Photo courtesy Grace Thorson/copyright2013)

 

Who knows how it grew out of the rock,
encased on all sides,
firmly supported,
and trapped.

Gnarled branches bore stunted needles,
solemn witness to the battles it had borne.
Its tortured trunk twisted toward heaven,
bowed against the merciless wind tearing at its roots.

Always, it fought to right itself,
to reach again toward the light;
silent witness to the power of life;
a thing of beauty because of its scars.

-Pam Thorson, “The Beautiful Broken”
Excerpted from Out from the Shadows

It is Never for Nothing

Have you ever done something you regretted? Have you been scarred emotionally or physically by events beyond your control? Did you feel helpless and alone?

You would hardly be human if you haven’t experienced brokenness. We all live with regret. Most of us look back upon our lives at some point and struggle to understand where God was when we were hurting.

I had wonderful parents as a child. But in school I experienced much heartache at the hands of bullies. I was small and timid. We moved a lot, and I always felt so lost and alone—the outsider on every school yard.

That feeling followed me into adulthood. Then God intervened. I can still remember the moment, as a young wife and mom, that I comprehended the message of the gospel. The relief and joy of receiving God’s forgiveness for my sins was indescribable. Receiving a new identity and a new life was incredible. I was sure I would never feel lost again.

But I soon discovered that being a Christian didn’t exempt me from sorrow. I learned that walking with God is often a hard journey, and though He makes our paths straight, they’re still rocky. I realized that disappointment is often the companion to miracles.

Over the years, I learned to praise God for His deliverance through each trial. But I wondered how to live with the battle scars.

It never occurred to me to embrace them.

Now, years later, I’m beginning to understand. Nothing that has happened to me is without purpose. Everything I’ve experienced, good or bad, before and after the moment of my salvation, has made me who I am today.

In the same way that a tree is shaped by the elements as it grows toward the light, I am being shaped by the elements of adversity and blessing. All things work for my good, we are told in Romans 8:28. That means I can trust God to turn everything I experience into growth for His glory as I reach upward toward Him.

In the past, I was ashamed of the scars I bore from the twists and turns in my life. But I see now that God looks upon my heart and knows I’m shaping up just fine. I am the Creator’s masterpiece: the beautiful broken.

In her new book, Out from the Shadows, Pam shares how God uses our life circumstances to form the qualities He wants to develop in us. “Never for Nothing” and thirty other devotions lift back the veil on the struggles and joys of caring for others to reveal God’s great love for us. Pick up a copy ($8.96 paperback; $2.99 kindle) today at http://www.amazon.com/Out-Shadows-Pamela-Thorson

Pam Thorson

Pam Thorson is a licensed practical nurse, author, speaker, and full-time caregiver. She pioneered in the homeschooling movement from 1982-2006 and authored her first book, Song in the Night, in 2008. Her newest book, Out from the Shadows: 31 Devotions for the Weary Caregiver (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas), released March 28. Pam resides in the Pacific Northwest with her family. Contact her at www.pamthorson.com.

What a wonderful God we serve! Make sure to check out Pam’s wonderful book, Out from the Shadows, and visit her website. She will also have another guest post for us later this week, so be sure to check back here as well.

May God cover you all with many blessings this week. – Amber

 

An Interview with Author Pam Thorson


 

Well, my friend, Pam Thorson’s launched her newest book a couple of weeks ago, and it looks to be doing well. In the meantime, she has been gracious enough to do a short interview with me, as I wanted a way to let the readers have a chance to get to know her better. Her strength and courage are truly an inspiration to all who know her.

Amber’s interview with Pam Thorson:

“Thanks, Amber for this opportunity to share with your readers. I’m constantly blessed by your sacrificial spirit and gentle heart.”

1. What inspired you to write “Out from the Shadows”?

Out from the Shadows actually began as a series of devotions I wrote for our church bulletins. I shared them at various times with my critique group. One day the group leader suggested I compile the devotions into a manuscript and present a proposal to an editor at the next writer’s conference. That editor was interested, and Out from the Shadows was born.

This book has been crafted to encourage those who care for others. It addresses such topics as envy, burnout, loyalty, and forgiveness—issues that affect us all.

2. What was the hardest challenge in writing it?

I think the biggest challenge was getting the time and energy to write. It takes all my strength just to get through some days without the added work of writing. But I’ve discovered that any calling takes discipline and determination. I have two jobs that I love, and I lean hard on the grace of God every day.

3. Tell us about becoming a caregiver and nurse, and why you did it.

I became a full-time caregiver in 1997 when our middle son Kevin suffered a spinal cord injury in a fall. He was initially paralyzed from the neck down and on a ventilator. He eventually gained back some feeling and ability to move, and now he only goes back on the vent at night to sleep. From the first moment we received the call of his accident in Canada, there was no doubt we would bring him back home if at all possible.

I became a licensed practical nurse in 2011 at the age of fifty-eight to satisfy the certified family home regulations regarding our reimbursement with the state of Idaho. Because Kevin is an adult and needs nursing home level care, I contract with the state to care for him in our home—which is great because it’s his home, too. This pays the bills and allows our family to stay together.

Why do I care for him? I can’t imagine doing anything else, as long as I’m needed. Every day I awaken knowing that the life of another person depends upon me. That is powerful motivation. Along the way, I’ve discovered just how much I need him, too. I thank God for sparing Kevin’s life and returning him to us.

4. What advice would you give to someone considering caregiving?

Prepare for a marathon and be kind to yourself. On the hard days, remember that you are following in large footsteps. Our Savior gave up everything to serve a dying world. Any sacrifice we make on this earth pales in comparison. Any loss we experience in caring for others will be more than repaid by a just Creator on that glorious day when eternity dawns and every tear is dried.

5. What is most rewarding to you as an author?

My greatest reward is when someone contacts me to say something I’ve written has encouraged them. That makes it all worthwhile.

6. Do you have plans or ideas for any future books?

Oh, yes! I can’t imagine not writing. Most of my other ideas are for more non-fiction books, but Kevin and I are conspiring to write a novel in the future.

7. What advice would you give to a new author?

Submit to the process and learn the craft. Writing is like giving birth. It’s hard to let our babies out into the cold, cruel world. But if God is speaking through us, the truth will withstand scrutiny. Develop a thick skin, give God your best work, and be prepared for a long (and sometimes lonely) journey.

8. What is the number one thing you would most like to be remembered for, and why?

In Acts 13:22, King David was called a man after God’s own heart. This is my longing: to be known as a woman who ran hard after God. I want others to see His heart when they read my words. It’s the very least I can give.

9. Any message or comment that you would like the readers to know?

There is one quote from the book that says it all for me: No place is so dark, no shadow so deep, that God can’t find us. If we can let that one thing soak into our spirits, we will be okay, no matter what happens to us on this side of heaven. After nearly four decades of serving the Lord Jesus, I can declare with the Psalmist, “I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his descendants begging bread.” Psalm 37:25 (NASB)

 

(Thanks Pam, for taking the time to do this interview. I wish you much success and many blessings. – Amber)

 

Pam Thorson

 

 

Pam Thorson is a licensed practical nurse, author, speaker, and full-time caregiver. She pioneered in the homeschooling movement from 1982-2006 and authored her first book, Song in the Night, in 2008. Her newest book, Out from the Shadows: 31 Devotions for the Weary Caregiver (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas), pulls back the veil on the unique joys and challenges of caregiving. Pam resides with her family in the Northwest.

Visit her here:
http://www.pamthorson.com
http://www.twitter.com/PamelaThorson
http://www.facebook.com/officialpamthorson
http://www.pinterest.com/pamthorson

Make sure to check out Pam’s new book, Out from the Shadows, and stop by for a visit at one or more of her sites above. And don’t forget to check back here, as Pam will be writing a guest post for us soon.

Have a great day, and God bless! – Amber

…and then the tears flowed


I don’t usually write poetry very often, but these words just came into my head after a friend shared a link on Facebook this morning to a song I hadn’t heard in probably 25 years or more. It brought a lifetime of memories, a sea of faces, and then the tears flowed.

While I don’t always know why certain words come into my head, this subject is one that I know too much about, but with all my heart, wish I didn’t.

The subject is drug addiction. And it is one that I have lost too many family and friends to.

When I look back over the years, and remember all the faces of those that I loved that are no longer here, it leaves a heavy and empty space in my heart. I wish I could go back in time, to share with them what I know now. But I can’t.

Perhaps sharing my words now will help someone else, before it’s too late.

 And Then the Tears Flowed 

I once was an addict. Now I am free!

My Hero & Savior, Jesus rescued me!

 Some don’t believe. They say it’s a scam.

If only they knew The Great I Am!

 So many have died. So many deceived.

If only they’d known, they could’ve been freed!

Too many friends gone now. Such sorrow to bear!

No one was listening, had no one to care.

 The devil’s deceitful, he’s the master of lies.

He’s hateful and laughing, as another junkie dies.

 Don’t take that needle, it’s the devil’s dance!

Come to Jesus now, while you still have a chance!

Jesus will help you, if only you’ll call.

He gave His life, ‘cause He loves us all!

His power transforms us. His Spirit fills the hole.

His hope brings back joy that the enemy stole.

 An addict’s been cured!

The dead have been raised!

Miracles abound!

Jesus is praised!

No matter how far down you go into the darkness, Jesus can rescue and save you!

“Jesus glanced around at them and said, With men [it is] impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.” (Mark 10:27 AMP)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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