Category Archives: Articles

Merry Christmas!


I know everyone is quite busy this time of year. I have a long list of “to do’s” myself. But I wanted to take a moment to share a quick message, and a prayer.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Christmas and the real Spirit behind it. Yesterday we were asked, “What gift would you give to God”? It is His birthday being celebrated after all. But from everything I have learned over all these years, I know that the one gift He desires most of all, is my heart.

Sometimes my mind becomes very distracted with the details and demands of everyday life, and I lose my focus on what really matters…God, my family and friends, and doing what I can to be a blessing to others.

So I want to take this time to tell all of you…you are the gifts that I treasure most in this world. Thank you for the time and the love you have given me. I wish you all the very best blessings of peace, love and joy to fill your hearts in the days ahead. Merry Christmas to all, and Happy Birthday Jesus!

Happy Birthday Jesus

Get Back Up and Keep Going


tripping
Have you ever seen an athlete in a running event trip and fall, landing with their face in the dirt? At that moment, they have a choice to make. They can lay there in the dirt, crying and complaining about how much it hurts and how hard it is, or, they can get up and brush off the dirt, and get right back in the race and finish it, even with bloody knees and a dirty face.

That’s how it is for Christians as well.

The bible tells us that there is no such thing as a “perfect” person, no, not one. Yet somehow, the world view tends to think that if we are really a Christian, then we should never fall down, never make any mistakes. But the truth is, we will all trip and fall at times, because we are imperfect human beings.

But that should not stop us from getting back up and continuing our race, because by the grace of God, he gave us that ability. If we stay down in the dirt, we only give reason to the world to point fingers and discredit that loving grace. It is when we get back up and keep going, drawing on the strength of God’s Spirit in us, that we can show His power, His mercy, His love for us.

Yes, the race will be hard. Yes, there will be obstacles to overcome. And yes, sometimes we will trip and fall. But we know what prize awaits us at the end of the race, and we know it will all be worth every tear we have shed, every pain we have suffered…if we endure ‘til the end.

So when (not if) you trip and fall, get back up, and keep going! Make up your mind right now and don’t let anything stop you.

“And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life”. (J.K. Rowling)

Run steady, and God bless! – Amber Lea

Jason’s Gift


Being a creative minded person for as long as I can remember, I have always felt a fondness for art. I find a beauty in paintings, songs, crafts and literature, that I could not explain for the longest time. But recently I began to discover some things about myself that has given me a new understanding of my life. Art in its various forms stirs emotions within me, and creates a connection between myself and the artist.

My journey into writing began a little over 13 years ago, when my son, Jason, died. On the outside, I put on the mask of strength, trying to show that I was okay. I did this for two reasons. The first being that I was 8 months pregnant and everyone around me was concerned that the stress would cause me to have a miscarriage. So I tried to relieve their concerns, not wanting to worry anyone. The second reason was that it has never been easy for me to share what I call my “darker” feelings. Laughter, joy, love and friendship, these things were easy. But pain and sadness were emotions that I did not know how to share. So I kept these things hidden. I was also very isolated at the time of Jason’s death. Even though there were a few that offered a shoulder to cry on, I could still sense the uncomfortableness around me, like people were walking on eggshells, not wanting to trigger an episode of sadness. Others simply avoided being around me altogether. So I felt as though I was walking this secret path inside myself, alone.

I had dabbled in poetry off and on over the years, and I found myself writing again in the form of short tributes to Jason. There were times when feelings just started pouring out of me and flowing onto the paper. It surprised me how it seemed to relieve some of the pressure that was swelling inside my heart. So I continued to write. But I never shared any of it.

After about a year, I found myself joining a website chat room. The internet was just really beginning to take off in gaining popularity, and I was mostly just curious. As I looked through the forums, I found a few that appealed to me and I began to post a few comments. There was some high tension at the time due to it being an election year, and a few of the people that I had made friends with were getting into some heated debates over politics. So I began a thread of jokes and funny stories, trying to soften the atmosphere.

The response I received took me by surprise, and I soon found that I was being encouraged to consider becoming a writer. There were 3 published authors in the group, all considerably older than I was, and I felt completely out of my league among them. But, nevertheless, they continued to push and encourage me to consider following through in my writing.

I’m not really sure why I did it, but I began to send some of the stories and poetry I had written to two of these authors. I shared some very personal feelings in these writings, and to be honest, I felt so strange in making myself open and vulnerable in such a way. I had never considered the possibility of becoming an author, and I did not believe that my writing had the quality to do it. I fully expected some harsh critiques of my work pointing out all the flaws. But to my amazement, instead I received such high praise that I was shocked!

At first I thought that perhaps they were just being kind. But then I found out that both of these authors were actually telling others about me, and it was even suggested that I submit my writing to a few magazines to be published! I felt honored, but confused as to why these people thought I should do so. Curiosity got the better of me, and I finally asked why they liked my writing. They both told me that it was because my writing came from the heart in a way that let them feel what I felt, and understand what I thought. Simply put, the writing touched their hearts.

I began working on compiling several of the stories and poems together, still unsure of myself and having no idea what to do next. I began with buying a copy of the current listing of agents and publishers. I studied and tried to learn as much as I could about the writing industry, trying to figure out all the steps I needed to take. I also began to take some writing classes, as I still did not have any confidence in my ability. I soon found that a lot of what I read didn’t make much sense to me. The information was more focused on picking apart and labeling the parts of writing, which I didn’t really care about. I had always viewed literature in terms of whether or not the work was entertaining, stirring my emotions, or informative of a certain point of view. I paid more attention to the ability to communicate effectively than to the points of proper grammar and sentence structure. In my own writings, I’m quite sure any English professor would have a blast with their red markers, crossing out all my mistakes. But as I tried to learn to write according to the book standards, the thoughts and feelings just did not flow right.

As life circumstances sometimes do, some unexpected changes occurred, and the writing was put aside for several years. After moving into our cabin in 2006, I began unpacking some boxes that had been in storage for a few years. I found the folders containing the work I had typed out. As I went through them, I found myself being stirred by the words in an unexpected way, at times crying, and other times laughing. Then I came across a folder that I had forgotten about. It contained stories that Jason had written when he was about 9 years old. I hadn’t realized it before, but Jason had a passion for writing. Though he was so young, his stories spoke about life and reality from his own heart, and this gave me a connection to him, an insight into his personal mind. Even though there were tears of sorrow from missing him, there was also a joy in having his stories, his way of sharing himself with me. These simple stories with their misspelled words and improper grammar became the most cherished writings in the world to me.

That was the day that I understood what those two authors were telling me about why they liked my writing, because it came from my heart. It was also the day that I knew that I had to keep writing, because just like Jason, it is how I share my heart. It didn’t matter to me whether or not anyone else ever saw the words, I just had to write them. In writing, I can say the words that my mouth cannot utter. I can show the pain and sorrow, or the joy and exhilaration. Writing became at first, like a form of therapy, to let things out that I couldn’t tell anyone face to face. I soon discovered that it also kept my head from exploding from all the thoughts and feelings whirling around inside. It gave a sense of freedom and healing to my heart and soul.

A few years later, after a horrific accident involving my youngest son, Christian, I began sharing online the details of the events that were occurring on a day to day basis. It started as a way to update the family and friends on what was happening. I was unconscious of the fact that I was also sharing myself, that I was exposing my thoughts and feelings along with the updates. I became aware of this from the responses that people were leaving on the posts. Total strangers were sharing thoughts and prayers, pouring out a kind of love and support that I found to give me strength and courage that I didn’t know I had. People were thanking me for sharing those posts, telling me of the impact on their hearts, and asking that I continue to keep sharing. I had a profound sense that not only did I need to do it, but that others were needing to receive it.

Over the next 2 years, I went through the posts and began compiling them, together with stories, thoughts and feelings, into what became my first published book, “Faith, Hope and Miracles”. I didn’t really know what direction the book would take, but I wrote it with the intention of letting out the joy, hope and encouragement that I felt, along with the pain and sorrow. The reaction of those that have read my book has reaffirmed what Jason’s stories taught me…that when we share from the heart, it becomes a part of the heart for those we share it with.

Jason gave me a precious gift, inspiring me to write, to share my heart. If in that sharing, it connects my heart to others in a way that brings a sense of unity, whether it be in joy, grief, hope, encouragement, sadness or laughter, then I have achieved my goal. If sharing my words causes others to feel that they are not alone, then I have succeeded.

Though I miss Jason terribly, I forever hold him dear in my heart, remembering the love and joy he brought into my life, and this gift he has given me, to expose my heart and let it bleed for all the world to see. Thank you Jason, I love you forever!

Interview with author R. Glenn Kelly


It is always a joy to share  a great book, and today I have the pleasure of introducing author R. Glenn Kelly and his book, “Sometimes I Cry in the Shower”. It is a story of a journey I promise you won’t soon forget. It is well written, informative, engaging, honest, and laced with tears, love, and laughter. Read some of the reviews here.

Ron Kelly Sometimes I Cry in the Shower

On to the interview…

Q: Give a little background of why you wrote your book.

A: After the tragic loss of my son Jonathan I refused to grieve, convinced that holding it back from others, and ultimately myself would allow me to survive the dark pain. However, the corrosive emotions enwrapped within grief soon began to take their toll emotionally until one morning the very spirit of Jonathan came to me in the shower. He wanted me to understand that I was not honoring him by living a life that carried on the legacy he left for me…to live, serve others and above all else, love unconditionally, something foreign to me before that hero came into my life for his short sixteen years. “Sometimes I Cry In The Shower” is my way of serving by targeting hope and healing towards men, who have so little in published materials targeted specifically at us.

Q: What direction do you want to take with your book?

A: Guided by the spirit of Jonathan, the book seems to be finding the path only he and I could hope for…serving grieving fathers. While I am using chapters and topics within the book to present at grief workshops and other venues, I am the most honored that an internationally renowned hospital specializing in pediatric cardiology has selected the book to be one item within their “Grief Basket”, which is delivered to parents six months after they have lost a child. If my publication continues down this path, it will serve the goal my late son and I have hoped for.

Q: Do you have any plans for more books in the future?

A: Yes. I am currently writing “Legacies I Left behind.” This book will be written from what I know and feel to be Jonathan’s perspective on how I should continue on with my life as a father recovering from grief. From the moments I held my son and experienced his last breath along with him, I felt an odd inner peace that would soon be overcome by the chaos and heartache that certainly came with the horrendous loss of my only child. Yet for a brief moment I felt as if the true Jon, his sprit, touched me and said “The journey begins now, Dad. I am right here and I love you.”

Q: What is the one thing that drives you more than anything else as an author?

A: Even after Jon came to me in the shower and told me to grieve, I had an inherent knowledge I would not seek professional help. I hope any man who goes through the unfortunate loss of a child or loved one will, it was certainly not in my manner to do so. I tried turning to publications meant for men who grieve and found almost nothing. Sometimes I Cry, and the following books are my way of taking the clinical research, as well as life experiences of myself and other typical males, and using them to serve others who may be sadly beginning the journey I am now on. Sometimes it takes the admonishments of a child’s spirit and legacies, and other times it takes a hand that silently reaches out to say “it is going to be okay”.

Q: What advice would you give to new authors, or those considering becoming one?

A: Do it. Write it. Regardless of the topic, fiction or non-fiction, let it out to the world if you feel it. One of my favorite, heartfelt quotes comes from Dr. Wayne Dyer who said, “Don’t die with your music still inside”.

Q: If you could share a particular message with your readers, what would it be?

A: We are all humans and we all feel emotions. Emotions are as much a part of our systemic needs as breathing air and drinking water. Those emotions flow through us like a river that must flow out to the ocean. Men have a tendency to dam up that river, usually at the heart, where we feel we might expose ourselves as weak and unmanly. This already causes the waters to flood backwards a bit and destroy a small amount of our natural flora and fauna. We might function well through normal life that way, but when the enormous emotions of grief from a loss flow towards the dam, the waters build and build, flooding out and destroying so much of who we are subconsciously, where our morality and self-worth reside. And when the dam finally breaks, and it will, those flood waters will burst forward and destroy so much life and love on the other side. Relationships, careers, friends and so much more. It has to be let out…It must be recognized and controlled! Do not continue to make the dam stronger when the grief comes. It cannot be held back forever.

Q: Any additional comments?

A: I have been absolutely humbled by the response and review of women who have read “Sometimes I Cry In The Shower”. While I initially intended the publications to be for men, I am finding female readers who say they too are finding hope and healing throughout the book. I could ask for no greater gift than to know all can use my discoveries to journey towards wholeness and healing. We will never be completely healed from the loss of a loved one, and personally there are parts of me I do not want healed. My son was woven into the very fabric of my life and to this day I have dark corners where I want to escape to, roll up in a fetal position and make the world just go away, if only for a short time. Yet, actively walking towards wholeness and healing soon brings the realization that those dark corners are getting fewer and farther apart.

Sometimes I Cry in the Shower is available on Amazon here .

Ron Kelly Sometimes I Cry in the Shower Ron Kelly Sometimes I Cry in the Shower back cover

About the author:

Ron Kelly author picR. Glenn Kelly, grieving and healing father of Jonathan Taylor Kelly, has written professionally throughout his adult life. He has composed many informative articles published within trade periodicals in various industries and authored numerous award-winning responses to federal government solicitations in the defense industry, as well. With graphic arts as another passion, R. Glenn has also designed attractive print media ads and marketing materials for numerous companies along the way. An avid public speaker, he is just as much at home talking to an audience as he is conversing with friends over dinner.

To find out more, or to contact R. Glenn directly, please visit grievingmen.com, where you are invited to share or join in discussions related to the journey of all men who have suffered loss. R. Glenn is available for speaking engagements or grief workshop participation.

Contact R. Glenn Kelly at:

email – rglennkelly@rglennkelly.com,
website – www.grievingmen.com

Facebook – www.facebook.com/RGlennKelly/

Twitter – @RGlennKelly

**Mr. Kelly, thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview with me! I wish you much success and joy in this and future endeavors. May God richly bless you always. – Amber

On Grief and Healing


It takes a warrior’s heart to persevere in the publishing world. Walk in the confidence that God has put a story in your heart and He will equip you to tell it. After all, it’s really His Story, isn’t it?” – Pamela Thorson, author of “Song in the Night” and “Out from the Shadows: 31 Devotions for the Weary Caregiver“.

Writers are often said to be introverts, and that may be true for many. But they are also a brave sort of people, for it takes a tremendous amount of courage to put pen to paper and share dreams, thoughts and ideas with the world. There are often ideas created out of seeing a perspective or need that needs to be addressed. Perhaps the courage comes from an overwhelming need to share a personal message, maybe an experience that might benefit others.

Such is the case for a grieving father, who after losing his only son, Jonathan, began a journey into self-discovery and healing. In his search for guidance and self-help, he found that there was not much available on the topic of men’s grief. Through his own grief, he made a connection that was the beginning of his healing. This connection has taken on a mission of its own in the form of a legacy to his son.

Having a writer’s heart, he decided that it was time to share what he discovered for himself. His name is R. Glenn Kelly, and his book, “Sometimes I Cry in the Shower” is on the fast track to making a nationwide impact on the hearts of many, men and women alike.

I commend Mr. Kelly in his endeavor to share his raw, open honesty with others into a journey that no one wants to take. And I know his son would be very proud of him. I highly recommend “Sometimes I Cry in the Shower”.

Ron Kelly Sometimes I Cry in the Shower

For more info on R. Glenn Kelly, visit his Author page on Amazon.

Check back soon to read my upcoming interview with R. Glenn Kelly!

God bless! – Amber

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”)

 

 

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May God bless you with abundant love, peace and joy.

– Amber & Christian

Greater Than God


This is wonderful! Thanks Kenny for sharing.

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)”


How awesome the love of Jesus is!

Settled In Heaven 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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