August 16, 2014

What We Think, What God Knows

I have been working from home for about seven years now. It's a blessing, and a curse in a way. But for several years, I have had my heart set on a career in law-enforcement. I've gone to college and obtained my associates in psychology, and I am currently finishing up my bachelors in business administration with a minor in criminal justice. Every class that I've taken towards criminal justice exuded such a passion in me and such excitement. I just love the field and I love what it stands for. So naturally, my thinking has been that my dream would be to have a career in that industry. So for years I have studied, researched, applied for positions. Well, just about a week ago I finally got the call! An interview for a position in our county law-enforcement office, in the probation department, no less. Dream job!
The big day came, I was dressed in my best, fully confident because I know I was more than qualified for the job, and I knew with the passionate love I have for the field that I was the perfect candidate. I went in there, checked in, and sat there – ready for the interview of my life. This was it, this was going to change my whole life if I got this job! However, it only took a few minutes of sitting there waiting for them to call me for the Holy Spirit to start speaking to me. I heard, "Okay, this is what you thought you've always wanted. This is what you been working towards. This is your dream, right? Here is step one to the life that you think you truly want." I looked around, the place was dirty, it's smelled not so great, it had a very cold aura to it, and some less than desirable characters came in and out as I was sitting there. Now, of course, this is a probation office and this was all to be expected and were things that I have had knowledge of for quite some time, in how these things work and what you have to experience and deal with on a daily basis in a job like this. 
But I sat there taking everything in and realizing that this wouldn't just be a job, this would be a lifelong career and this would be one of the centers of my life. I would be at this job more than I would be with my children, I would be at this job more than I would be with my church or my fellow believers, I would be at this job more than I would be at my home practically. What kind of changes would that invoke in me, in my lifestyle, in my actions and deeds? So I needed to take it all in and instead of the dreamy episodes of Cops, Lockup Raw, or Jail that I am so intrigued by, I had to take in the reality for a moment of how it might change me, might change my life, might change my love of the field.
The interview went great and I walked out of there feeling good about it, still excited, but not quite as certain. The drive home left a lot of time for thought and it all comes back to this: we always think we know what we want, we can be dead set on it for weeks, months, or years. We can strive, stay up endless nights working hard towards our goal, in the end to only realize that it was never God's plan but our own. When it is our own plan it will never satisfy us, it will never fulfill us, it will never give us all of the beautiful illusions and circumstances that we have always pictured would be tied with that specific thing or position. Because if it is outside of God's will, if if it is something we are doing because it is our own passion and our own desire and we are controlling what we want and striving to make it happen ourselves – it will never be the right thing to do. 
It was a hard pill to swallow that for several years while still following Christ, I was trying to control my outcome as far as where I would end up in a career, what I would be doing, the kind of money I would be making, and whom I would be serving. The thing is, only God can see far down the line. He can see what happens to us, what will make us happy, and what will spiral us downward. When we don't get something we want, or we get something we think we want and it's not all it's cracked up to be, I'm learning that it may not just be God saving us FOR something better, but maybe saving us FROM something much worse. Perhaps I would be miserable in that workplace, perhaps I would experience a hostile environment or people and situations that made me fearful. Perhaps I would develop a distaste for law-enforcement after seeing it from the inside, perhaps it would put out the fire of the passion I have for that industry. And whether I work in that field or not, I don't ever want to lose a passion for how I see our officers, sheriffs, patrolmen, prison guards, etc. I hold them in high esteem and I want to continue doing that.
So that evening as I came to my room and engaged in a time of thinking – I gave everything over to God, and told Him I would be happy to follow Him wherever He led me. Whichever path He chose, I was content that it would be the right one. I released anything that I wanted for me, any plans I have made for my life, any control I still had in my own grasp. I laid it all at the foot of the cross and allowed Christ to bear my burdens and make my decisions for me. You see, just a few days before this interview took place I was awarded a second job working at home. Only a couple of days after the interview took place, I was awarded additional hours from both my first and my second to home jobs. And at the same time one of my clients let other people go, and I was solely in charge of the department now. 
God was giving me job security in what I already had. God was adding additional income where I was lacking. My view had been that I had to have a government job, a long-term brick-and-mortar career in order to have enough money to provide for my children, benefits to make things a little easier, and retirement to secure my future as I age. What God showed me was that I will be okay no matter which way it turns out. He ensured that I had the opportunity to chase my dream, and then get a reality check. He also provided the opportunity for me to open my eyes and see that the work I already have would provide for my family in abundance, if only I would embrace them and work at them joyfully, as we are supposed to do as if doing all things for the Lord. So instead of a cushy 40 hour a week job at a government agency with amazing benefits, retirement plan, and a fancy title – I was now finding myself quite peaceful, with an attitude of great gratitude and humbleness, and very joyful at the idea of staying right where I'm at. Working from home. It may be twice as many hours, no benefits, and no retirement plan - but then again, not all benefits come in monetary form. 
I would be able to continue to be with my children 24/7, I would get to continue to have my own flexible schedule to take off when and how I need in order to attend Bible study groups, school events, and ministry conferences. With the double income from working over 75 hours a week, I can save my own money towards retirement, I can afford my own benefits, and I can secure the future I desire without punching a time clock for a government or corporation. I can punch a time clock for the Lord, for my kids, and for myself. See, the Bible tells us we are not to ask for our lives to be easier and without struggle, but instead are supposed to ask to simply be equipped with the strength and perseverance to walk through our trials and hard seasons victoriously. 
I can now look around and see the blessings that are already in abundance around me. I can see I already have the perfect life, though it comes with much longer hours and much harder work…I don't think I'd have it any other way right now. My children are still young, there is so much I don't want to miss. Is this law-enforcement job the opportunity of a lifetime? I'm a mother, I'm a child of God - to me, those are the opportunities of a lifetime! So I'm choosing the long and narrow road of perseverance and trust in Jesus Christ, not the wide and easy path of financial gain and worldly recognition. Storing up treasures for Heaven, is there anything better?

August 14, 2014

"Protective Instinct" Blog Tour

Gliterary Girl Book Tours presents the blog tour for the release of PROTECTIVE INSTINCT, Book #4 in the Time After Time Saga, by Authors Lynette Endicott and Tami Dee.

Protective Instinct

ProtectiveInstinctCoverArt72dpi__94617.1402191584.1280.1280Sabrina Bridges clings to her birthright as a Heartmark woman, convinced she will overcome the time-traveling enemy that plagues the women of her family. She is certain she will obtain true love with the man she gives her heart to. But how will her trusting heart survive when she learns that very man has deceived her since the moment they met?

Nicolas Mitchell's loyalty to family and country are tested by the woman who may lead him to one who threatens all he holds dear. Nick must steel his heart against her, and deny his protective instinct for the woman who speaks of an ancient family legend and her belief that together he and she will forge a love that will last forever. Will Nick be able to complete his last mission as a spy for the Crown or will he betray his country for the sake of love?







ABOUT Lynette Endicott

Lynette EndicottLynette Endicott grew up in Illinois, met her husband in Western Nebraska, lived 25 years in Kansas where their daughter was born, and has been in Fresno, California since 2000. She has a son-in-law (who lives with her daughter nearby), and has rescued a dog, a bird and three cats. She and Ollie, her terrier mix, volunteer as a team at the local library, where children read to the dog.

At a youth camp when she was 14 the editor and teacher of a writing class challenged her to submit something to his youth magazine. She did and it was the first of 10 articles and stories accepted by the publication over the next few years.

Nothing like front end success to keep her writing! Lynette enjoys reading contemporary romance and speculative fiction and writes both. Her debut book, Starting Over Book One: More Than A Job, and two more books in that series, The Return of Joy and Finding Her Voice are available now. The first three of the Time After Time Saga with Tami Dee are available now, including Animal Instinct, Survival Instinct and Pioneer Instinct. The fourth in the series of six, Protective Instinct, will release in August 2014.

Because she didn't have pets until after her 50th birthday the animals she enjoys find their way into all her books. Usually you will also find a character with a disability as part of the day-to-day fabric of the story. In More Than A Job, Paige works in services to people with disabilities until she loses her job and starts over. In The Return of Joy, Atlas, the yellow lab, becomes a Therapy Dog. In the Time After Time series animal helpers assist the hero and heroine in all six of the books in the series.

Lynette loves hearing from her fans! Please connect with her on:



ABOUT Tami Dee

Becoming an author was a dream I never really thought would come true for me. I have dyslexia, yet, despite the struggle, I adore weaving stories for others to enjoy.

I am a member of Romance Writers of America, Desert Breeze connections, RWA San Francisco Area Romance Writers, RWA Scriptscence, and RWA Celtic Hearts Romance Writers.

You can connect with Tami on:



To celebrate the release of PROTECTIVE INSTINCT, Lynette and Tami will be giving away a $20.00 Amazon Gift Card to one grand prize winner, a $10.00 Gift Card to either Starbucks or Teavana to the second runner up and an ecopy of PROTECTIVE INSTINCT to the third runner up. Enter the giveaway every day for more chances to win. All entries must be received by August 18th before midnight.



Debbie's Review:

Protective Instinct is a beautiful story about the fight AGAINST love. Yes, you heard me right. Sabrina and Nick are drawn to each other in a deep way, but because of circumstances surrounding who Nick is, they fight to not love each other and try to avoid relationship…to no avail. However, if you think this ends is a happily-ever-after walk down the aisle in a beautiful white dress, well…you will be pleasantly surprised. I love books that leave you clenching the pages with white knuckles and at the end saying, “Noooo, what happens next?” This book by Tami Dee and Lynette Endicott certainly does just that! The authors used real-to-life slang in the way of Nick’s speaking that helps you to actually read his character in the accent he has? How do I know he has an accent? You have to read this book to see what I am talking about. Lynette always has a way of bringing such animation and life to her characters so that it is as if you can actually hear them and see them. That is an amazing gift for an author to be able to portray. This book was a romance, a thriller, a drama, a comedy of sorts. A bundle of everything you could want wrapped up in one. Grab a cup of coffee, a nightlight, and bundle your excitement…you’re going to be up all night just to finish this one in one sitting!

August 11, 2014

The Mess of Materialism

As I was watching yet another episode of House Hunters Renovation, I looked at the gorgeous kitchens that were transformed in these homes. Cooking and baking has always been a passion of mine, so I could honestly care less what the rest of the house looks like, but I am drawn to kitchens. In a big way. As I found myself going "ooohh" and "aaahh" over the granite, the marble floors, the cherry cabinets and stainless steel appliances, I felt the Holy Spirit whisper to me the word 'gratitude'. It stopped me in my tracks and I immediately went straight to my Bible. Throughout reading scriptures, the spirit reminded me that I've had all of those things and asked me if it made me any more happy or any more equipped to take care of my family than when I don't have those things? The answer was, no. In fact, several years back I had built a brand-new custom home from the ground up. I chose every single detail I wanted in that house and spared no expense. I had the marble floors, I had the cherry wood cabinets, I had the stainless steel appliances, and I had the granite countertops. I even had that vent where you push a button and it comes up out of the countertop, and then when you're done cooking you push the button it and it goes back down into the counter. You name it, all the bells and whistles.

But the voice was right, I live now in a home that would be considered much older and less apt than that gorgeous home that I built. It's been previously lived in, it's been very much loved on, and it is what most people would consider the deeply average. But yet I still have everything my family needs. As a single mom I do struggle, but I can look around and see that no matter what, God is with me and He is providing- because I always have a home for my children, we have safety, we have food for our bellies and clothes for our backs. We have a vehicle to get around in, and by God's Grace, the money in the bank to put gas in it. By no other means does this come to me except through Him. Because on my own I know I am not strong enough to provide all of this. But yet our 'needs' that are being met are more than sufficient, and our 'wants' are things that are provided at times for us still.

I've noticed as I roam around in my home day-by-day, I don't notice that everything is outdated, I don't notice or care that others would think this is a place they may not ever consider living in, because those are usually the individuals that have money, and base a person's merit on worldly things. That almost brings a smile to my face, because it reminds me that I've given up a lot of myself and my selfishness and instead accepted God, His Grace, and developed a heart of gratitude. So I started thinking, if I had these granite countertops again and the beautiful appliances and the perfect floor to glide around on as I baked…would my food taste any better? Would my kids be any happier? Would people love me any more or any less? Would my needs be any more provided for than they already are? The answer to all of these things is, no. You don't have to have a gorgeous kitchen or top-of-the-line and top dollar appliances in order to achieve a beautiful meal for your family and friends. You simply need a loving heart, a giving attitude, and appreciation in your soul.

I have seen some of the meals that women in third world countries cook: barely any utensils, over an open outdoor fire made of sticks, sitting on a dirt floor. And I'm going to tell you something, these dishes could revel any four-star restaurant here in the United States where they had an army of chefs and the highest quality kitchen equipment that money can buy at their disposal. So is the finished product a result of the grandiosity you have to cook it in and how much you have, or is it simply in what you're putting into it? In my opinion, having a beautiful home and meal is not as much about what you're surrounded by as much as it is about what you're making it with: love, a serving heart, the sheer joy of the task. So while we want and wish and envy and ogle over a granite countertop kitchen, stainless steel appliances, Cherrywood cabinets, and marble floors…there are others out there for doing exactly what we do with 10 times less than what we have. And you know what? Their bellies are still full, the food is still delicious, the joy is still found in serving one's friends and family. May we not focus on the 'what we have' and 'what we wish we had'...and 'oh, if only mine could look like that", or 'oh, I would love to have those in my kitchen because my old countertops are stained, they have ring marks from coffee, my fridge doesn't match my stove', etc.

Is your coffee any less delicious? Does your fridge keep the food any less cold or fresh? Does your kitchen have any less loved ones that trample through it? One day I hope all of us as a people become content with what we have, instead of what we see others have, what we see on TV on the home remodeling shows, and what our hearts are driven to desire a higher quality of. May we see the joy in those coffee rings, which probably means mornings spent getting the kids ready or urging off to a job we are blessed to have, a conversation with your spouse, preparing your drink to sit down and enjoy Bible study. And that refrigerator, it may be old and discolored, but think of all the meals you pulled forth from that and made for your family. Think of when you come home and unload all of those groceries and you have a cold and safe place to put those items to nourish your family with food every single day. So many don't have these things, and would be happy with the lowliest and most broken down stoves, countertops, and fridges they could get their hands on.

The mess of materialism has gotten so out of control in today's world. May we regain focus on the things that we need, appreciate the things that we already have, and push our wants away knowing that the Lord has already provided in abundance and that there are millions in this world that would give anything to have those coffee rings on their counters, to have mismatched appliances, and to have chipped up tile on the floor…because it would mean they had appliances to utilize and a kitchen to cook in, instead of an open fire made of sticks, a dirt floor, and handmade makeshift utensils. A serving heart, a heart of gratitude and thankfulness…not an 'I wish' heart, not an 'I want' heart, and not a heart of expectations and demands to be met with higher and higher provisions- without even recognizing the ones the Lord has already bestowed upon us. May we soften our hearts to look at the small as well as the big things, and not want the big things so much anymore. That means more of Him and less of us, and that is a beautiful thing!

"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." (1 Thessalonians 5:18ESV)

"But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6 ESV)

"Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5 ESV)

"For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ." (Galatians 1:10 ESV)
"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." (Romans 12:2 ESV)

August 6, 2014

Blessings By The Pound

As I began to approach the age of 40, about six months prior to that, weight started creeping up on me out of nowhere at an increasing pace. All of my life I was the type of person that could eat whatever I wanted, however much I wanted, never diet or exercise, and always stay the same tiny me. But as I began to approach this new decade of life, my whole body changed, and so did my way of thinking. I was disgusted with myself and embarrassed for anyone who had known me before to even see me...or anyone at all really). I stopped going to church and to my church groups, stopped going out for coffee with friends, stop doing outings with my kids. For the first time in almost 20 years, I actually had to buy bigger sized clothes. I sunk into somewhat of what I would describe as a light depression, barely leaving my room and never wanting anyone to come over, not even wanting to run up to town to the grocery store.
Funny thing is, no one else seemed to notice. My family did not blink an eye, my friends made no notations as to any difference in me, I still made new friends everywhere I went, and my children still hugged and loved on me like always. You see, I was the only one who noticed my jeans size went from a size 5 to a size one else did. Others were too busy focusing on the REAL me. My smile, my hugs, my bubbly laughter, my passion to serve, my love for my children, my excitement at packages in the mail, my scrumptious goodies I bake up and love to share with people wherever I go. Yes, they were seeing the real ME. Not some superficial hope or vision, not a jeans size, not a bigger-than-I-used-to-be person. Because to them I am still normal size, somewhat small still, actually. It was MY vision of myself that was causing pain and disruption in my life...a vision that no one else seemed to see.
One evening as I laid in bed watching yet another episode of House Hunters (TV seemed to be all I did anymore), I felt The Lord touch my shoulder and the Holy Spirit began whispering truths of Scripture into my ear and heart:
"Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the I fading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." (1 Peter 3:4 NIV)
"Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades. The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the fear-of-God." (Proverbs 31:30 MSG)
"The Lord doesn't see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but The Lord looks at the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7 NLT)
"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." (Psalm 139:13-14 NIV)
You see, I was the one who had stopped loving myself simply based on changes in my physical appearance. This girl, who has wanted all of her life for people to just love her regardless of what's on the outside, had stopped loving herself in that same way. My family felt no differently towards me, neither did my friends. My God certainly felt no less towards me. My heart did not change, only the temporary vessel that houses it did. Jesus reminded me of that. He reminded me that even if I'm pale white, full of stretch marks from birthing 6 children, have a freckle or mole here and there, or even 20 extra pounds. With all of these imperfections I am more beautiful than I ever was at a size 5 with perfect skin. Because I have the love of Jesus in my heart now. I have accepted him as My Savior, and he finds me undeniably and seamlessly beautiful. That is the way he always has seen me and always will. That is the kind of beauty I want to strive for, beauty that radiates The Lord...and each day leaves less and less of "me". Those who will shutter at my outward appearance or imperfections are not those who are looking at me through a heart of love in Christ, and that is one way God shows us who to weed out of our gardens. 
I am grateful for my imperfections, I am grateful for finally being able so see myself as Jesus does. I may work on shedding the new pounds attached to me over time, but right now I love exactly who I am, and I am embracing all of the changes this new season is providing. It may mean I stay single forever if a potential mate can't look past the fleshly imperfections...but it means I will never truly be alone again because I am beautiful and favored through Jesus. So yes, I may work on losing these extra pounds someday...maybe...

August 1, 2014

Week #4 Winner and Week #5 Prize Announcement!

Hello everyone, I hope you are all enjoying your summer. If you have kiddos or maybe grand-kiddos, you may be gearing up for back to school! This can be a hectic (but also fun) time! So I have decided to do multiple giveaways this week with the main prize being one having to do with "stress". Imagine that! Now, onto the announcements and fun!

Last week's winner of the "duo" giveaway with the "Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti" Study book and the devotional is.....Christina Sabra Spicuzza....Yes, AGAIN! This is why I want to remind you all to make sure and get your entries in! Christina is faithful about gaining as many entries as she can each week and helping to spread the word of this page and the giveaways, so she has been rewarded twice now, as Rafflecopter has randomly chosen her due to her multiple entries! Way to go Christina! And thank you! we go...this week's giveaways! This week will be a bit different, as we have multiple people that can win! We will be having a total of 12 winners! EIGHT winners will each receive one full set the key tags shown below inspired from Lysa TerKeurst and her book "Unglued"! And then THREE winners will each receive one of the purple "strength" bookmarks shown below! And then finally, we will be giving away another awesome book this week! ONE lucky winner will receive a brand new copy of the book shown below, entitled "Stopping Stress Before It Stops You: A Game Plan For Every Mom" by Dr. Kevin Leman! It covers topics such as: checking your stress quotient, secrets to reducing stress, reality discipline for your kids, beating superwoman syndrome, and coping with both work and home! This is a valuable resource, and I am so excited to bring it to one lucky winner!

Good luck everyone, and have a blessed weekend!