Merry Christmas!

The day has arrived! I hope you’ve enjoyed this little journey over the past month. I know it was a great reminder for me…the Christmas story. Christmas Month Social Media (3)

Especially remember verse twenty in the above. We may continue the Christmas spirit throughout the year…glorifying and praising God. Merry Christmas to you!

One More Week!

Children are thrilled to count down the days before any important occasion. But Christmas is probably one of the most special to them. I know it was for me. With each day that passed, the excitement built until I thought I would fairly burst with wanting Christmas day to arrive. Presents appeared in the mail from relatives, and they were stashed under the tree with strict rules not to touch them until Christmas morning. That didn’t keep us from shaking a few and trying to guess. Baking went into a frenzy that last week, and our house always smelled delicious and festive.

When all the packages had been opened, the food consumed, the dishes done, we put on our new pajamas, robes and slippers. Because that was always a gift from our great Auntie. I would go to bed and think back over the day. I would be excited about a few more days off from school, and the potential for snow to play in. But there was always a little bit of a let-down. Christmas wouldn’t come for another whole year!

Children will always look at the glitz, the glamour, and the fun. And that is not wrong. Children need a time of innocence, a time of fun and happy memories. But they also need God…and that is something to teach on a daily basis. Not just at Christmas time.

Keep the joy of childhood in your Christian walk. On December 26th, the celebrations will be over, and won’t return for a year. But we can keep the memory of Christ’s birth, His life, and death on the cross each day. He is now seated at the right hand of the Father…and that is joyous!

 

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Proclaim the Truth

When I was a child, I often wondered what it must have been like for the shepherds the night Jesus Christ was born. To be sitting outside, enjoying the evening air, resting after a hard days work. Then an angel appears…and not just the angel, but the glory of the Lord shone around them. I would have been afraid as well!

The verses I’ve included on this little journey through Luke, chapter two, remind us that God works through humble means. The shepherds were given an important job that night, and they rushed to see if the angel had spoken truth. Then they shared the joyous news of Christ’s birth.

We as Believers should be just as excited to proclaim.

 

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The Countdown Begins

Yes, I know many of you have been counting down the days until Christmas for some time now. But, I prefer to give each day, each season, each celebration its due. For me, that means no celebrating Christmas until after Thanksgiving. Then there is an entire month set aside to celebrate the Christmas season.

If you are a Believer, each day should be one of remembering what God has done by sending his Son to us as a baby. Jesus Christ made the ultimate sacrifice for us. The Christmas season for me is a time to reflect, and remember those gifts that we have been given. The grace and mercy God gives to us on a daily basis.

It is fun to shop for loved ones, bake those special cookies, and decorate in order to recall Christmas memories. But not everyone has those memories. And if you don’t, you can remember that we are celebrating Christ’s birth. Our joy comes from inside, and the relationship with Him, not from our surroundings, or things.

Three more weeks until Christmas day. Enjoy the time, bake those cookies, decorate your space, listen to the songs as you shop and wrap presents. But remember why the day is set aside.

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We Thank Thee

Good Sunday morning to you! This week our thoughts turn to Thanksgiving here in America. We will gather together, family and friends, to remember and celebrate this day. This song is just a reminder of some of the things we should be thankful for in our lives. Enjoy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pXzge4uhVs

Dysfunction

What was once thought of as dysfunctional, seems to be coming more of the normal these days. This does sadden me. I believe God designed a very good system, and when we take different paths, situations become difficult and murky to travel through.

But we all take different paths from time to time, and none of us travel the straight and narrow. God knew this, and yet He still loves us. He allows us that different path, sometimes for years or a lifetime. When we fall, not once, but over and over, He is there. We only need to call on Him.

My key verse that I sign all my books with is, Psalm 118:24. 

This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. (KJV)

This is the verse that I call to mind each day that it’s difficult to get out of bed. It’s the verse that reminds me that I’m still here, and I have an opportunity once again, for at least that day to forge ahead and make better decisions for my life. One more day to rely on Him. There are days when I forget that verse…shove it to the back of my closet full of troubles. Days that I have to reclaim it several times. But the verse, and God are always there. 

The tag-line I use for my writing is, This Life is Real…and so are the Answers. I write books about dysfunctional families. People that are struggling in their Christian walk. People that don’t always get it together and have a happy ending. Because that is not what life is about…and it certainly isn’t the Christian life. I should know…I’ve lived one for over 45 years now…and it hasn’t always been pretty. But the bottom line is, I know God is there, He has a plan for me and my life, and my hope is in heaven. And those truths are where all the answers lie. 

This past week, the third book in the Rubyville series has been FREE as an ebook. Today is the last day of this promotion. This book has jumped around a bit on the lists, but it has stayed fairly constant around this all week: #21 in Dysfunctional Relationships.

https://www.amazon.com/Rubyville-Place-Heal-Book-3-ebook/dp/B01ITR2RDI/ref=sr_1_4?keywords=deborah+ann+dykeman&qid=1574442773&s=books&sr=1-4

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Book #3 – Rubyville

At first I thought it strange based on me not listing it under keywords such as dysfunctional. I thought I had stuck with the christian fiction genre…and I talked about all that the other day in my post about algorithms. But the book is about marital abuse, and the struggles that mothers and daughters can have in their relationships. So it is categorized pretty well on Amazon. Being #21 isn’t too bad either. But more importantly, I want people to read it, and get answers for their own marriages, and relationships in families. And to remember that bitterness eats at your soul, and destroys the person that God designed you to be.

And that’s a tough lesson. It’s a lesson I’m still learning about, and an area I stay in constant pray over. It’s rather like pruning away all the dead branches after a long, frigid winter, and finding new growth.

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I’m looking forward to that time of flourishing once again. Have a great week end!

Quotes to Live By

When I think back on past mistakes in my life, there are some I wish I could change and live through again, making the correct decision. There are others that I see the need for me having to live through them in order for a lesson to be learned. And yes, I wish I could change my first decision, and do better, but I’m where I’m at now because I made it through that difficult experience. We all have those times in our lives.

The two examples above run very close together, but they do have some differences that set them apart. I think the biggest one that I’m going to focus on for the sake of this post, is the first example. Because it deals with guilt. The original sin, or mistake may be bad. But it’s the guilt we immerse ourselves in through the years that is more devastating to our souls. It can destroy us.

If we look at that first example, we can use a scenario. I will use a simple one, but you can place almost any sin/mistake into that. As a child, we decide to steal a candy bar while our parents are checking out at the store. We steal it because we were told that we couldn’t have it. We want it anyway. We may get away with it, and the guilt is there. Or we may not, and the guilt is there each time we think about how we let our parents down, and the impression we made on the store. But we make the decision to never steal again. We may wish for the rest of our lives that we could go back, and not steal the candy bar and have that mark on our record. But it probably doesn’t change our lives too drastically.

The scenario using the second example. We steal the candy bar, we may get away with it, or we may not. But instead of stopping the sin, we continue on. It may become more items stolen in a store, to a car that is stolen, or breaking into houses. The behavior is continued until you serve jail time. In this scene, the sin and wrong decisions may continue until the end of our life. We may become more bitter and angry. We may want to seek more ways to demonstrate those feelings. We harden our hearts.

But…we could decide during that first time in jail to get our act together. We could decide to change our life, and start making good decisions. We could use that time to grow spiritually, and reach others. If there is an opportunity to get out of jail and have a life again, we could be a better person because of the experiences we had during that difficult time.

Yes, I’m making this very simplistic, and with those scenarios we could go off in a million different ways. Because we are people, and each one of us is unique in how we deal with a situation.

The bottom line…we all make bad decisions, we all sin. The difference is how we each handle it, and how we travel down the paths we have to take for the rest of our lives. But if we live with guilt, and we continually live through those past mistakes and sins, over and over, we can’t heal. Guilt is something we do to ourselves.

While two of our children were at Cornerstone Bible Institute in Hot Springs, South Dakota, we had the opportunity to sit in on some of their classes over the years. One of the teachers had a way of really getting to the heart of something and nailing it. He made it very clear and easy to understand. I wrote down as many of his little quotes or quips, (and I don’t know if that is the correct terminology for his words,) as I could. This is one of them:

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Those six little words really spoke to me. They reminded me to confess the sin in my life using :

1 John 1:9 King James Version (KJV)

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Then stop doing that sin, whatever it may be.

Then forget it. Don’t bring it back, reliving, going over, feeling guilty.

That verse says that God is faithful, He has forgiven us, and cleansed us from that sin. Us taking it back is not trusting Him.

I’m not saying that is easy. It takes faith, lots of prayer, and a mindset to go on, not looking back at what could have been. But I am thankful for the times in my life that although I wish I hadn’t made the decision, I came out on the other side a better, stronger person.

Truth Be Told

When I first began this blog in 2015, my goal was to write about me and my family, and light issues that would help my readers connect with me as a person. I didn’t want to bombard  with just writing topics. For one thing, I don’t have a master’s degree in writing anything. I rely heavily on my editor to fix all that I do wrong. I don’t know much about branding or marketing. I go to others and read lots of other posts about it to broaden my knowledge base. And considering sales of my books…I have lots more to learn in those areas! 😉

So now, four years later…I’m still a little mired down in this blogging world. I read other sites that are really successful. I try to figure out what they are doing right, and what I’m doing wrong. I wonder if my scope of topics is too large, or the site just not interesting. I’ve even considered starting over, but what would my focus be?

Truth be told, my knowledge base is marriage and family. It’s what I’ve done for all of my adult life. Sunday, the 20th will be my husband and my 35th wedding anniversary. It’s one I’ve looked forward to. Others celebrate by going on a cruise, having another ceremony to rededicate their married lives, or going out for a nice dinner. I thought that by this time in our marriage, we would be doing the same. We won’t be. I think spam is on the menu this year.

My husband and five children have always been the world to me. It’s what I invested all my time in. Some may say that was crazy, and that I didn’t plan for the future. I always thought it was the best way to plan for our future together. But children grow up and have families of their own, they move away, and they make their own choices in life. I am no longer in control of all of that…and maybe I never really was.

So, here I sit at almost 55 years of age. This past year as been beyond difficult in so many ways. There are days when I feel as though the rug has been yanked out from under us, and we haven’t hit the floor yet. But when we do, it’s going to be bad. My faith has taken a serious hit, and there are more days than not that I would like to run away and be a different person.

This Life is Real…and so are the Answers. I truly believe that. None of us live in a fairy tale world with light and laughter, flowers and fun, around every corner. Many of us deal with darkness and tears, an inability to breathe because of all that has been dumped on us. The flowers in our lives are dead and crumbled, blowing away in the wind, and a smile is hard to summon.

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I don’t have a master’s degree in anything. Just a lot of learning through difficult experiences. I try to share that in my books. In my books, there is an answer for that struggling character. Writing helps me work through all that has been allowed in my life. This blog has been a release for me to express all that bottles up…whether it be good or bad. I pray that my books reach people and the struggles they have in their lives. I pray they find an answer.

So for now, I’ll stick with what I’ve been doing here, and I welcome any suggestions to improve.

Philippians 4:6-7 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all [a]comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.