Archive for December, 2012

A HOPE FOR THE NEW YEAR!

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

Recently, I put the following post on Facebook. It expresses my heartfelt feelings about the past year and the hope of better times to come. The Bible promises us that, when this present system of things comes to an end at Armageddon, there will be an earthly paradise, a restoration of the earth to fit God’s original purpose when Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden. But I am not thinking at this particular moment about Armageddon. When that will take place, only God Almighty knows (Matthew 24:36). This post merely brings out my hopes for the immediate future…for the year to come: 2013, whatever it may bring. I hope that my sincere expression of my feelings reaches your hearts and brings you comfort if life’s challenges sometimes seem too much to endure. Remember that God always helps us, but we have to seek Him and truly believe that He can help us. James 4:8 tells us that, if we get close to God, He will get close to us.

So here is the post. I hope that the message is upbuilding and encouraging to you, as it was meant to be. May the New Year be filled with blessings, support and love for all of you. I thank Jehovah God, my husband, children, grandchildren and dear friends and extended family for their love and support in the past, the present, and in all the days to come.

“For those of us who love to write and share with one another, words certainly have a therapeutic effect. Interaction brings us a sense of closeness and helps us to find inner peace as we share heart-felt thoughts and experiences.

“This year has been an especially trying one! So many events in the past year have given us pause for reflection as we await the New Year. Of course, we all wish it to be a year of happiness, peace and good health for us all, but at the same time we know that life is not easy for anybody today, and we all must cope with our own unique problems.

“We also know that, without the love, comfort and hope from Almighty God each day, along with the encouragement and love from family and friends, it would probably be impossible to endure the stress and endless challenges that confront us. And the only way we can rise above the difficulties of life is through the blessings of God’s Holy Spirit and the love we have for Him and for each other.

“So with ever-increasing faith, hope, and love for Him who created us and for one another, may we face the New Year with courage, strength and joy! ‘And may God bless us, every one!'”

I hope you enjoyed the post. If you have any comments, please write. Often, people advertise on my webmail, which they are not authorized to do. However, please disregard the spam, and continue to write your heart-felt comments, which I so appreciate! A happy and very healthy New Year to all my readers and their families!

I just wanted to add that an article in the December 27, 2012 Q Guide of the Bayside Times featured my sixteen self-published books over the last seven years. A friend brought me three copies of the paper today, and I was able to read the beautifully written article by Alan Krawitz. However,I haven’t yet been able to track the latest Q Guide online since the paper came out just today (and last week’s Q Guide from December 22, 2012 keeps popping up), but I’m sure in a few days it will be available. (It is ironic that the news section of the current paper is available, but the Q Guide is not). Basically, the article relates how my novels correspond to my life in many respects, even though they are still fiction and not autobiography. Mr. Krawitz brings out how the main character in my latest novel, “Escape From the Maelstrom,” was based upon my paternal grandmother, who fled from Russian persecution in the late 1890’s. Although the facts were greatly manipulated through poetic license, the strength and courage of my grandmother were brought out through the actions of the protagonist, Karina Kikorov. Mr. Krawitz also emphasized my belief that, although self-publishing is laborious and often doesn’t result in much revenue, it nevertheless allows the writer exposure and an opportunity to share his/her writing. I feel that, if only hundreds of people read my books rather than thousands or even millions, I am happy that at least I am still sharing my thoughts with others, and that makes all the difference to me.

I’ll let you know when you can look up the article on line in the December 27, 2012 copy of the Q Guide from The Bayside Times. Until my next post, probably next year (2013) I send you my very best wishes again for health and happiness in the New Year.

AFTERMATH OF A TRAGEDY…

Saturday, December 15th, 2012

It would be impossible for me to say nothing about the horrific tragedy that occurred today at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Evil incarnate seemed to have taken over the mind and heart of a disturbed twenty-four year-old man who took out his hatred, resentments and possible feelings of persecution on twenty innocent children and seven educators, including the principal of the school and the school psychologist.

So many mass killings have occurred over the years, but never have so many young, innocent children have been murdered, ironically amid the background of an idyllic Connecticut community. I taught middle school for thirty years before I retired in 1996, and even my twelve and thirteen year-old students seemed young and vulnerable to me. But kindergarten students, five year-old children gunned down by a crazed young gunman! I could never imagine such young, innocent children being murdered like this. Words do not suffice because this tragedy is too horrific for words.

I have two wonderful step-children and three beloved grandchildren. Those of you who are reading this post most likely have children and/or grandchildren, too. The love we feel for family is so great that it is impossible to conceive of the sadness of losing any of our loved ones. Our hearts go out to the parents of these children and adultls whose lives were taken so prematurely!

When God gave us the gift of free will, He made it possible for man to do acts of good or evil or a combination of the two. The majority of us use our gift of free will responsibly, but there is unfortunately always the possibility that some very sick and disturbed individuals will misuse this gift and do unspeakable things. The Bible tells us in 2 Timothy 3: 1-5 that we live in “critical times”, “times hard to deal with.” Horrible acts like today’s at Newtown validate this Bible prophecy.

There is little to say that will console those who have lost so much today. However, we know that the majority of humankind do not commit heinous acts like this. We also know from the Bible that we are living in “the last days” and that God will very soon right the wrongs that have come into the fore so many times over the last six thousand years of recorded time. Until then, we must have faith in the prophecy that the time for God’s intervention in mankind’s affairs will be soon, and that, although the grief we all collectively must bear is great, God never gives us anything more than we can endure. As the Bible tells us in Matthew 24:13, “He who endures until the end will be saved.” Let us all endure with faith in God and hope for the future as we collectively pray for the victims of today’s massacre, their relatives and all the survivors of that Connecticut community. May God bless us all!

Until the next post,

Cheryl

WAYS OF AVOIDING STRESS AND ANXIETY NOW AND THROUGHOUT 2013

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

It may not be possible to avoid all stress and anxiety, but there are strategies that we can all use to feel more relaxed and at peace. They are nothing new, but when we are overwhelmed with the stress of our lives, we often lose sight of these Bible-based suggestions, which enable us to leave the anxiety of the world behind and enter into an inner world of peace.

First, understand that everyone experiences problems in this life. No one of us is unique in that respect. It is how we deal with the problems in our lives that define who we are and what values we espouse.

When we experience a problem, whether it be poor health, loneliness, loss of a friend or relative, a failed marriage, etc., we cannot let the situation get the better of us. We have two choices. One is to give in to the problem. The other is to find encouragement through God’s Word, the Bible; good friends and family. Helping others whose problems are even worse than ours is an option as well.

We also want to find joy in some phase of our lives, even if we experience a general sadness or negativity. Everyone has a hobby, a dream, a special pastime that somehow is ignored in the hectic “rat race” that often characterizes our lives. Why not take a few minutes or even hours to pursue that dream or hobby? Make time for sports, writing, art, a weekend vacation if any of these will bring a little joy into our lives and help us over the moments of disillusionment? The “new lease on life” is worth any time lost in many of the tedious endeavors of our everyday lives. With a good frame of mind, we can make up the lost time in no time at all.

Depression and discouragement require a great deal of courage. It is easy to give in, but the consequences are spiritually and emotionally fatal. Fighting the depression through faith in God can be a challenge, but it is just the antidote for depression. Read special passages that are strengthening and spiritually enriching. I will devote another post to my favorite scriptures, but right now I want to offer just a few.

2 Corinthians 4: 17,18 says: “We are thrown down, but not destroyed…We do not give up.” The Supreme God of the universe, Jehovah God, can give us the courage to meet all of our problems with strength and often joy if we have faith in Him, faith even as small as a mustard seed (as Jesus told his disciples). In Psalm 28: 7 David tells us: Jehovah is my strength and my shield. In him my heart has trusted, and I have been helped, so that my heart exults.” In Romans 8: 37, the Apostle Paul says, “In all these things we are coming off completely victorious through him that loved us.”

If we are lonely, we have to push ourselves to emerge from our shells and meet people. We want to become more active in our house of worship. If we have lost someone dear to us, we would want to join a group where we can grieve with others in similar situations. Joining a club can be good for us. Why not get involved with others and offer them our help? The Bible tells us that there is more joy in giving than in receiving. Most of all, we don’t want to worry too much about ourselves. Let us use that emotion to assist those that need our help. If we are physically ill, we want to get the best medical help and pray to God to help us get better or at least cope with our situation so that we can go on with our lives and function tolerably at least.

Experiencing trials in life is unavoidable, but we don’t have to succumb to them. We have to be strong if we are going to last throughout the end of this system of things and live to see one day the unparalleled joy that God has promised us in the Paradise that looms ahead. We can do it because we won’t have to do it ourselves. God will always be there to help.

Until the next post,

Cheryl

AS THE NEW YEAR SLOWLY APPROACHES…

Monday, December 10th, 2012

Most people are so busy at this time of the year that they don’t always find the time to enjoy the fruits of their labor. They may decorate their homes creatively, prepare beautiful meals, and generously extend many invitations to family and friends, but do they really enjoy their guests, the loveliness of their homes and the wonderful food they have prepared for each occasion?

Whatever one’s religious beliefs, don’t you think that there should be time allotted for enjoyment, fun, reflection and a sense of real peace felt deep inside as the clock keeps ticking towards 2013? Shouldn’t this time of the year be as joyful and stress-free as possible? And shouldn’t the love, compassion and sense of unity that some exude this time of the year be part of the everyday demeanor of all of us…long after the New Year has come and gone, along with the different holidays that millions of people celebrate?

The question is “How can we deal with the challenges of life, both now and throughout the rest of the year, and yet still retain a sense of calm as well as joy?” I want you to take some time to reflect upon the answer to this question yourself in your own way, and in my next post, I will provide a number of Bible-based strategies that will keep you strong, focused and, yes, even really happy.

I won’t wait very long before I post, so please start thinking. When you pray to God for guidance, the answers will come. And yes, prayer is one way to meet the challenge.

Until my next post,

Cheryl