Merry Christmas!

To all my friends (aka awesome readers),  I want to wish you a wonderful and very

Merry Christmas!

I’m so grateful for the hope that we can celebrate this time of year.  The most precious gift ever!

I hope that your time is filled with family, friends, love and joy….

and food!

Mmmm, food!

Thanks for walking on this journey with me. I love hearing from you and just knowing you’re out there.

~Sarah

Christmas 3

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Interview with Ronie Kendig + Grand Prize Giveaway!

FALCON Blog tour 1

This is a big day for me. If you follow my blog, you know that I am a big fan of Ronie Kendig. I never miss one of her books and pretty much spend months looking forward to them before their release date. FALCON was no exception. This book was made even more exciting for me when I found out that I was going to get the chance to interview Ronie!! Seriously, this is so awesome for me. I’m am honored to call Ronie friend as we’ve had many conversations about writing, editing and life. God blessed me with one of the coolest gifts when He brought Ronie into my world. I am still a bit starstruck each time I chat with her. Even thought she is one of the most humble, most down to earth ladies I know! FALCON released this month and I got to ask Ronie some questions about this amazing book. Here’s what she had to say!

Ronie, thanks for chatting about FALCON with me! I thought it was one of your best books to date. I seem to say that a lot about your books, but this one was so far exceeding my expectations… and I have high expectations when it comes to your fantastic writing!

FALCON cover 1

First of all, what do you hope readers get out of FALCON?

As with any of my novels, I pray that readers come away with a sense of hope, that no matter how dire things are in life, they know there is hope in Christ. I’d also like to see readers recognize the important of self-forgiveness, because, sometimes the hardest person to forgive is yourself.

What was the hardest thing about writing FALCON?

In all honesty, simply writing. I was so terribly burned out when it came time to get FALCON done, that I literally cried *every* time I sat down to write. I truly leaned on God, and I give Him all credit for the story that lives between the pages of that amazing cover.

What do you love most about Sal and FALCON?

To me, I loved writing Sal because, to many of his teammates, he had it all together. He was an excellent soldier, and he had unwavering dedication to the team. Inside, however, Sal was crumbling. I really like writing raw characters, because I think most of us in the real world are raw in one respect or another. And this book was one I loved because it brought closure to the team, to the series–and that’s always satisfying, in a very bittersweet way.​

Since FALCON is the last in the series (I’m still secretly hoping for Titanis to get his own book), what was your favorite thing about writing this series?

You’re not the only one holding out for Titanis. *grins* I really liked this team of soldiers. They were different from the Nightshade team because they each felt (at least to me) like their own person, with distinct idiosyncrasies that often caused some friction among the team, but also a cohesive unit. They had their beefs with each other, but when it came down to it, nobody mess with their team. 

My last question to you is, HOW COULD YOU?

One line from Aladdin comes to mind: Phenomenal Cosmic Power!!! Itty bitty living space.” Haha. As the author of the series, I saw what was coming, but I was confined to the story arc. But I also wanted readers to know…I’m listening. I hear ya. I’m right there with ya. What I write doesn’t always make me happy. There are things I’d rather not write. But then…the story wouldn’t be real. And Raptor would probably come after me. :-P​

Well, I sure wouldn’t want you to go against Raptor! Thanks for the chat, Ronie!

If the last question grabbed your interest and you want to see what made my jaw drop, you’ll want to enter my giveaway below! You have a chance of winning your very own copy of FALCON! Trust me, you want to get your hands on this amazing book! Enter today if you live in Canada or the US!
(Draw goes until May.25th, 2015!)

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you don’t win, get yourself a copy of FALCON (and all his Raptor brothers) at:

AMAZON (

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B&N

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Connect with Ronie on her (AMAZING new) website, Facebook, Goodreads and twitter!

Ronie Kendig

~Sarah

No Home for Complacency

I am weary. Weary to the very depths of my being.

Broken and broken hearted.

I am so tired of complacency. Unawareness. Dangerous unawareness.

I think that I am happy. I think things are good. I am complacent. I’ve allowed satan to slowly blind my eyes. To the point where I don’t see the issue. I don’t see the danger.

Then, because He is merciful, God tears away the blinders… and I see.

The mess. The horrible, devastating crippling disaster that I have allowed to happen right in front of me.

It brings me to my knees. How could I have let this happen? How could I have let satan, the ENEMY of my SOUL, get such an anchor in?

Shame, horror, pain and a grief so deep drive me to my knees. I see who I am. I see the rubble. The complete devastation of myself.

I see Him. Through a mirror dimly, but Him. The light of His glory. I see how I have no idea of the size and power of the King I have promised my all to.

The mess can be made clean. The destruction… restoration.

Not by me. Only by Him.

I am done with dangerous unawareness. I am no home for complacency.

The blinders are off and I will fight to keep them off.

Thank you, Lord. The revelation is painful, but I know You are with me in the clean-up. You faithful will remain.

Will You Dare to Love?

By Seyed Mostafa Zamani

DARE TO LOVE
It’s all over the news. The world can’t stop watching. We shouldn’t stop watching. We know that all around the world there are people being persecuted. It may be for their social position, for their unique abilities, for their family status or it may be for their faith.

In Iraq there are many people who fall into that last category. You’ve seen it on the news if you are even remotely plugged in to what’s going on in the world. The President has spoken on it several times lately. In Iraq, Christians are being given an ultimatum. “Convert, pay up… or DIE.” Yep, those are the options. Give up your faith, pay them money, or ‘face the sword’. Wow, sounds like an offer they can’t refuse.

In a country where the national average is $5000, a lot of people don’t have the money to spare in order to pay ‘protection money’. 25% of the people in Iraq live below the poverty line. So they run. Leaving all they have known, towards the unknown with just the clothes on their backs. It’s all over the news. How can we see this and do nothing?

Forced to dig through garbage to help make a living for their families. Photo from UN.

Forced to dig through garbage to help make a living for their families. Photo from UN.

A sweet friend of mine, along with a few of her friends, have set up an organization called ‘DARE TO LOVE’. They aren’t a national organization, but they have their hearts set on the nation of Iraq. They are selling t-shirts and giving 75% of the proceeds to ‘Samaritan’s Purse’. I asked her a few questions and would like to share them with you.

Alex has been on my blog before. If you’ve been following for a while, you’ll remember her as we followed her journey with her sweet daughter Noel. Now, Alex has taken up the cause of many other families.

Thanks, Alex for chatting with me. Tell us, what is it about this cause that drew your attention?

As you know Caleb and I lost Noel 16 months ago. I’m a completely different person from 16 months ago. I may not physically look different but if you were to look at my heart, it would be crushed into a billion different pieces. Not only because I lost my daughter but because God reveals to me everyday that I’m not the only one with a heart in this condition. Reading and learing and seeing what is happening in Iraq would leave me speechless. I asked God to impress on my heart what the Iraqi people were feeling. An overwhelming amount of sadness and heartache and hopelessness came over me. I knew, this is how they feel times 100. I would wake up in the middle of the night and cry and pray. I can only imagine how it would feel to lose a loved one the way they have. To lose a child the way they have. So I guess to answer the question, my heart breaks every day for them.

How did the ‘Dare to Love’ idea begin?

I recently ordered a shirt from two girls to benefit The A21 Campaign, a campaign that saves and helps human trafficking victims. I wanted to do something similar, ok well the exact same, ha ha ha! I know it may seem silly but I really admired what they did and thought doing something like this was out of reach. I read something Christine Caine said, “If you can figure a way to make it happen, you need to DREAM BIGGER.” Well, I figured a way to make this happen, so I just need to dream bigger.

How did you determine the right charity to donate the money to?

I’m not sure if you know this but a Franklin Graham Festival came through El Paso, TX this year in April. I was blessed enough to work for them. Franklin Graham started Samaritan’s Purse. Samaritan’s Purse has been helping people who are suffering in Iraq. Since I worked for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association choosing Samaritan’s Purse was a no brainer. And of course I prayed about it!

Why shirts?

I think a shirt is a great way to promote anything. Not only are you donating to a worthy cause but you become a walking billboard. If someone asks, “What’s Dare to Love?” you can tell them what it is and why you decided to give to this specific charity and cause. I think we would be shocked by how many people are blinded by what’s happening in the world, so the shirt is a great conversation starter.

CHECK OUT THE WEBSITE HERE! Help Iraqi families and get your shirt to start the conversation!

Click here to help families in Iraq!

I’d love to add first names here of people who donated! Will you be the first? Let me know if you donate and I’ll add your name here!!

________________________

~Sarah

The Thorn

2 Cor 12 9

I wondered aloud today if the apostle Paul every grew weary of the ‘thorn’ in his flesh. Or, was he fine with it because it was part of God’s plan and could (and probably did) bring glory to His name.

I got my answer when I looked at 2 Corinthians 12. Paul says:

“Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.”

Boy, oh boy, Paul. I can identify with the pleading. I spend a lot of my time there on days like today.

Today I am weary as well. I like to think I’ve been doing better. I like to think that I am less anxious, less stressed and able to give more of my ‘control’ (yep, totally delusional, I know) over to the One who has the actual control.

But today, I am failing. Today I feel like the battle is huge. Today the anxiety is a hard fight.

I long for the day that I can say, like Paul:

“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

I am not content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecution and calamities. I feel like everyone else around me handles these things with much more strength, faith and grace than I do. I feel weak and no where near strong.

Thankfully, I have no trouble believing that He is strong. I just hope that soon I can bring glory to His name during days my thorn is fighting for my focus and attention and not just on days when I feel fine.

Lord, help me to boast in my weakness. I could use Your power resting upon me. And peace, please. Your peace that passes all understanding would be really nice right about now. Thank you that You know what You’re doing… even when I don’t see it.

Especially when I don’t see it.

Amen.

Ignoring the Giver

I just heard this song for the first time the other day.  I don’t know about you, but some songs have the power to stop me in my tracks and sometimes it seems like I’ve even stopped breathing just to listen.  This song did, and continues to, as I listen and think on the words.

I see the work of Your Hands
Galaxies spin in a Heavenly dance, oh God
All that You are is so overwhelming

I hear the sound of Your Voice
All at once it’s a gentle and thundering noise, oh God
All that You are is so overwhelming

I delight myself in You
Captivated by Your beauty
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

God, I run into Your arms
Unashamed because of mercy
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

Overwhelmed.  When I listen to this song, and quite a few others, I am just that.  I am overwhelmed at how deeply and completely lacking I am.

I am overwhelmed at the majesty of Him.  The deep and complete power and strength of Him.  The compassion, love, mercy and grace He shows me.  The reminder that I am worthy, because He said I am.  I don’t need to see the approval of man.  I don’t need to run in the ‘right circles’.  I don’t need to make the money the power players do.  I don’t need to be the focus of attention, be it in person or on social media.

Yet, I struggle.  I struggle to keep my focus on this magnificent God who has and is doing more for me than anything and anyone could ever do.

If you have followed this blog, or visited on occasion, you’ll know pretty quickly that I am a storm-enthusiast.  He’s given me an enthusiasm for all things storm after letting go of a 25 year fear.  I am so grateful for this.  As the dark clouds close in, I thank Him for the joy I take in them.

I have many storm chasing friends.  I’ve been blessed in making the connections I have.  Yet, I admit to making an idol of some of them.  My own stupidity.  I can look back and see how I’ve placed these very human people on a pestle because of what they do.  Not even for who they are.  Just for their job or hobby.  Sadly, relationships have changed because of my own inability to see them for who they are, beyond what they do.

I know this about myself and have been harmed by this way of thinking but I still see myself jumping at opportunities to be around them.  Not that hanging out with them is bad at all, but I feel like my priorities haven’t been where they should be.

It’s really disappointing.

I think nothing of passing off quiet time with my Father in lieu of blogging, finishing a movie, writing, reading.  Seemingly everything takes priority.  Prayer reserved for times of need. Relationship forgotten.

This is the same God that overwhelms me in the lyrics of a song, the creativity of a sunset, the majesty and power of a storm… and I can’t be bothered to continue developing a relationship with Him.

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One of my favourite places

The same God who gave me a passion for storms and has brought amazing people into my world to show me more about it… and I would rather develop those relationships than the One who put it all into motion.

I think it’s great to have friends.  I’m grateful for each and every one of them.  I think it’s great to want to spend time with my storm chaser friends, to encourage, to support, to learn from.  I need balance though.  I want balance.

I don’t want to ignore heaven and then find that heaven is ignoring me.

I don’t want to ignore the Gift-Giver and spend all my time on the gift.

I want my focus to be on the Creator and not on the created.

I believe that if my focus is there, that all the other relationships will fall into order.

~Sarah

Tired of Failing

Romans 7 15 blog 1

This has been my life in the past three weeks.  Honestly, the last 32 years, but it seems a lot more humiliating and disheartening within the last month.

I seem to be incapable of making wise decisions, from the smallest on up.  If I can mess up a decision and choose the worst course of action, I do.  The only thing I feel capable of doing this month is screwing up.

It’s been an interesting and uncomfortable journey as God reveals to me, in a torrent similar to being drowned in a waterfall, where I need to improve.

Dear friends, let me tell you, it’s ugly.  My confidence, which was probably not right in itself, is low.  I worry for each decision I make because failing seems to be inevitable.

Selfishness, irresponsibility, impatience… did I mention selfishness?

One of the biggest reminders this last week was that anything or anyone can become an idol.  Yep, I knew this.  I know this, yet it seems to easy for me to give credit to something or someone who is wholly undeserving of my thoughts, compared to the Father.  Yikes!  What is wrong with me?  I’ve seen the power, might, compassion, care, faithfulness, forgiveness and never-ending love of God.  He is wholly deserving of thought, praise and focus.  Yet I drag myself to worship at the feet of an idol.  An idol who has done nothing for me besides fail me.  It’s not the idols fault.  When compared to the Father, we all fail and that idol didn’t stand a chance.  It should never have been my focus in the first place.  My eyes should be fixed on the only One who never fails.

I grow accustomed to the world.  Complacent in my thoughts and actions and I end up failing.  How can I not?  I’m not focused on the One who is the reason for every success, every good decision and ‘every good and perfect gift’.  I get arrogant in how well I am doing.  The people I know.  The things I have.  Everything that means nothing.  Then, when God opens my eyes to the fruitlessness of worshiping the world, I crumble.

My struggle now is… where do I go from here?  I’ve hit a place where I feel so completely and utterly incapable of any good.  Any good, that is, besides God moving through me.  All I can see is failure.  God is good and can work through me, this I know.  I just don’t see how.  How does one take a pot that is so full of holes it no longer holds water and use it?  I don’t even know how to allow God to begin to move.  All I see is broken pieces.  Pieces that, even if put back together, I will probably just shatter again in my stupidity.

I keep thanking God, even when all I see is that I am broken.  For He is capable of so much good through me… if I can just get out of His way.  There’s a strange comfort to knowing that I am nothing without the Lord.

I’m sure that when a pot is empty and broken, it can still be put to use somehow.  I’m just waiting to see how He will choose to use me.  Until then, I’ll rest in the knowledge that He is doing a good work in me.  Even if it is painful.  Pruning is painful.  Hopefully something beautiful comes out of this.  I’m trying to be patient in the waiting.

“Let me see redemption win.  Let me know the struggle ends.  That you can mend a heart that’s frail and torn.”