Monday, January 15, 2018

Are You Too Self-Reliant To Trust God?

It's just that in the Deep South, women learn at a young age that when the world is falling apart around you, it's time to take down the drapes and make a new dress. ~Karen Marie Moning, author

How many times have you taken down the drapes and made a new dress? Sometimes I feel like my closet is full of new dresses—and they’re not the store-bought kind!

The scene of Scarlett O’Hara taking down the drapes to make a new dress in Gone With The Wind is iconic. Especially for Southern women. That mentality is bred into us. But what is it about women in general that when adversity strikes, we muddle through, plow through, or torpedo through? The intensity depends on what the situation calls for. If it involves our children, we definitely shift into overdrive.

While it’s important to see the glass half full and push through the hard times in life, it’s also important to take a step back and wait for God to show you the dresses you already have and what to do with the drapes other than rip them down.

There is such a thing as being too tough. Too self-reliant. Too brave. After all, as Christians, our strength comes from Christ (Philippians 4:13 NIV). When we rely solely on self, we often become hardened like drought-stricken land, unable to soak up blessings when showered upon us. Yet, a soft heart comforts others and receives blessings God intends.

Sometimes it’s enough to crumple into a heap at Jesus’ feet and wait for his healing hand to reach out and lift us up.

But there’s also a danger in not being willing to walk the tough road, in being tossed about in the wind, unable to find the strength to pray with confidence (James 1:5-6). 

So where is the balance?

Lord, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us. Isaiah 26:12 

Rest in the knowledge that God is already out ahead of you. He’s established a peaceful place for our soul to rest when trials threaten to overwhelm us. All that we have accomplished He’s done for us. Does that mean we don’t have to work? Certainly not. But He’s there—ahead of the work. He knows where our successes lie and where our failures will strengthen, not harden, us. Praise Him for meeting your needs and seek His wisdom in your life. His solution is always better than ours.

Next time you’re tempted to rely on your strength alone, remember the same God who furnished the drapes will provide the dresses. They may not have designer labels or even be new, but they’ll be sufficient for your needs.

Will you trust Him for that today?

Laura Hodges Poole is the author of four published books and has contributed to two others, all available on Amazon. Her passion is encouraging others in their Christian walk through her blog, A Word of Encouragement. Her upcoming Christian Romance, "Return to Walhalla," will release in March 2018. When she’s not writing, you might find her hiking, playing the piano, or being crafty. A mother of two, Laura lives in South Carolina with her husband and son.

“Young Woman Near River” image courtesy of marin/
“Young Woman Opening Curtains” image courtesy of FrameAngel/

Friday, January 12, 2018

What's in a Series

Happy Friday STT friends. I’m celebrating a new release in one of my series, and it occurred to me some might want to know how to distinguish one type of series from the other. Sometimes, it isn’t easy to tell.

A series is connected by some common element. It might be a setting, the characters, or a theme. An episodic series is one where a story moves from one episode to another. It can end in a cliff-hanger or not, but either way, you have to read the entire series to get the whole story.

My new release is Revealed, Book 3 in Intrigue under Western Skies. The series is connected by setting, characters and theme. The story begins in Charleston, SC, but quickly moves to a fictional town in Nebraska, where the other books are set. Each book has a different plot, and each story can stand alone, but it adds to the reading enjoyment if the books are read in order. Of course, different readers have different taste. I’ve even heard of readers who read the ending of a book first.

I have two books out in another series, The Wolf Deceivers. It isn’t connected by either characters or setting. Each plot is a suspense that carries the theme of the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing. It doesn’t matter which book is read first.

Some series have prequel books, usually a novella. I got carried away with the prequel for Intrigue under Western Skies, and wrote three novellas. And the boxset of all three is FREE today through Jan 14. It contains background information about Carianne Barlow, the heroine of the first two books in IUWS, although the novellas are about her three friends who become mail-order brides.

Also, I’ll be giving away an ebook copy of Revealed to one commenter today. If you are an author, do you prefer to write series or stand-alone books. If you’re a reader, which type book do you prefer and why? 

Katherine Levinson and her gravely ill mother face eviction, and she has no choice but to appeal to the brother she’s never seen, the famous cattle baron, Rhyan Cason. Over her gravely ill mother’s objections, they move to Nebraska and the sprawling cattle ranch, Sollano. 
They are met with whispers and scorn in the little prairie town near Sollano. Gradually, the sins of her parents’ past surface, and Katherine begins to doubt her very identify. With her brother busy with cattle rustlers and her mother too ill to be bothered, Katherine turns to Colt Holliman, a soft-spoken neighboring rancher, for comfort.
Then unexpected danger strikes, testing Katherine's and Colt's trust in themselves and in God.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

"The Best Yes" Book Review by Shirley Raye Redmond

The Best Yes
Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands
by Lysa Terkeurst
Thomas Nelson Publishing

Here’s an inspiring book to read at the beginning of the new year and to resolve to let your yes be yes and your no be no. If you ever been in the position of feeling overwhelmed by commitments and feeling guilty whenever you say “no” to anything, this book is for you.

The author is the president of the Proverbs 31 Ministry. She covers a wide swath of topics, but all are related in some way to making the right decisions—God-driven decisions, or as she says, “we must not confuse the command to love with the disease to please.” She goes on to help the reader differentiate between the two. With real-life anecdotes and spiritual wisdom, Lysa helps her readers to overcome the agony of making hard decisions by embracing Bible-based wisdom about decision-making.

God has not called us to do ALL things. As my friend Tim has pointed out on more than one occasion, God hasn’t called us to do MOST things either. We want to give our “best yes” and fulfill our obligations with joy—not with guilt or dread and a half-hearted effort.

I highly recommend this book. It’s not a heavy tome—it’s a quick read written in a poignant, yet conversational style. Do yourself a favor. Buy the book. Read it. Then pass it on to another woman whose friendship and love you appreciate.

An award-winning writer and frequent conference speaker,Shirley Raye Redmond is the author of two inspirational historical novels, PRUDENCE PURSUED and AMANDA’S BEAU, as well as two dozen children’s books. Shirley Raye holds an M.A. in literature. She has been married to her husband Bill for forty years. They live in New Mexico and are blessed with two grown children, two adorable grandsons, and one spunky Scottish terrier. Touch bases at or Facebook and