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Well, I’m pleased to announce the release of my second novel, A Sad Soul Can Kill You! Although written as a stand alone novel, A Sad Soul Can Kill You is a continuation from my debut novel, Yesterday’s Eyes. However, if you did not read the first novel, fear not. A Sad Soul Can Kill You is written in a way that allows you to empathize – whether you’ve read the first novel or not – and relate to the trials and tribulations that each character goes through.

Synopsis

After reconciling with her mother and grandmother, Tia Sparks has made a new life in Chicago with Lorenzo, her husband of thirteen years. Still, overcoming the trials and tribulations from her past has not prepared her for this latest set of disheartening challenges.

Lorenzo has been harboring a secret for years and it’s threatening to physically destroy him. It’s turning him into a man that Tia no longer recognizes. With her frustrations continuing to mount, Tia makes a decision that she quickly finds herself regretting.
Serenity, their thirteen year old daughter, struggles to find her place amidst her own low self-esteem and the distance of her parents. With nowhere to turn, she makes an irrational choice that places her directly in the path of an unstable neighbor.
Soon all of them begin to realize the high price they must pay for their discontentment, and Lorenzo fights to relinquish the nightmare he’s been holding onto.
With God all things are possible. But can each of them find redemption and deliverance before a marriage is destroyed and lives are changed forever?

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When I decided to go on a 10-day fast in January of 2014, I expected to grow closer to God and to be able to understand His will for me with greater clarity. I asked myself what I needed most from Him at that time, and my answer was two-fold: I needed clarification and guidance. I wanted to hear His soft, undeniable voice internally whispering His will for me. I wanted to feel His spirit and confirmation.

 I began my fast hoping to receive clarification about a situation that I had been feeling guilty about. It was a circumstance that I had no control over. Still, I could not shed the burden of guilt and I continually tried to make amends for the ill behavior of others. I was reminded by my sister in Christ not to force doors open that God had shut. Yet, somehow I felt it was my duty to make everything right for everyone.

 During the first day of my fast, God blessed me with a revelation. He showed me that the burden had never been mine to carry. Although I knew this to be truth, somehow I had been unable to grasp the concept. While fasting and praying, God helped me to realize that if He had wanted me to take care of it, He would have made the provision for me to do so. But He hadn’t. I understood. Not only was the door shut, it was locked. And finally, I was able to relinquish an unnecessary burden.

 There was another kind of guilt that resurfaced while I was fasting. This one revolved around a particular television series. I had allowed it to entertain me with all of its profanity and behavior. For one hour each week, I found myself firmly planted in front of the television set ready for the drama the show was sure to bring. I was so attracted to the performance that I made sure I had my DVR set to record the entire series in case I missed an episode. That was my vice. It was like a soap opera, always ending on a cliff-hanger. But it was an ungodly cliff-hanger, and deep down inside I knew better.

 This type of guilt did not require fasting. This one simply required me to obey the word of God and diligently protect what my eyes see and what my ears hear. Watching the weekly program had always produced a twinge of guilt in me, and I would promptly try to eradicate the feeling by justifying my actions. But how do you justify not obeying the word of God? The guilt would not recede, and I questioned myself – did I really want to invite this negativity into my home every week? I had to confess that I did not, so I made the decision, while fasting, to stop watching it.  

 The guidance I sought from God was of a financial nature. Although working part-time, I pondered if I should decrease my hours even more. My logic was that this would give me more time to dedicate to my love of writing, and explore other avenues of the craft as well. The answer did not come quickly. As a matter of fact, it did not come at all while I was fasting. But God had a plan. It just hadn’t been revealed to me yet.

 Eighteen days after the fast had ended, I reached out to a literary agency inquiring about an intern position as a content editor. The owner told me that she had recently received several projects and had been praying to God, telling Him that she needed more help. There was my guidance. God, in His omnipotence, had devised the master plan! I had my answer. There was no need to decrease my hours, and I could still expand my writing and explore other avenues of my craft. 

 Through fasting, I found peace of mind, deliverance, and direction – everything I was seeking. I know my path is determined by wherever God leads me. My only desire is to recognize when He is leading and to follow Him. Much like spring is a time of renewal, so too is fasting. And by the grace of God, I will be renewed, reviewed, rejuvenated, and improved – not just once a year, but whenever needed through the power of prayer and regular fasting.

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I’ve had several jobs during my life time – dish washer, waitress, data entry clerk, surgical technician, and a career as a registered nurse. With each of these positions, there was always something lacking. I felt a yearning for something more, a feeling that I was meant to be doing something else. Deep down inside I knew what it was. I knew because I had been doing it since the age of ten. The something else I was meant to do was write.

It began with poetry, and then progressed to short stories – just a page or two. I remember walking into bookstores and seeing the selection of books displayed on the tables. I told myself that one day my book would be displayed on one of those tables as well.

By the time I was in my early twenties, I was a data entry clerk by day and an aspiring freelance writer by night. I submitted short stories to various magazine publications on a regular basis – and was rejected by them just as often. I also freelanced for a local newspaper for a brief period of time.

I tried to remain faithful to my purpose. I enrolled in the university and majored in mass communications. But life has a way of distracting you. At the time, I was a divorced mother of three with a full-time job (that had nothing to do with writing by the way). I became exhausted trying to juggle school, family and work so I chose to discontinue my education.

After working for eight years as a data entry clerk, I returned to college and became a surgical/ob technician, later graduating with a degree as a registered nurse (again…nothing to do with writing).

In 2008, my youngest child graduated from high school. I continued working as a nurse until the restlessness began two years later. I realized that my dream of becoming a published author remained unfulfilled. Sure, I had freelanced for a local newspaper briefly, but I wanted to write a book. My unfulfilled prediction of seeing my own book sitting on a table in a bookstore began to nag at my soul.

I had worked as a nurse for sixteen years, and maintained an on again/off again relationship with writing that had lasted for more than forty-one years. I began to ponder why I had pursued a career as a registered nurse instead of pursuing my dream of becoming a writer.

I looked to God for the answer and for His guidance, and I found it in Revelations Chapter 4, Verse 11: “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” Through these words of wisdom, I came to understand why my purpose had remained unfulfilled.

Although God had instilled the gift of writing in me, it had not been my time to use it. I had strayed away from Him, and had abused the gift He’d given me by using it to write about ungodly things. Once I rededicated myself to Jesus Christ, the new me began to infuse itself into my writing.

After eight months of prayer, I ended my nursing career and fully embraced my God- given purpose. I began writing for the glory of God. My affirmation that I was on the right track came when my debut novel Yesterday’s Eyes was published in 2012.

Today, as I journey through the second half of my life, I continue to fulfill my purpose. I have a part time job that involves writing ninety percent of the time, I am a freelance content writer, and I have recently expanded my purpose to include the world of content editing which I discovered I enjoy a great deal.

Trusting in the Lord has become a lesson in faith and a victory for me. With God’s help, I am able to identify and remove anything that threatens to distract me from my true purpose. I now reject the toxicity of phrases like ‘later’, ‘one day’, and ‘when I retire’.

Today is the day!

Through my writing, I can be used by God for His glory over and over. Fulfilling my purpose has not made me financially rich, but I am rich in spirit and I am doing what I was meant to do. Even though it took forty-one years for me to embrace my true purpose, I can say quite happily, “Better late than never”.

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A troubled spirit combined with a fragile heart keeps the soul in a state of weariness. You might pretend that everything is alright but you can never be delivered from this type of bondage by pretending.

As a work in progress, I continually pray the same prayer that David prayed in Psalms 51:10: “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” (KJV)

Through the power of Jesus, your spirit can be renewed. Your heart can be cleansed from all the negative, unproductive clutter that’s been residing in it.

These lyrics from the song “Awesome” by Pastor Charles Jenkins say it all:

“My God is Awesome

He can move mountains

Keep me in the valley

Hide me from the rain

My God is Awesome

Heals me when I’m broken

Strength where I’ve been weakened

Forever He will reign…”

If you’re still dealing with a mountain of burdens, if you feel like you’re drowning in the storms of life, if you’re feeling broken and weak, and you’re still holding on to memories of mistreatment from the past, it’s time to let go.

It’s time to let Jesus shine His light into the dark recesses of your heart. Let Him remove all the neatly organized grudges you’ve been holding onto.

Suppression can be fatal.

The feelings you’ve been harboring in your heart are manifesting themselves in the form of:

Depression

Obesity

Strife

Heart disease

High blood pressure

Stomach ulcers

Addictions, and a host of other physical and mental ailments.

If God has blessed you to see another day, it is because He is giving you another opportunity to surrender yourself to Jesus and be delivered.

2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”  (KJV)

Today is your day. Be delivered from the old you and start enjoying the new you – the one who’s been finally set free.

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As the time gets closer for the release of Yesterdays’s Eyes, I remain careful to give God all the glory. I am thankful for the blessing He has bestowed upon me, but more thankful that I am able to be used by Him.

I am thankful that I am God’s vessel – to be filled by Him in whatever way He chooses – a vessel that releases His blessings and spills them out onto the tangible pages of a book. 

God’s Word has the power to change the unchangeable, to offer light where darkness exist. He has given us a way to freedom – Jesus Christ. Through Him, we are no longer limited by our past, we can no longer be defined by what has happened to us.

Jesus stands waiting.  “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20 (KJV)

If you’re still in bondage, Jesus is waiting to set you free. Let the yesterdays of your life be no more. 

No matter how bad things may seem, God is ALWAYS in control. Now let Him be.

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This poem is for anyone dealing with a troubled spirit – depression, addiction, anger, fear, confusion or some other unnamed source.

You may think you’re going through it alone, but you’re not…your actions affect the reactions of others.

Most importantly, you don’t have to go through it alone. Jesus is waiting to carry your load. He will carry you through.

Ask the Savior to help you. Surrender, trust, and believe.

Wasted

It is not your intention
to disrupt them,
But there is something unspeakable
in the air.

It is their intention
to draw the line,
to mask their love
with a persona
that doesn’t care.

And so they cry,
but only inside.
And you’ll never know
how much they love you.

So

You continue your path,
destructive, full of wrath.
Not knowing
how much reaping
you must sow.

But you do know
you can not slay your demons alone.
You can’t denounce them
without the blood shed by Christ.

Still your utterances are countless
and of useless meaning.
You pray heartless prayers
that will not suffice.

And so you suffer,
rebellious and hurt.
But it is not a solitary pain.

For those who love you,
it is contagious,
and they suffer
again
and again.

Don’t let the day come
when God’s voice becomes silent,
when He is no more knocking on your door.

For if that should happen,
you will have strayed too far,
and a life – your life –
will be wasted
for evermore…

© 2012

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In the Gospel of John 1:1 it states, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

For a long time I did not make the connection that the “Word” was Jesus Christ even though verse 14 tells me so. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)

It was only after a particular Bible study did I put it all together. It’s also when I noticed that the ‘w’ in word is capitalized. This indicates to me that the writer is not speaking of a word in the literal sense, but of Jesus Christ – God’s Word made into flesh.

A second significant aspect is found in John 1:5: “And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” Jesus Christ is the light this verse speaks of, but those who were in darkness (meaning they were lost because they did not know Christ) could not or would not accept Him. This verse is significant because the same thing is still going on today.

There are many lost souls who have no true knowledge or understanding of Jesus Christ. Sadly, they want to keep it that way. But Jesus said if you are not with Him then you are against Him. “He that is not with me is against me;…” (Matthew 12:30)

So, if a person is not abiding by the commandments of Jesus Christ, they are against Him. They are living in sin. And living in sin is the same as being lost – both of which the word “darkness” in John 1:5 refers to.

A third significant aspect is in John 3:3: “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” This is a most significant statement because it is telling us what must happen in order for us to abide with God forever.

To be born again means that we must surrender our selves to Jesus Christ. We must repent of our sins, and be willing to change for the better. We must accept Jesus as our Savior, and be willing to put to death our old selves, hence the term “born again”.

If we put all our trust and faith in Jesus Christ, He can begin the renewing process within us. This involves a daily cleansing of our soul, and it is something we cannot achieve on our own.

While we will never be perfectly cleansed from all sin in this world, we will have a different mind-set, a change of heart that will allow us to turn away from the sinful habits that once held us captive.

Jesus Christ promises, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (John 8:36)

I can’t think of anything more significant than that.

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In the book of Ecclesiastes, The Preacher shares with the reader his observations about life. His conclusions, are that yes, life does have meaning. But the meaning lies in how we live. A life that is lived in constant pursuit of material gain, one where the acquisition of excess comes at the cost of emotional and physical sacrifice is to me a life that is in constant motion…but for all the wrong reasons. The Preacher called it vanity. And I agree.

Everyone must and should earn their own way. That is not in question. But to what degree? The hustle and bustle of a daily “grind” can be toxic to us if we despise the very activity that we rush off to each morning. It can also be detrimental to our health as it is bound to produce an unnecessary amount of stress on a daily basis. Yet, for the sake of recognition and/or material gain, we will endure such a level of un-fulfillment until old age relieves us of that task or the toxicity of it all fills us with disease.

Life does have meaning when looked at from the right perspective. It is a gift from God. And not only did He give us life, He gave us “directions” (the Bible) on how to live it. All we need to do is ask for His guidance and help in understanding and following those directions.

Once we understand the real meaning of life – what our true purpose is – we become free to put everything else into its proper perspective. Revelations Chapter 4, verse 11 tells us why we were created:
“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”

And The Preacher sums it up in Ecclesiastes Chapter 12, verse 13 by saying, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”

Everything else we do should be secondary.

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I imagine a hawk is somewhat comfortable believing it is the conqueror as it captures its intended prey.  And creatures of the ground are not pacing the cement, back and forth, worrying about when and where their next meal is coming from.  No, they just do, by God-given instinct, what they are created to do.  Hunt, catch, eat, and repeat.

We were created to do something too.  We are not here by accident.  But for a lot of people it feels that way.  There are many people who don’t know why they’re here, and so it creates a kind of aloofness.  A what-does-it-matter kind of mentality.

We are told in Ecclesiastes 12:13, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”

So, this is why we are here – to honor and obey the One who created us.  First and foremost.  Is that all you say?  No.  But this must be the number one priority.  And it is possible to love, honor and obey God and have a fulfilling life despite those who do not think the two can go hand in hand.

We can have and pursue other desires, interest, dreams and goals as long as they do not go against the Word of God, as long as they are not causing us to behave in a way that would be displeasing to Him.

This world can be a dark, disappointing place.  And if you are trying to get through it on your own, without the power of God, without the saving grace of Jesus Christ, then your journey can become even more difficult to travel.

You DO have a purpose.  You were created to serve God.  “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”  Revelation 4:11

(“…thou hast created all things…” that includes us)

Accept your role – God’s gracious gift.  I know sometimes it doesn’t feel like a gift when you’re struggling.  When it’s an everyday problem just to survive.  When your refrigerator is empty and so are your pockets.  I know.  I’ve been there.

But if God created you for His glory, then He most certainly will not forsake you if you don’t forsake Him.  Be thankful, and start walking in the light you were meant to walk in.

Everything always looks clearer when the Son is shining on them.

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I just finished reading a blog by someone who spent a few days in a psych ward.  It was  interesting to note the point she made that no one there had to pretend to be anything  other than what they were.  Everyone could finally remove their everything-is-okay mask, and let the real person out.

I’m sure a lot of you know what that mask is.  It’s the one that hides the real person, and covers the everyday flaws that we all possess.  I’m also sure a lot of you know that wearing that mask day in and day out is hazardous to your health, and is in itself, enough to drive you over the edge.

I know I do.  I used to wear that mask.  But then I accepted Jesus Christ into my life, and as He changed and continues to change me, I learned that you can only be what you don’t want to be for so long.  I learned that you can only not be that which you long to be for just as limited a time.

After that…a slow, subtle death begins, and rather than put your dissatisfaction on display for all to see, you don your own personalized mask.

But you’re still dying inside.

Whatever area of your life is causing you to wear a mask – or maybe you have to wear more than one mask – is an area that you need to turn over to Jesus Christ.  This is just one of the reasons why, if you don’t have a relationship with Him, you need one.  And it is not the most important reason…the salvation of your soul is.

Trying to be what other’s expect you to be; trying to act in a way that fits in with everyone else’s’ expectations of you takes its toll.  But for the Christian, we are not living for the praise of mankind.

So, what does God say?  How are we to live according to His requirements?

We are to be DISCIPLINED to the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Jesus said, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”  Luke 6:46

 We are to be OBEDIENT to the commandments of Jesus Christ.

Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”  (John 14:15)

 We are to be FOLLOWERS of Jesus Christ.

Jesus said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”  (Luke 9:23)

 We are to put Jesus FIRST before everything and everyone.  He becomes the center of our life.

Jesus said, “…for no man can serve two masters:…”  (Matthew 6:24)

  The apostle Paul said in Romans 8:38-39:

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

This can be your wonderful legacy also!  And you won’t have to pretend anymore.

If you will accept Jesus Christ into your life as your Lord and Master, acknowledge your sinful ways (as we all have) and confess a desire to change from those ways (repent), you can just go to the Father with all your cares, needs, and concerns.  You can approach Him with humble confidence, thanking Him all the way, and praising Him.

Some people may think that I still wear a mask because I don’t get bent out of shape about most things.  But that’s the presence of the Holy Spirit dwelling in my soul, and I pray to God regularly for strengthening and renewal (when needed) of my faith.  I ask for wisdom and guidance so there’s no need for me to contradict myself by getting all bent out of shape, is there?

I’m not pretending.  I’m not wearing a mask.  And you don’t have to either.  Jesus Christ will set you free from all pretenses if you let Him.  And remember…being freed by Jesus Christ is being free indeed!

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