Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Theory of Love


Some friends and I went and saw the movie, The Theory of Everything, based on the life of the well-known Cosmologist and Atheist, Stephen Hawking.

I'll be honest. I think we all felt a bit odd, six Christian church-going women throwing down some popcorn while listening to a movie about a guy whose sole purpose in life seems to be to deny the God whom we serve.

It wasn't a normal movie that I would have watched. I prefer some fluffy, non-smutty chick-flick, if I'm gonna be honest. (which has been SORELY lacking out of Hollywood lately, but I digress...)

But I actually found the movie really interesting. I learned a lot, even though I vehemently disagree with Stephen's viewpoint on the origin of time. It was a mine-stirring movie, I will give it that.

It also made me wonder...

Why are we so afraid of atheists? Why are we offended by their disbelief of God?

Oh, maybe not ALL of us, but go to any online forum of mixed religions and you have atheists or agnostics railing against God and Christians blasting them for their blasphemy.

I propose this.

The disbelief of God should break our heart, not offend us.

It should make us sad, not mad.

It should make us pray, not fear.

If we're going around the world being offended by unbelievers, something needs to change. Isn't compassion what we should feel? Isn't showing God's love to those who need it most what we are called to do?


I don't think we do this to be mean. On the contrary, I'm very sure that our instinct comes out of a love for our Saviour and a desire to "stick up" for Him because of all He's done for us.

But good motives doesn't always = good actions.


God doesn't need our wrath or righteous anger. He doesn't call us to berate those who don't believe in Him. He does, however, call us to love them. To show them GOD'S love.

Let's Chat.

Have you seen The Theory of Everything movie? Do you find it difficult to talk with those who don't share your faith? And lest I assume that everyone who reads this believes in Jesus, feel free to add into the discussion as well from that point of view as well.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Dreamers vs. Settlers

My Lacy and I were talking about dreams the other day.

We were talking about houses, actually, as she complained a bit at the "small" size of our home. I love our house and am so thankful God has blessed us with a safe roof over our head to raise our family in.

But I won't lie. It's on the small side given the size of our family. I have dreams of a little more space to spread out. A non-galley kitchen with an actual *swoon* island in the middle that more than two people can fit in. Bedrooms for the kids that aren't cramped. A real bonus room that doesn't have to house 2 kids bedrooms in it. A backyard that doesn't back up to a busy road (that is going to be under construction in a year or two and take a chunk of our previously good-sized backyard... OYE)

Looking at our finances, the *dream* of upgrading is pretty laughable and seemingly far-fetched.

Lacy and I had a fun chat about the balance between being content where God has put you but still having dreams, hopes and goals. About the balance between never being satisfied and always wanting "more"-- and being lazy and settling for less than God has for you because you don't want to put the effort into achieving it.

A house is minor on the scale of importance in that lessen, but I think it's a great example of the tug-a-war between the two extremes.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately, as my hubby and are VERY opposite when it comes to this.

I am the dreamer.

He is the settler.

I was raised by parents who moved a lot, who always had big dreams, and taught me to reach for the stars, that NOTHING was out of my reach if I put my heart into it and trusted God to get me there. They worked various jobs, started businesses, and were the epitome of "dreamers." We had times of plenty and times where we barely scraped up enough money for groceries. It rarely felt like there was a middle ground.

This mindset is why I've done crazy things like move halfway across the US to marry a man I'd only met twice at the young age of 18. It's why I always had big career goals and allowed me to be promoted to a Corporate manager at the age of 26 with no college degree. It's why I was able to let go of a stable, good paying job to stay home with my daughter, trusting that God would figure out the rest. It's why I started this crazy writing career.

Scott, on the other hand, was raised by parents who lived in the same house his whole life, went to the same church, had a father who worked at the same place since before Scott was born. They gradually made  improvements to the house. Made upward job movements as available. They were savers and not spenders. Frugal and steady. They didn't have a lot, but they were stable.

It's why my sweet hubby is always calm during crisis. It's why he was content with staying home with our kiddos while I built my career, letting his dream of working with his music go to the wayside. It's why he all his bosses have always remarked that they can always depend on Scott. He's dependable and always calms me when I am going to pull out my hair. He would probably be perfectly happy to retire in 30 years from his current job, living our current house, being exactly how we are now.

Which would be fine, except our house would be full of giant holes from me beating my head against the walls in frustration at having my dreams couped up for that many years. And those holes would still be gaping and unpatched because Scott is too steady and content to patch them.

See how this works?!? :-) :-)

The one thing that was very similar about our families and prevents that last scene is that through it all, we were taught that none of those things mattered without JESUS being your center.

JESUS being our center has saved our marriage many a times when our conflicting lifestyles of upbringing didn't mesh well, and will continue to in the future, I am very sure!

So where IS the balance?

The older I get, the more I realize--

There isn't one. 

Not really anyway. This is not black and white, with a simple solution. I'm a fan of simple solutions. *sigh*

But the kingdom of God is filled with many different personalities, INCLUDING dreamers and settlers. The key is to not let our personality be an excuse to not follow Jesus.


Are you a dreamer? Fabulous! 
 

God has made you that way, DREAM ON, my friend. Reach for those stars, because God wants to use you there! But--if God whispers and tells you to sit tight for a little while... you need to sit tight and be content with that. If your dreaming is making you discontent with where you are, then take a step back and reevaluate. Are your dreams JESUS focused, or are they YOU focused? Press into Jesus and make sure they are the former.

Are you a settler? Do you like things steady and even and safe? Fabulous! 


God has blessed you with a content spirit that is easily pleased and easily happy. He has planted you and wants you to bloom where you are, my friend. BUT--if God calls you to dig up your roots and move over to new soil--you need to suck it up, get out the shovel, and get on it. It may be hard, out of your comfort zone, and scary. But you do not want to bloom in a spot God isn't going to water and spread his sunshine. Don't let fear or laziness prevent you from going after God's heart.

As for me and my house?

We will serve and love Jesus, big or small. I'll still probably do spreadsheets and budgets of what things would need to look like to get there. I'll still probably peruse the Internet every once in a while to drool over a house that feels perfect. But doing those things won't prevent me from serving Jesus right here where he's put me. And if they do? Someone come delete my spreadsheets for me, okay?!?

Let's Chat!

Which are you? Are you a dreamer or a Settler? Do you feel like you've found a balance or do you still need to work at it?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A SIDE OF HOPE - COVER REVEAL!

My timeline has been greatly adjusted, but I finally have the final cover to share with you for my next novella, A Side of Hope that will be releasing next month! (Final release date to come in the next few weeks...as well as a potential teaser chapter!!)




Sometimes birthday presents come in strange packages...

Tilly Davis was meeting her forties head on. Happy and healthy, she didn't need a man to complete her. But as she blew out her candles, she made a halfhearted wish for maybe just a little excitement to spice up her life.
God must have misunderstood her wish, though, because moments later, He brought her the one person she never wanted to see again.

Her husband.

I'm SO excited to share this next book about HOPE and SECOND CHANCES and give you a glimpse into Tilly's life! 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

WORDS or VERSES or GOALS or RESOLUTIONS--- Oh MY!

Words, year verses, goals, resolutions...

I've seen lots of posts on the benefits and "ehs" of each of them.

Personally?

Whatever motivates you, use it!

I've done the whole word thing the last few years. Before that I did goals. Both of them worked fairly well for me.

Goals are hard at the moment though, because of my crazy life. It's hard to set specific goals when life is constantly a topsy turvey roller coaster that I have no idea which way it'll turn.

So that's why I've been prayerfully doing the whole "word" thing the last few years. It seems to work good for me.

Last year my word was "focus." I felt like my thoughts and life was so scattered, I was doing lots of things but at the end of the year, didn't feel like anything was actually accomplished. I felt God calling me to narrow my focus a bit, and specifically, get back on the writing band wagon.

That seemed to work!

I said goodbye to a few things, including a consulting job and my previous literary agent.

But I also said hello to indie-publishing by publishing my first novella, and said hello to a new literary agent who is amazing!

I finished writing two books, almost three, and started another one.

Overall, it was a good year, even though definitely not without its struggles.

This year, however, my word is HOPE.

Not just because my next book coming out is called "A Side of Hope."

Although, that definitely was an inspiration for it! I feel like this year holds a lot of hope for our family.

--Annabelle should say bye-bye to tube feedings and saying hello to potty training, and might even start kindergarten this year!

--My oldest will turn 15!!!!! this year which means *gulp* starting high school and getting her driver's permit! HOLY COW! 

--My next oldest will start MIDDLE SCHOOL this year.

--We're set to take our FIRST trip to Disney World in June (thanks to Papa and Grandma Phillips!) 

--I should publish my last two novellas and maybe even another full-length novel. I also have another full-length novel we'll be shopping to publishers, with the hope of another traditional book contract.

I'm also hoping that this will be the FIRST year Annabelle has NO hospitalizations.

So yeah, I'm clinging to hope for this year. For God to infuse strength and love and unity and peace into our family. That we can grow in love and grow in HIM and just have a really fantastic year.

The thing I like about Hope is that it isn't about ME doing anything. It's about a state of mind. It's about focusing on the HOPE that is found in Jesus and not about stressing over all the things I should be doing. (except that I hope to lose weight before Disney... and that will involve some doing, or, more aptly, some eating that I should NOT be doing!)

So what about you?

Do you have a word or a verse or resolution or goal for 2015? How did you do on 2014's? I'd love for you to share it!!


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

YOU SHOULD NOT READ THIS POST!

If you're reading this... shame on you!

*grin*

Just kidding.

I was sitting there trying to plan my blog for today and the next two weeks... when this thought occurred to me.

The next two weeks will be busy for most all of us. It's when we should be spending our TIME with the ones we love. I shouldn't be reading blogs, and ya know? I probably shouldn't be taking the time to write them either. In the grand scheme of things, they can wait.

So I'm going to take the next two weeks "off" of blogging... put it out of my mind completely!

I'll still be on Facebook... you can connect with me on my author page at www.facebook.com/authorkristaphillips and I'll post some fun Christmas pictures there!

Although, we probably shouldn't be spending time on Facebook either. But if you're anything like me, you probably will anyway, so saying I'm going to take a break from it would just be setting myself up for failure. LOL

So my encouragement to you today is this:
 
Go spend time with your family. 
LAUGH instead of fret. 
LOVE instead of hate. 
BE PRESENT instead of busy. 

I'll be back the first Tuesday of January, I hope you'll be back too!

(and just in case... you can always subscribe to the blog using the widget at the sidebar... that way you'll get an email of my blog each time I post!)

Now... go forth and have JOY!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!

(Oh, and a final reminder! "A Side of Faith" is on sale for only $1 through NEW YEAR'S EVE!!!! If you haven't checked it out, now would be fantastic time! It's also available, a long with my first book, in paperback! Makes GREAT Christmas presents!!! They are available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and ibooks!)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

JOY IMPOSSIBLE

Last week, my post was about my determination to ENJOY Christmas and all that comes with it, the giving, the festivities, the decorations, the lights, the PEACE ON EARTH that was born so many years ago in Bethlehem.

But over the last week I noticed something interesting about my determination to have a JOY filled (vs. stress filled) Christmas.

In trying to AVOID stress... I was stressing over trying to figure out how to avoid stress.

Am I the only one who does this?

This is not a new phenomenon.

I've spent many a holiday or vacation determined to not stress out over things but end up fretting about how to not get anxious.

At one point this past week, I'm fairly certain I told my children... and I may or may not have been yelling. "JUST STOP IT! We are NOT going to fight and NOT going to yell at each other. We are going to have a GOOD time and ENJOY this, so BE QUIET and BE NICE and SMILE. GRRR!"

*ahem*

Please, pretty please, tell me I'm not the only mom who has done this.

I got to the point that on Sunday, I put myself in a much needed adult time-out (aka Sunday afternoon nap) and secluded myself from my kids and family and just closed my eyes and let my mind rest. It needed it, because I'd been a GROUCH all weekend from putting so much energy into having JOY and not stressing.

Isn't that dumb?

It is. Well, the timeout wasn't dumb. It was needed and helpful.

Even now, as I type this, I'm thinking, "Okay, I am going to REALLY try harder to be joyful this week..."

And therein lies the problem.

The harder I try to be joyful, the less joy-filled I get.

Because joy is not something we do.

It isn't something we manufacture or work hard enough to receive. It isn't based on circumstances, like happiness is, but is based in something much deeper, much more heavenly.

TRUE Joy at Christmas is found in JESUS.

TRUE Peace is found when we rest in our creator and worship Him.

I DO think, however, we can CHOOSE joy, just like we CHOOSE to follow Jesus.

We just can't make it. We can't earn it. We can't work for it.

So this Christmas season, I encourage myself and all who are reading:

Stop trying to PRODUCE joy. Just choose it.


(Shameless Christmas Sales plug: I am also CHOOSING to put my book, A Side of Faith, on sale for only $1.00 through New Year's Even... yup, for the rest of the year, just a buck for the ebook version. The paperback version is available too and makes a great gift...)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Enjoying Christmas





Every year as December settles into our lives, I stomp my foot, determined to ENJOY the Christmas season this year and not let the "stuff" around me get me down. (am I the only one who doesn't think of Christmas as a DAY but instead as the whole time between Thanksgiving and December 25th?)


And every year the past few years, I'm only moderately successful.

But this year, we are determined as a family to ENJOY the Christmas season.

Stress is being kicked to the door.

JOY is being welcomed with open arms.

I'm praying HEALTH over my WHOLE family.

I'm finishing up a writing project this week then putting writing on the back burner for the month, only working on it in spare moments, not taking large chunks of writing time like I have been doing.

We are keeping our schedule open for spontaneity, to be able to have plenty of FAMILY time and not over booking ourselves.



We're focusing on the REASON for Christmas, celebrating JESUS and his BIRTH.

 It isn't that we didn't enjoy Christmas the past few years. We DID. We just also let a lot of other things crowd in and cloud our joy.. Annabelle being sick. Money woes, Job stress.

NOT THIS YEAR.

We are CHOOSING joy. Grabbing hold of it and swinging high above the daily stresses.

The view is GREAT from up here.

I invite you to join us!